I Saw A Film!
I have to admit this one was over my head. Mickey Rooney is an advertising wonk and hits the beach looking for his latest spokes-girl, best I could tell. Rooney already looks like a coked up, sixty-five year old baby in a suit and as such can’t really command the humor. Meanwhile, Frankie, of Frankie and Annette (this is a beach movie after all), is concerned that Rooney is going to steal Annette (as she plays hard-to-get on a beach towel) away, and so, best I can tell, has a Tahitian witch doctor played by the great (though sad in these last roles of his life) Buster Keaton (he’s got more talent in his little finger than this whole production, but apparently the booze took its toll), to create a lady distraction to keep the ad men happy. Keaton spends all his time dour and over a large cauldron with two lovelies who act as his assistants, spouting ill-advised Native American movie-talk–Heap, big trouble.
After a beach song about the perfect girl’s measurements (36-22-36 apparently) Cassandra appears, played by gorgeous Bev Adams who would soon be in all those Dean Martin Matt Helm smooth and cool spy films. Cassandra causes the fellows to just swoon and trip over themselves. No one seems the slightest bit surprised when she literally pops into being to fill the bikini that was stapled to the back of a surfboard. She keeps saying she’s not a regular girl, and isn’t familiar with much of what’s going on (but she never quite expresses why). But we’re not done yet. While we’re absorbing this surfboard slapstick (and there is some literal Stooges style slapstick), Dobie Gillis shows up and manages to get Annette off her towel and on her feet. Also, Eric von Zipper’s biker club also rolls in and attempts some humor so bad it’s just confusing. It’s one of the issues with these square as pop-tarts “youth movies” when the humor doesn’t land, and most of it doesn’t, it winds up just being confusing and incomprehensible. When a strange knife wielding cowboy is trying to impress the Von Zipper gang with his menace he claims that he didn’t dip little girls’ curls in ink wells but stuffed the whole girl in the ink well. Uh huh. Von Zipper played by a respected stage actor and war film regular Harvey Lembeck is really hard to take. His schtick is so colossally goofy that I can’t even imagine children being amused with his constant colliding with his biker gang and tripping over himself. Rooney’s ad-man loves him and they clean him up and put him with Cassandra as a “dream couple” for advertising purposes. Meanwhile Dobie (Hickman) and Annette have reappeared–I missed part of how this occurred– and end up in a screwball motorbike competition with Zipper and Cassandra to win the contract. The sped film techniques and hay bales make it look a bit like a Benny Hill routine but without the T and A.
The film ends with Elizabeth Montgomery doing a cameo and doing a Bewitched routine making people disappear and such. But again, while it’s recognizable edited in face, it’s just bizarre the way the film-makers think this thing hangs together.
I was a bit surprised to hear the kids sing about loving the one you’re with rather than the one you want to be with (settle for what you got)! Love the one you’re with by Steven Stills was directly lifted from this movie, it isn’t hard to imagine. The Kingsmen are featured in cardigans and sadly don’t do much to rescue this hot mess.
This runs free on prime and is so unfunny it just strains the imagination.