Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Beach Party

The older I get, the less sure I am that I believe in the concept of a guilty pleasure. If I like something, I don't really see the need to feel guilty about it. That said, if there's anything that comes close to fitting the description for me, it's beach movies. I know they're shallow and downright silly, but I can't help it. I love 'em.

I recently watched BEACH PARTY again for the first time in a number of years. This is the movie that invented the genre, and I'm glad to say that it holds up pretty well for me. Some funny bits, excellent music (with the exception of Annette's ballad) that's stuck in my head for almost fifty years now, the timing of an old pro like Bob Cummings, the beautiful Dorothy Malone, Harvey Lembeck chewing the scenery as Erich Von Zipper, Jody McCrea as Deadhead (he always cracks me up), the great Candy Johnson in a shimmy dress, and lots of girls in bikinis. What's not to like?

Well, to put it bluntly, Annette. What did Frankie ever see in Dee-Dee, anyway? Yeah, he's kind of a jerk at times, but she's awful. (I should make it clear that I'm talking about the character, not Annette Funicello herself, who I liked when she was a Mousketeer.)

Other than that, I had a great time watching BEACH PARTY. I'm sure my opinion is colored by the nostalgia value of having seen this and most of the other beach movies at the Eagle Drive-in Theater when I was a kid, but I don't care. And I should warn you: Livia gave me a boxed set of them on DVD for my birthday, including a few I actually haven't seen before, so you may be reading more of these posts before the summer is over.

And now, because you can never have too much Candy Johnson:


Jerry House said...

The Beach Party movies were some of the greatest drive-in flicks ever.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Drive-in movies were a lot of fun. Even if for various reasons you didn't see much of the movie.

Todd Mason said...

By the time of FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG (to say nothing of THE MONSTER OF PARTY BEACH), they were all getting a Bit Odd.

Mike Doran said...

Just announced today:

William Asher, who directed this - and most of the other Beach Party movies - died yesterday (June 16) at the age of 90.


Check out Mr. Asher's credits at IMDb. Your whole life will flash before your eyes.

James Reasoner said...

Asher was a significant figure in pop culture for a lot of us, all right.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I always think of the Beach Party movies as something I watched in the afternoons as a kid, because they were part of the local 'Dialing For Dollars' TV show, which aired at 4:00 on weekdays. (This would have been about 1970) They would have Beach Party week, Tarzan week, Universal Monsters week, Godzilla week, and so forth. Then they would start the rotation again.