Sunday, April 03, 2011


Warner Home Video has issued a 4-movie set of early 60's romance films, all of which star Troy Donahue; his co-star in three of them is Connie Stevens. This one, featured first, is actually the last chronologically. It's a mild teenage romantic comedy, and undoubtedly a comedown for Donahue who had been starring in glossy soap opera melodramas. Donahue is a college basketball player spending spring break with his team (and their coach/chaperone, Jack Weston) at Palm Springs. Andrew Duggan is the local police chief, not looking forward to the annual outbreak of shenanigans, and Stefanie Powers is his daughter, who gets involved with Donahue. Robert Conrad is a rich kid with a chip on his shoulder because Daddy ignores him; he rides around in a snazzy convertible with a life-sized Bugs Bunny blow-up doll which he uses to pick up girls (not that he needs it--he’s the best-looking guy in the movie) and focuses his attentions on glamorous Connie Stevens who passes herself off as a wealthy college socialite but is really an average Hollywood High School girl. Ty Hardin (star of Bronco, an TV western) is a hunky Texan stuntman who also has eyes for Stevens. Filling out the cast are Zeme North as Stevens' plain-looking roommate who gets a makeover, 9-year-old Billy Mumy as an obnoxious kid, and Jerry Van Dyke as a comic-relief sidekick who does the same banjo routine he did when he guested on his big brother’s TV show, The Dick Van Dyke Show. The actors all look a bit old to be playing college students, but they're all energetic and healthy; Hardin and Conrad actually come off the best, acting-wise. Donahue (pictured with Powers) is handsome but is starting to look a little seedy--he had been a drinker since he was a kid--and his Tony Curtis voice doesn't really go with the face and image. He and Powers have zilch chemistry, though for that matter, none of the couples do. It's basically a beach movie with no beaches in sight, but a couple of poolside scenes that allow for some wholesome skin. [DVD]

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