Saturday, May 05, 2012

BEACH BALL (1965)

In the second TCM Spring Break movie I watched last week, four college dropouts have formed a band, the Wigglers; they're the house band at a beach bar, hoping to get their big break playing at a one-day music festival.  Unfortunately, the boys owe $1,000 on their instruments and Mr. Wolf is threatening to repossess them.  Dick, the songwriter (and the most responsible one of the group) goes to the student credit union to get a loan, saying he needs it so he can re-enroll and finish his degree.  Susan, an officer at the credit union, agrees to give him a check for the money, but when she and three other co-eds arrive at the boys' pad, they find a raucous party in full swing and take back the check.  Feeling remorseful, the four girls—all of whom wear glasses and their hair in tight buns—go undercover (by taking off their glasses and shaking their hair out) to try and steer the boys back to college.  Naturally, each boy falls for one of the girls, and vice versa, and by the end, they play the festival, but in drag, to escape Mr. Wolf's attentions.

This is about par for the course for 60s beach movies: a cheap look (primitive looking sets, drab art direction, so-so cinematography), bland acting, shirtless boys and bikinied girls being flirtatious but never really naughty, and a couple of surfing scenes.  This film stands out mostly for the musical talent, including the Righteous Brothers, the Walker Brothers, and the Four Seasons.  Most notably, Diana Ross (at right) & the Supremes close out the movie as the festival headliners—though they don't do any of their hits, just a couple of surfing tunes.  Still, they do a nice job on the silly title song.  Edd Byrnes (Kookie on 77 Sunset Strip) was over 30 and, if he doesn't quite look his age, he does seem too old to play a college student.  He also doesn't seem be having any fun with his role.  The girl he's paired off with, Chris Noel, is similarly bland, and the other three credit union girls seem interchangable.  Luckily some of the supporting cast members are a little more interesting.  Aron Kincaid (as the lead singer), Robert Logan (as the drummer, who shakes his shaggy head and is named Bango—like Ringo, get it?), and Don Edmonds (as the sax player) do have some fun with their roles, and Anna Lavelle (pictured above with the guys) makes an impression as a beach girl whose skimpy bikini bottom is always be on the verge of sliding off.  Roger Corman regular Dick Miller shows up as a cop who pesters both the kids and Mr. Wolf (James Wellman), on whom the boys keep pulling pranks.  The opening features some impressive surfing footage, but that's about it for any real beach antics.  [TCM] 

1 comment:

dianarossproject said...

Love the song "Surfer Boy" sung by the Supremes -- a ridiculous novelty tune that somehow works in context of the movie/period. Thank God Motown never tried to release it as a single, though!!