Friday, May 04, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, TCM ran a week of beach movies under a "Spring Break" theme.  I'd seen most of them, but I did catch a couple of rarities.  In the set-up for this one, three college boys are flirting with three officers of the Alpha Beta sorority house, who are in the midst of planning an Easter Week bash.  The Alpha Beta house mother tells the girls that, due to her giving house money away to charity cases, they may lose the house mortgage, so the girls decide to make the bash a fund-raising event.  Duke, one of the flirting boys, comes up with a bright idea to get close to the girls: he pretends he knows Ringo Starr and claims he can get the Beatles to show up for their show.  What could possibly go wrong?  As 60s beach movies go, this is near the bottom of the barrel: it's cheap looking, doesn't have many scenes actually set on the beach (most of it plays out in a beach bar or at the sorority house), and there's not as much skimpy beachwear as there should be.  The boys and girls are bland—few of the actors went on to bigger and better things—making one long for the talents of Annette and Frankie, and to top it off, the solution to the Beatles situation is ridiculous. 

The pluses are the musicians who do appear:  Lesley Gore and the Beach Boys.  Both of them were top 10 hitmakers when this movie was made, so it's a little strange that the film wastes them plotwise.  Gore just stands around the sorority house phonograph and sings when the mood strikes her, and the Beach Boys (pictured above) play at the small beach club, alternating with the house band, the Crickets (best known as Buddy Holly's group—they get stuck performing an English-language version of "La Bamba" four times).  Normally, the solution to the Beatles problem would be to present a double bill of Gore and the Boys, but why would the kids pay to see them when they hang around and sing free of charge?  The musical highlights belong to the Beach Boys:  a club performance of "Little Honda" and Brian Wilson serenading the girls on the beach with the romantic ballad "The Lonely Sea."  Noreen Corcoran and Martin West (who later played a doc on General Hospital) are fine in the leads, and for eye candy, Lana Wood (Natalie's sister) does some nice gyrating in her bikini. As for the boys on the beach, Aron Kincaid, Steven Rogers (the cute dark-haired one of the three guys) and Arnold Lessing (the red-haired boyfriend of Wood, who gets smashed over the head with a guitar at the climax) sufficed for my tastes; pictured above right are Rogers, Kincaid and West.  The always-fun Dick Miller, a Roger Corman repertory player, has what amounts to a cameo as a waiter who disparages the Beatles.  Only a must-see for fans of the Beach Boys.  [TCM]

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