Wednesday, May 27, 2015


There's this college, see, and it's near a beach. The college is so overcrowded that there's a housing shortage, and students who can't find places to live must disenroll. Handsome Adam (Frankie Randall) is renting a nice beach house from his absent buddy Skipper, and he's decided to get a license from the college so he can legitimately rent rooms to his friends. But guess what? Skipper's sister Lee (Sherry Jackson) shows up to claim the house for herself, though her ownership won't become legal for another week. So Adam and his buddies compete with Lee and her buddies to get the official license, in the meantime agreeing to split the house (girls in the bedrooms, boys in sleeping bags in the living room) while having to hide the co-ed situation from the college dean and his bumbling assistant.

Though this movie has a couple of stray charms (the handsome Randall, some decent musical performances and some ass-wiggling dancers), beware if you're expecting anything like an Annette & Frankie movie. Despite the title—and the presence of an actor named Frankie—there is very little wild going on, and, quite disappointingly, nothing happens on the beach except for the opening credit sequence and a fully-clothed beachside walk. This is Randall's only major film role—he later had a singing career—and while he's no great shakes, he's adequate and nice looking. I remember Jackson as the younger daughter in the Danny Thomas TV show Make Room for Daddy and she's by far the most professional actor here, with the possible exception of Russ Bender who plays a record producer neighbor who gets the kids in trouble by complaining about their noise, then gets them out of trouble at the end when he volunteers to let the boys live in his fancy beach house. [Oh, dear, I forgot to say "spoiler."] Justin Smith has the comic sidekick role of the dean's assistant, but Smith seems to have no facility for humor and looks embarrassed whenever he has some slapstick business, which is most of the time he's on screen. One of the boys, played by Marc Seaton, is a hunky bodybuilder whose character name in the credits is Jim Bench. For me, the brief scene in which Seaton walks around shirtless (pictured) is just about the highlight of the movie.

The musical performers, mostly filmed in a club setting, are worth mentioning. This movie earns a small historic footnote for featuring the first film appearance of Sonny & Cher, performing "It's Gonna Rain"; not one of their best songs, but still, it's fun to see them before they made it big—the movie was released just as "I Got You Babe" was hitting the charts. Someone named Cindy Malone does an echo-drenched ballad called "Run Away from Him" (the echo effect actually being a minor plot point), and Randall does a couple of OK songs, but best of all are the songs by The Astronauts (pictured top right), a surf band who, though never having a major hit, still had a decent career. Among their tunes is a fun novelty song called "Little Speedy Gonzales." The movie tries to keep your attention—there's a guy who has a dozen reel-to-reel tape decks wired into a house-wide intercom, two friends of Jackson's who are aspiring singers, and the gimmick of the "Iron Curtain," a chain that separates the two halves of the house which blares out a loud announcement about being violated when someone unhooks it. But it's a fairly tough slog, mostly because the director seems to have known nothing about comedy. [FMC]

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