tek's rating: ½

Beach Party (not rated)
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This is the first movie in the "Beach Party" series, released in 1963. (I don't remember when I first saw it, but it was on a VHS set of beach movies, in the 1990s or 2000s. I rewatched it on DVD in 2022.) It starts with Frankie (played by Frankie Avalon) heading to a beach house for summer vacation with his girlfriend Dolores (Annette Funicello). He expects they're going to be all alone, but it turns out she's invited all their friends. This upsets him, so he tries to make her jealous by going out with Ava, a waitress at Big Daddy's, a popular hangout for all the teens. The place is actually run by a guy called Cappy; Big Daddy is seen sleeping in a chair, his face covered by a hat. Everyone waits for him to give them "the word." But that's not really important.

There's also an anthropologist named Robert Sutwell, who's studying the beach kids and comparing them to various primitive cultures for a new book he's writing. He has an assistant named Marianne, who obviously likes him, though he's pretty oblivious. He ends up making contact with Dolores, hoping she'll help him in his research, but she mainly wants to use him to make Frankie jealous. Their first contact comes when Sutwell rescues Dolores from Eric Von Zipper, the rather dim (but amusing) leader of a gang of bikers. Von Zipper spends a lot of the rest of the movie wanting to get revenge against Sutwell.

Not really much else to say. There are a lot of cheesy songs in these beach movies (by Frankie and/or Dolores). No great acting or writing or anything. But if you're a fan of camp, or fake surfing, or just young people in swimsuits, it's reasonably entertaining (though most if not all of the "teens" are played by actors in their 20's... but what else is new?) Plus Vincent Price makes a brief cameo. What's not to like about that? Oh, and there's some music by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones.


surf & beach index
musicals

Beach Party series

Beach Party * Muscle Beach Party * Bikini Beach * Pajama Party * Beach Blanket Bingo * How to Stuff a Wild Bikini * Ghost in the Invisible Bikini