Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965) d/ William Asher

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Five beach movies in, you've gotta chuckle at how male lead Frankie Avalon was still playing teenage parts in this formulaic, gimmicky hit series for American International Pictures, seeing how he was in his mid-twenties, and married with children when this one, his last starring role in the series, was released. Oh, Annette's still around, of course, getting jealous at the drop of a hat and parting with miniscule pecks on the lips like they were Faberge eggs, as usual. The usually abrasive Don Rickles also returns. Also on board for zany pre-fab Caucasian summer fun in the sun in this installment, are Timothy Carey, Harvey Lembeck, Buster Keaton, Linda Evans, John Ashley, and Paul Lynde. Hang ten, cats...

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"How can it be too cold to take your top off, that backdrop is rear-projected!"
Beach blanket bingo is the name of the game, at least, until the opening credit sequence is over, anyway, as I can't remember seeing anybody in the fucking movie even suggesting it the rest of the way through. Frankie and Dee Dee (Avalon, Funicello)'s long-running summer celluloid romance hits a snag in the form of a pair of skydivers (John Ashley, Deborah Walley) offering up close and personal lessons for kicks to the surfers, while their annoyingly gag-thick pal Bonehead (Wasn't he Deadhead a while back?) romances a mermaid named Lorelei (Marta Kristen) and an aspiring pop star named Sugar Kane (Linda "Dynasty" Evans), whose pr manager, Bullets (Paul Lynde), keeps her knee deep in headline catching publicity stunts and head shaking sardonic snarkery, enamoring her to Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck), the illiterate jagoff head honcho of the Rats motorcycle gang, local rivals to the carefree surfer crowd, when they aren't not playing pool with South Dakota Slim (Timothy Carey). Silent film legend Buster Keaton shows up as a creepy old dancing lech, and Big Drop (Don Rickles) has apparently dumped drag racing for skydiving.

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"I shaved twice since your last shot, boobie!", shrugs a chalky South Dakota Slim (Timothy Carey).
While Frankie seemingly eyes every passing female bikini body, Dee Dee gets momentarily jealous, they kiss and make up. Dee Dee wants to sky dive, Frankie suggests that she stay in the kitchen because boys are different, they kiss and make up. A melancholy Bonehead is forced to say goodbye to his mermaid chicken, and then it's Frankie and Dee Dee both having their own go at fake skydiving and everybody lip syncs saccharine-flavored pop tunes, from the top-billed couple, to Sugar Kane (who also fakes a sky dive of her own), and even the love struck Von Zipper, who later kidnaps the singer and vows to teach her how to play pool, before she's snatched up by the sinister Slim and taken to his "Boobie House", where he ties her to a log saw,  Perils of Pauline-style, does the "I've got fleas" dance, and gets ktfo-ed by Frankie Avalon. More singing, more dancing, and Buster Keaton ogling young go-go chicks, and we can finally clear the beach. There's nothing more to see here...

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Skydiving Funicello, belted by gamma rays...
After getting through half of my second teen beach movie, I came to the realization that my tolerance for such things may have run out during the end credits of my first teen beach movie. Sorry, Gidget. I might feel differently if there was the rampant sex, violence, and gore that the target audience had already started to gravitate towards with the biker movies that would saturate drive-in double bills well into the seventies. One surfer bitten in half by a fourteen foot tiger shark, for realism's sake, Boobie? One bloody surfer v biker beach battle... That too much to ask, Dad? Am I really constructively criticizing Beach Blanket Bingo? In any case, Annette's always great to look at, and Timothy Carey steals the show, as usual, and that's worth a standard, very corny deuce on the rating scale, and a look for the curious.

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Sugar Kane (Linda Evans) enjoying South Dakota Slim's signature "I've got fleas" dance at his boobie house.
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