5 comments on “Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

  1. Thanks for that! Very insightful, it invites a discussion of many cultural & pop-cultural events. I saw all the filmscountless times since release. Seeing bits of “Bingo” last night, it finally managed to replace “Muscle Beach Party” as my least favorite — while Leonard Maltin actually increased his rating of it over the years from 2 stars to 3 stars, and even says it’s the best of the series!!! No, it’s just the one everyone thinks they “remember” fondly — because of the title.

    It was made in December 1964 at the height of the civil rights movement (for black citizens) & years before the 2nd wave of civil rights for women. Then, ALL/any Southerners were even more used as cheap shots than lately (especially in cheap movies), hence Bonehead’s stupidity. It got worse in the follow-up, “How To Stuff a Wild Bikini,” where a Southern woman and — in one of the firsts in teen cinema — a gay man were served up solely for ridicule. The series had a running joke about the “battle of the sexes,” in which Frankie was a stereotypical old-fashioned man. Series director and sometimes scriptwriter William Asher liked to compare his films to the Rock Hudson-Doris Day movies that preceded them, saying it was the same story — “Only here the virgin isn’t turning 40.” Frankie was always a jerk, having put Dee Dee down in the first reel, and then redeeming himself by the end.

    South Dakota Slim refers to “The Perils of Pauline” — a silent series to which homage is paid in the final 10 minutes at the sawmill, in the chase, and in the murder attempt. Of course, no one called the cops, because the attempted killers were running around causing more trouble & violence to these same beach kids in the next movie. (I guess the Manson Family kids, no doubt weaned on these films, figured it would all be that simple.)

    The series had left the realm of possibility by the 3rd film, with a surfing gorilla and a werewolf. Still, the “Himalayan time-suspension technique” had been introduced in the first. Throughout, Frankie broke the 4th wall. Asher said, “these films are fantasies,” part of which was high school kids vacationing or living on the beach unchaperoned.

    The biker gang appeared 3 times before & to better effect; “you had to have been there” when they were introduced…. Don Rickles, Buster Keaton, fur-bikini-girl Bobbi Shaw, Bonehead, et al. had all appeared before…. Moviegoers had noticed Annette’s helmet hair, and it was marveled at by “Troy” in the 1987 satire/sequel “Back to the Beach” (3.5 out of 4 stars by both Siskel & Ebert): “All that surfing, & her hair’s perfectly dry!” Audience ridicule led to her being thrown into a pool in “Pajama Party” so the kids on screen could laugh at her wet hair, and the “Bingo” scene where — since she HAD almost drowned — it actually got wet in the ocean.

    Two other beach movies are worth seeing for their social & historical content. Take a tip from Annette & see the original “Beach Party” (usually free online), the only one she liked except “Back to the Beach.” The screenwriter, Lou Rusoff, died before its release as the surprise mega-hit of 1963 (grossing more than 10 times what it cost), so writing duties for the sequels were largely turned over to director Asher…. It has an eye & ear for a time & place: teen culture as it was before it all changed with The Beatles. The other one is “Where the Boys Are” — a touchstone of teen life in 1960, a comedy-drama with very good performances.

    • Wow you certainly know your stuff! Thanks for keeping me updated on the goings-on before this film, it seems that I was wrong in my assertion that anyone can jump in and not miss much. Glad to know other movies have poked fun at what I noticed with this film. I’ll definitely go back to watch Beach Party (I’ll give Frankie and Annette another chance) and I’ve been interested in Where the Boys Are so I’ll up that on the Netflix queue. Thanks for reading, feel free to comment again, I definitely learned a lot!

  2. Pingback: The Month in Film: June 2012 | Journeys in Classic Film

  3. Pingback: Year in Review: The Top 10 Most-Read Articles from 2012 |

  4. Pingback: My Top 20 Worst Films Reviewed in 2012 |

Question, Comment? Leave It Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s