NO MORE WAVES FOR TONY CURTIS
Handsome charismatic Tony Curtis pased away this week and most tributes to him rightfully named Sweet Smell of Success, The Defiant Ones, and Some Like It Hot as his most memorable movies. All were produced in the fifties. By the sixties, Curtis seemed to just be settling to play the romantic hero in a string of sex comedies. One of them was Don’t Make Waves (1968) a sort of late-in-the-cycle beach party movie for the adult set. Below are excerpts from my book Hollywood Surf & Beach Movies where actor/bodybuilder Dave Draper paid tribute to his co-star Curtis:
Curtis played Carlo, a newly arrived salesman in Southern California who loses his automobile and worldly possessions due to the carelessness of beautiful but self-absorbed foreign beauty Claudia Cardinale. She invites him to stay the night with her and he learns that she is the mistress of rich married guy Robert Webber who owns a pool company. He blackmails the boss into giving him a job and becomes involved with the wacky denizens of Malibu Beach including bodybuilder David Draper and his surfing skydiving girlfriend Sharon Tate. Don’t Make Waves is entertaining but it could have been better if it would have stuck to satirizing the Southern California lifestyle instead of turning into a typical romantic comedy. The movie succeeds most when poking fun at infidelity, cliff side houses (the ending with the main cast trapped in a house sliding down a cliff is quite amusing), skydiving, publicity stunts, trampolines, salesmen, astrology, and other traits of Southern California living. However, its portrayal of all surfers and musclemen as vapid airheads only interested in the quest of catching the perfect wave or developing the biggest biceps is a bit unfair but hey it’s only a movie.
Making things a lot easier for Dave Draper was a helpful cast. There were no ego problems on this set according to Draper. Both Tony Curtis and Claudia Cardinale were big movie stars but they did not act like it in the least. “Tony is a prince,” says Draper. “I liked him and felt equality with him, though I tended to kneel when he stood by my side. He was fun, honest and full of energy. He’s a friend.”