TOP 10 ’60s STARLET MOVIES: GIDGT GOES TO ROME
Gidget Goes to Rome (1963)
Starlets: Cindy Carol, Danielle de Metz, Noreen Corcoran, Trudi Ames, Lisa Gastoni plus their male counterparts James Darren, Joby Baker, Peter Brooks
Any Top 10 Sixties Starlet Movie Poll needs a Tammy or a Gidget on it. I chose Gidget Goes to Rome, the second sequel to the hit comedy Gidget (1959), because I found it more enjoyable than its predecessor Gidget Goes Hawaiian and those icky sweet Tammy movies with Sandra Dee. The main reason being is the lush Roman locales and star Cindy Carol, who makes a very charming, spunky Gidget. I found her more appealing than the last portrayer, Deborah Walley, but Sandra Dee in the original cannot be beat.
In Gidget Goes to Rome, the surfing sweetie leaves the sunny shores of Southern California for a vacation inItaly’sEternalCity. She and her two friends, pouty Lucy (Noreen Corcoran) and tomboyish Libby (Trudi Ames), meet up with Moondoggie (James Darren) and his two college buddies, wisecracking Judge (Joby Baker) and nerdy Clay (Peter Brooks). Their supposed chaperone is Baker’s rich absent-minded Aunt Albertina (Jessie Royce Landis), who hands them over to luscious Italian tour guide Daniela (Danielle de Metz). Of course typical romantic complications quickly ensue as Gidget falls for older, suave journalist Paolo Cellini (Cesar Danova) unaware that he is secretly chaperoning her as a favor to her father, while Jeff becomes infatuated with sweet Daniela. Lots of admittedly silly things happen before the end of the film when Gidget and Moondoggie head home reunited.
Viewers are treated to some spectacular shots ofRomeand of James Darren, who is just so handsome, even though he is ridiculously saddled with a sports jacket and tie almost the entire movie. He and Carol have good chemistry and the way they try to one-up each other in making the other jealous is amusing. Jessie Royce Landis has some funny moments (even when creepily hitting on our Moondoggie), while de Metz is just stunning as the tour guide who comes between the surfing sweeties. How she did not become an international movie star ala Ursula Andress or Claudia Cardinale, I will never know.
The other great thing about Gidget Goes to Rome is Trudi Ames, a true Sixties starlet who disappeared from the limelight in 1968. Usually cast as the perpetual good friend of the prettier leading lady (Ann-Margret in Bye Bye Birdie, Christina Ferrare in The Impossible Years, many TV sitcoms), Ames always proved she was good with a quip. And here she doesn’t disappoint. If anyone knows whatever happened to her, please let me know—another starlet that just vanished from theHollywood scene.