TOM on TCM’s SPRING BREAK FILM FESTIVAL WEDNESDAY
Here’s the lineup for Wednesday April 18’s movies co-hosted by Ben Mankiewicz and me accompanied by my mini reviews from my book Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies.
8:00 pm The Girls on the Beach (TCM premiere)
The Girls on the Beach is one of the better Beach Party clones enhanced by witty dialog, a pleasant, wholesome cast, and outstanding musical performances by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore. A gaggle of coeds (including Noreen Corcoran, Lana Wood, Gail Gerber) are trying to raise funds to save their sorority house when three surfer dudes (Martin West, Aron Kincaid, Steve Rogers) who want to score with them trick the gals into thinking that they are tight with The Beatles. The girls then announce a fundraiser with the Fab Four as headliners much to the detriment of the guys. When they learn that they have been duped, the coeds don longhaired wigs and impersonate The Beatles…badly.
Co-starring Linda Marshall, Anna Capri, Mary Mitchell, Linda Saunders, Peter Brooks, Christopher Riordan
9:30 pm Beach Ball
Despite the drubbing from the critics and some beach movie fans, Beach Ball is arguably the breeziest and most enjoyable of the Beach Party clones. It is also the most blatant rip off throwing in everything from surfing, skydiving, and hot rodding to a battle-of-the-bands contest and the guys in drag to match the zaniness of the AIP beach movies. Four college dropouts (Edd Byrnes, Robert Logan, Aron Kincaid, Don Edmonds) try to con some nerdy girls (including Chris Noel, Gail Gerber) at the student union to give them a student loan for tuition but in fact the money is needed to pay for their musical instruments. The gals get wise to their scheme and try to trick the guys into returning to school. The film works well because it is fast-paced, nicely photographed in color, has some funny moments, lots of beach scenes, a healthy-looking cast, a bouncy score, and an excellent roster of musical performers most notably the Supremes, the Righteous Brothers, the Walker Brothers, and The Four Seasons who are interspersed throughout the movie.
Co-starring Brenda Benet, Mikki Jamison, Anna Lavelle
11:00 pm The Endless Summer
Filmmaker Barry Brown proved that you could make an entertaining movie about real surfers without shimmying bikini-clad girls or singing beach boys, and still attract the general public. The plot is simple as two surfers (Mike Hynson, Robert August) traipse the globe following the summer season searching for the perfect wave. It serves up some of the finest surfing footage of the decade excellently photographed enhanced by an enchanting musical score, gorgeous scenery, handsome surfers, and witty narration making it the definitive surf movie of the Sixties and perhaps of all time. Once you start watching you won’t be able to take your eyes off of it.
12:45 am The Barefoot Adventure
An early Bruce Brown surf doc done in his typical tongue-in-cheek style. Beautifully transferred to digital, you would never know by watching that he had to crib the film, narration, and music from bits and pieces from his attic. He lost the original sound and had to create new narration but luckily he retained the music score by jazz great Bud Shank. Defintely worth viewing to see what the early surf docs that played mainly to Southern California surfers in high school auditoriums up and down the coast were like.