Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

WILLIAM ASHER

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB

USA, 1965. . Screenplay by William Asher, . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by , .

The runaway success of Beach Party comedies in the early sixties led to so many imitations, tributes and spoofs that still proliferate, so if for no other reason, these remarkably inscrutable films should be preserved just so that we know where the references are from.

is delightful as a burgeoning pop singer (her singing dubbed by Jackie Ward) whose agent (a very funny ) is trying to promote her career through a series of unusual publicity stunts, the first one being to make a group of teenagers on the beach think that she has skydived out of a plane.

The stunt ends up promoting the skydiving school more than the singer, and lovesick teenagers (whose bouffant NEVER falls, even after wearing a helmet and getting wet) and are among those who sign up, trying to keep their relationship afloat while weathering a series of interruptions: he captures the eye of skydiving instructor as well as Evans, who is also being pursued by a leatherbound motorcycle gang led by .

There’s also the group’s friend Bonehead (), who falls in love with a mermaid () who rescues him from drowning, and runs through every scene chasing a buxom bikini beauty.

As an excuse to show colourful surfside fashions and play some chirpy tunes, it hardly need apologize for making so little sense, but it’s a shame that there isn’t more music and it really is baffling just how little sense most of it makes (even when accepting its attempt to take Three Stooges-style physical comedy and make it cool for teenagers).

 

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