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|Index||36 reviews in total|
All of the seven, count 'em, seven beach movies are really silly and poorly acted. However, they are great fun to watch. This is the best of the lot, featuring a pre-"Big Valley" and "Dynasty" Linda Evans as pop princess Sugar Cane. Paul Lynde is a scream here, with his trademark slow burn. Watch him as he insults Eric Von Zipper, who's too stupid to realize it. Don Rickles is also good during a scene where he takes the mike and rips into the kids. There is so much zaniness going on here, much more than the movies that came before or after it in this series.
It is truly one of the best movies out there, no doubt! The music is great, it's HILARIOUSLY funny, it's perfect for the entire family to enjoy, and the characters are wonderful!!! Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon make such a cute couple; Donna Loren once again nails it at her wonderful singing; Paul Lynde and Don Rickles are funny as always; Jody McCrea and Marta Kristen's mermaid-human relationship is beautiful; John Ashley and Deborah Walley's skydiving bag is out of sight; Harvey Lembeck does the hilarious Von Zipper antics once again; and what a great almost-final acting job for Buster Keaton before he died (even though it wasn't a big role)! If you're looking for a lot of fun, romance, comedy, drama, adventure, and more...this is the movie for you! It has everything!!! Look out Hot-Doggers and Beach Bunnies...this movie's a knockout!!!
William Asher's Beach Blanket Bingo is probably the best, and certainly the
most entertaining, of the AIP beach party movies. For once, the script is
actually funny, not just stupid, and the presence of Buster Keaton, Timothy
Carey and, of course, Harvey Lembeck as Von Zipper, adds a lot to the camp
value and a very young Linda Evans adds her own exotic beauty.
Annette looks great, Frankie even seems to have a tan and the late, great, John Ashley adds to the fun.
This isn't Shakespeare, but the script is clever, and this probably has the best songs in the series, with the great Les Baxter actually having a hand in the songs and their arrangements in addition to his usual scoring duties.
By all means catch this one if you like the series, and if you aren't familiar with it, I would recommend starting here. You won't be bored!
The fifth entry in the "Beach Party" series is universally acknowledged
as the best of the lot. Having watched three such films in quick
succession, I have to agree: it's not that those concerned made a
concentrated effort at creating something more accomplished than
before, but just that all the various elements (while others were
dropped or altered) seemed to be more evenly balanced here to produce a
generally more satisfying result. Incidentally, not only is the script
wittier than usual but even the songs are kinda pleasant this time
Plotwise, we still get Frankie (Avalon) and Annette (Funicello) bickering but, rather than because one of them is being 'preyed' upon by an interloper, both of them are in this case (and, coming via members of a skydiving troupe who're supposed to instruct the "Beach" gang in just that type of sport, creates a few welcome sparks of high-flying tension). As always, the manager of the exciting but potentially dangerous 'entertainment' is played by Don Rickles whose character name, or moniker, has gone from Jack Fanny in MUSCLE BEACH PARTY to "Big Drag" in BIKINI BEACH (both 1964) to "Big Drop" in this one! Annette's fling, then, is John Ashley (usually seen as a surfer!) while Frankie's is spunky Deborah Walley (whom I recently watched in the Elvis Presley vehicle SPINOUT ) since Ashley and Walley were married to one another at the time, I guess this is why they made the former a rival to Frankie instead of a pal for this particular entry!
Another important change in the nonsensically-titled BEACH BLANKET BINGO (by the way, exuberant dancing blonde Candy Johnson easily the most resistible element in the two earlier films from the series that I watched, is nowhere to be seen in this one!) concerns the character played by Jody McCrea: while his nickname has unaccountably gone from "Deadhead" to "Bonehead", he's now given two separate romances (which means that his former grating comic relief persona has been considerably diluted). The first involves singing starlet Linda Evans (miles removed from her signature role in the 1980s TV series DYNASTY!), ostensibly engaged in a skydiving stunt to promote her current record but actually doubled by Walley, and the other with real mermaid Marta Kristen, who's really the one that saved McCrea from drowning but the feat is once again attributed to the naïve but spoilt Evans by her conniving and sardonic manager Paul Lynde! While we do get an appearance from another screen giant here comic genius Buster Keaton, then going through a much-deserved renaissance this is rightly credited at the very start instead of relegated to the end credits, since it's a relatively bigger role than either of Peter Lorre's or Boris Karloff's cameos (one in each of the previous "Beach Party" films I'd checked out). Even so, his character could have been better integrated into the plot since, playing Rickles' girl-chasing assistant, he's not given anything particularly inspired to do: it's fitting, for instance, that Keaton be involved in the speeded-up chase towards the end (by now a typical component of the series intended to mimic the style of Silent comedies) but the same can't be said of his cavorting with a trio of anonymous-looking girls during the final credit roll!
Two welcome presences (actually both returns from previous entries in the series, though allowed greater stature than before) are those of Harvey Lembeck as Eric von Zipper self-pitying leader of the motorcycle gang "The Rat Pack"(!), who idolizes Evans to the point of kidnapping her and Timothy Carey as the nasty "South Dakota Slim" (though, regrettably, without his werewolf companion from BIKINI BEACH: it's strange how this actor brings such intensity to his portrayals that he seems to be permanently on acid or something and this goes for mainstream fare as well, such as CRIME-WAVE , which I watched just a few days prior to this one). By the way, both these actors are involved in the film's two biggest belly-laughs: engaged in a billiards game at a pool-hall already featured in BIKINI BEACH, its walls are adorned by portraits of notorious dictators! and, with Lembeck taking forever to make his next move, Carey acidly quips that he's shaved twice since von Zipper's last shot!; the latter, then, enters a trendy nightclub by smashing through the front door on his motorcycle (as is Lembeck's fashion) only to land, in this particular case, head first in an aquarium! Besides, the element of surrealism which surprisingly entered the series with BIKINI BEACH is also present here in the form of the fanciful mermaid subplot as well as von Zipper's ghastly yet amusing fate during the climax at a sawmill (which, again, evokes the cliff-hanging serials from the Silent era).
"Beach Blanket Bingo" is full of quirky touches (like Annette's face turning green while doing a free-fall out of an airplane or a kidnapped Linda Evans about to be buzz-sawed in half a la "The Perils of Pauline"). It's a colorful entry in the "Beach Party" serial, though oddly missing an exciting musical group (The Hondells in favor of Stevie Wonder or Dick Dale). Also missing is dancing-wonder Candy Johnson, and Annette sings two duets with Frankie Avalon but no solo number (it was cut). The comedy routine by Don Rickles is agonizing and falls flat, but Paul Lynde has some funny one-liners. This series was starting to show its age by now, and the teens are looking a bit long in the tooth (John Ashley no longer plays Frankie's friend, here he's a sky-diving instructor). The mermaid sub-plot featuring a ravishingly sweet Marta Kristen wowing Jody McCrea is the best part of the picture (it tops anything in "Splash") and there's just enough slapstick and visual gags to keep it bubbling. *** from ****
I must agree with others who say this is not only the ultimate beach flick
but also the essential 1960s teen-scene movie.
Even though the plot is nitwit (intentionally, after all), the cast is wonderfully silly. And what a cast it is: Frankie and Annette establish that this is a genuine teen-beach romp, Harvey Lembeck is a riot as the Marlon Brando wannabe who worships Marlo Branden, Don Rickles and Paul Lynde provide two different forms of wicked insult humor, Buster Keaton gives us his unique dead-pan slapstick, and we even have a pretty little wet mermaid for Bonehead (definitely Freudian).
Musical numbers, faked surfing and parachuting shots, sand, salty air -- it's a true treasure of a seemingly "innocent" time gone by even though the film was made after America lost its innocence and was getting wrapped up in what would become the Viet Nam disaster. But forget all that. Take a trip into the never-never land of the beach and get yourself a good tan, moondoggie!
I've hesitated to make any comments about this one of the beach movies. It's like commenting on Citizen Kane or 2001 - too daunting. First of all, along with the COMPLETELY regular cast, it's one of the ones with Don Rickles. People have said that he just doesn't come across well in anything that's SCRIPTED for him, but that's far from completely true. Just watch for the little moment with him, after Frankie does his skydiving - it's a "classic" Don Rickles moment. And Paul Lynde could always be funny, with or without a script (most recently, fans of Roger the alien on "American Dad" are interested in him). One of his best lines is when Earl Wilson - who looks like the most straight-laced person in the world - wants to visit the surfers' hangout a second time. Lynde says, "Which girl is it, Earl?" And then there are Jody MacCrea (sp.) and Marta Kristen in the "Lorelei" subplot. Anyone who's seen brooding movies like "Night Tide" might like this mainly COMICAL mermaid story (not that it's the first or last one, of course). And of course, Timothy Carey as South Dakota Slim, who steals Sugar Kane from Erich Von Zipper, after Von Zipper went to the trouble of kidnapping her himself! Anyway, these are just SOME of the things going for it. The only thing missing from this beach movie is the cameo - I've always wondered why that is.
For those of you who haven't seen any of these 60's beach party movies yet...this is the one to see! It's got Frankie and Annette, the sun and surf, and the best music ever! This film is the icon for all the other beach movies from the same genre!
1st watched 7/30/2006 - 3 out of 10(Dir-William Asher): Silly harmless fluff of a movie with sweethearts Frankie(Frankie Avalon) & Didi(Annette Funicello) and their goofy adventures on the beach with their pals & gals. After the silly title song, the movie starts out being about a new singer promoting an album to the beach-nuts with a faked freefall from an airplane. The do-anything promoter is played by Paul Lynde with his usual sleezeball-style and the singer is a young Linda Evans. Everyone including the before-mentioned couple now wants to skydive and they hook-up with Don Rickles as the head of the skydiving company. Rickles is even able to throw in a mini-standup routine where he puts down everyone in the audience, as is his usual shtick. In a sidestory, the character Bonehead encounters a mermaid which brings a little variety and fun to the storyline. I hate to say it, but that's about it for this movie in a nutshell. A few songs are thrown-in(some better than others), plenty of booty-shaking, and a silent episode with Buster Keaton(playing a kind of Benny Hill-like character) adds to the light-hearted fare. If this is all that you're looking for in a movie, then this one is the perfect movie for you!! Otherwise, stay away.
The gang at the beach led by Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello get
themselves innocently involved in a publicity stunt staged by Paul
Lynde. Lynde hires Deborah Walley who is a professional skydiver to
fall from the air and then has his client, singer Linda Evans in the
same outfit be rescued by one of the beach kids. Which of course turns
out to be Avalon.
The budding relationship between Evans and Avalon of course arouses the jealousy in Annette. Their pal Jody McCrea who plays Deadhead and as you can imagine not the sharpest knife in the drawer or riding the waves gets a romance with Mermaid Marta Kristen in this one.
Beach Blanket Bingo is not all that bad. Frankie Avalon was a teen idol who could actually sing as his career which is still going shows. The songs aren't bad for the type usually featured in these films.
But what makes Beach Blanket Bingo a treat is seeing such fine performers as Paul Lynde, Buster Keaton, Timothy Carey, and most of all Harvey Lembeck in his usual role of Erich Von Zipper leader of the most inept motorcycle gang around until John Quade took that title in Every Which Way But Loose. When Lembeck decides that Evans ought to be the gang pinup girl it's the beach kids versus the motorcycle crew.
And Frankie and Annette make a lovely couple once again.
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