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There were a lot of movies in the sixties which were built around the
catchphrase "He's not bad, daddy, he's just misunderstood!" They mostly
stereotyped the young as well-meaning and virtuous, trying to find their
place in the world, and the oldies who came down heavy on them as ignorant,
insensitive, authority figures who judged them harshly, and who wouldn't
Although this movie is certainly strongly representative of that group of films, and is completely predictable, you'd be doing yourself a grave disservice if you let that fact stop you from viewing it, because this film has so much to recommend it.
The movie opens at a beach-blanket party (where else!) where hoons on motorbikes terrorise the innocent young virgins around the campfire, and our fearless young hero (played by Christopher Jones) springs to the defence of the girls! Unfortunately, the police arrive, he accidentally thumps one of them in the scuffle, and the stage is set for the misunderstanding of the oldies versus the innocent but oppressed teenagers! Just when you thought a quick word of explanation would clear the whole matter up, too!
However, there are some genuinely touching moments in the film, like when the old grandma holds our young hero in her arms and begins to softly sing a lullaby. That was such a beautiful moment, I'm sure I'll see the film again whenever I can. And there are so many other equally good moments throughout this film, that you really shouldn't miss an opportunity to see it, either.
Christopher Jones does his best to look, sound, and act like James Dean in this movie, and a very good job he does of it, too! Richard Egan is perfect as the misunderstanding father who is strong and protective of his "little girl", but who shows his vulnerable side as well.
Susan Strasberg is a fine actress who never got a role that was suitable for showcasing her acting skills, and in this movie she's mostly off-screen as one of the women whose idea of fulfilment is waiting for their men to come home from the sea! (Well, I told you it was dated!) Audrey Totter, who plays the grandma, even delivers the line "If I had no men to wait for, I would not live to see the sun come up!"
In this movie, Strasberg plays the hero's girlfriend. She's supposed to be a teenager, yet she looks like she's in her late thirties! (She was actually thirty at the time). When she calls Richard Egan "daddy", it jars, because she's easily old enough to be his wife!
Ann Sothern, who was so pretty and who gave us so many great films when she was young, plays the blowsy, aging, overweight Angela, a good-hearted barmaid who befriends the young couple and looks after them. What a fine actress she is!
Although the directing is merely competent, the film stands out as a milestone among films of its type, because of the great acting performances, the strong character development, the film's appealing humanity and compassion, and those wonderful moving moments which make the film soar above its stereotypical foundations!
This movie will bring you back to a time when you were young and your parents wanted no part of your special someone. Susan Strasberg and Christopher Jones were adorable together. (They were married at the time of filming). The movie will teach you about compassion (with the knowledge that we may be wrong about a person and that people do change). And yes, parents are sometimes wrong, according to this movie anyway. I also gained a lot of knowledge about fishing tuna; I didn't know spotting the tuna was the most crucial part in catching it. Let me also mention that my favorite scene was the part when Christopher Jones was with his grandmother. Mr. Jones' touching performance made it very realistic, he really makes you feel his passion, not just in this movie but in all his movies.
Christopher Jones and Susan Strasberg where married when they made this movie. Susan was going through the same hardships at home with her real life father (Lee Strasberg) as she was going through with her father in the movie Richard Egan, (another great actor). This movie is a most see for young lovers who have everything going against them; just as Susan and Christopher had in real life. If you are a fan of Susan Strasberg who recently died and/or of the struggling Christopher Jones from Wild in the Streets and Ryan's Daughter fame - you must see this move. You'll love it for being a timepiece.
While not as well-made, or as acclaimed, there were obvious similarities between "Chubasco" & "Rebel Without A Cause." Mainly due to its star, Christopher Jones, a self-admitted Dean fanatic who beared remarkable resemblance to Dean. Jones was soon hailed as the "next James Dean" of his generation. Unfortunately, his promising career never rose above expectations. Regardless, all the Deanerisms can clearly be seen in his seminal performance. It also didn't hurt to have the daughter of Lee Strasberg as his co-star. Ultimately lending further credence to the uncanny resemblance/career path of Jones. Can only recommend to Deaners and/or curiosity seekers. Hard to come by outside of commercial t.v.
Susan Strasberg does not look like she's in her late 30's (strange comment as she was a very youthful looking 29 in the film). She may look a few years older than a teenager (may--it's subjective) but she looks completely age appropriate to be with Christopher Jones and is completely believable as a young innocent woman. As for her "troubles at home," the only troubles at home were with Christopher Jones. As lovely as they are here, he wasn't a great husband. As for her character, yes "Bunny" is a woman who appears to live for her relationship with Chubasco but so does Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. There were not as many opportunities for a young woman in the 1960's especially as she's still living at home with very strict parents. We are meeting her before she lives as an adult and develops other passions. Hopefully, she will.
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