Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Call her Miss Ross
BEACH BALL (1965). Director: Lennie Weinrib.

"Wriggle, wriggle. Dr. Tickle, Dr. Tickle, Right now." -- lyrics.

Dick Martin (Edd Byrnes) tries to raise money to pay for instruments for his band, the Wrigglers, by getting grant money for college under false pretenses. When Susan (Chris Noel). the gal who hands out the grants, discovers the truth. she and her intellectual lady friends put on bikinis and try to get Dick and the guys to stay in school. This is the plot -- I wouldn't kid you. Five minutes into the flick The Four Seasons appear to sing the catchy "Dawn," but, unfortunately, they are never seen again. There are appearances by the Righteous Brothers, the Hondells, and the Supremes, each of whom are given one number except for the last group, who are forced to sing a couple of bad, inappropriate "surfer" songs, although the second one, the title tune, is somewhat less awful than the first. Desperately playing college boys are Aaron Kincaid and Robert Logan, the latter of which appeared with Byrnes on 77 Sunset Strip. Even the worst episode of that series would have been better than sitting through this excruciatingly boring and completely unfunny farce, although the actors are at least enthusiastic. The songs sung by the "Wrigglers" are mostly dreadful, although "Candy, Baby," is perhaps the least dreadful. Rock movies in the fifties generally spent more time on the special guest-stars than the plot -- if only that had been the case with Beach Ball, whose acts have limited running time. If they'd just let Frankie Valli and the fellows sing one number after another, you might not be reaching for that fast forward button. The fellows dress in drag for their final number, and a gag is lifted from Some Like It Hot. A guy asks Logan, still wearing his wig, for a date. Logan removes the wig and says "It wouldn't work out between us." The guy replies, "Yeah, you're taller than I am." He then turns to Kincaid, "what about you, honey?" This little bit of gay humor. albeit unoriginal, is handled with perfect amiability. The movie, alas, is too stupid to ever really amount to anything. Dick Miller has a small role as a cop and is fine. James Wellman, who plays Bernard Wolf, the man who wants the money for the band instruments, is pretty bad.

Verdict: This imitation of the AIP Beach party movies from Paramount is even worse than the originals. *1/2.


angelman66 said...

Never heard of this one, but all these Beach epics are filled with amazing musical cameos...I remember seeing Sonny & Cher in one, the beach Boys in another, and now Diana Ross and the Supremes! Too bad the movies are all SO BAD. Unwatchable.

The mid-1960s had a LOT of inane movie genres, from Elvis to Doris Day to these beach party movies...and those dumb spy spoof movies. Ugh! (Just my opinion, of course, some people love them!!)

William said...

I basically agree with you about those genres -- once in a blue moon you find one of the above watchable, but mostly they were an effort to sit through. Yet there were so damn many of them that somebody had to be paying to see them!