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Summer vacation, Malibu Beach: While Frankie (Frankie Avalon) tires to have a
moment alone with Dee Dee (Annette Funicello) for you-know-what but she refuses
to get more intimate before they are married, the 2 of them and their friends
(among them Jody McCrea as Deadhead & John Ashley), surfers all, are
observed by bearded antropologist Professor Sutwell (Robert Cummings), who
tries to compare these teenagers' behavioural patterns to those of the
aborigines in New Guinea - & he soon is impressed by Dee Dee, who stands out
as a monument of virtue between her girlfriend of loose mores ... which even
pisses Frankie off, who soon starts to date (& make out with) Ava (Eva
Six), the Hungarian waitress of Cappy's (Morey Amsterdam) bar.
Soon incompetent biker Erich Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) & his gang
arrive at Cappy's as well, to stir up some commotion, & Erich is hell-bent
top make out with Dee Dee, but when Sutwell saves her from his evil clutches, Dee Dee
sees the perfect opportunity to pay back Frankie's infidelity, & she
agrees to help him with his research, assuming this is just a clever pick-up
For a while, Frankie & Dee Dee's game to make each other jealous is just
a harmless tit-for-tat, but it gets somewhat out-of-hand when Sutwell saves Dee Dee
from Erich Von Zipper (once again), who has broken into her bedroom, but
is found by Frankie & gang, assuming quite something else when they find
those 2 sitting on Dee Dee's bed together (& you can guess what).
Sutwell decides to break up with Dee Dee - whose affection he did enjoy - for
good by letting her find him kissing his attractive assistant Marianne (Dorothy
Malone), whom he of course always loved but never realized it until now, but
that's when Dee Dee, Franky & gang find out they have only been an object
for the professor's studies , & want to beat him up ... the professor, a
learned man of course, can bring them to see reason & thus escape a sound
beating, but that's when Erich Von Zipper & gang show upm, & everything
culminates in a big barroom brawl at Cappy's place with the customary cream
pies thrown in (& around) just for good measure. Of course our
surfer-heroes win & at the end, Vincent Price (who has spent the movie
sitting around & sleeping under a hat obscuring his identity) wakes up
& sums the film up rather incongruently "The Pit ! Give me my
Pendulum, Kiddies, I feel like Swinging !" (if you haven't guessed, yes,
it's an allusion to his Pit & the Pendulum, made by AIP
Candy Johnson plays a girl who can knock guys off their feet (or surfboards)
just by shaking her bootie.
This first of the Frankie & Annette-Beach Party-movies
(the others are Muscle Beach Party & Bikini Beach from 1964,
& Beach Blanket Bingo & How to Stuff a Wild Bikini from
1965, all directed by William Asher) pretty much set the tone for the rest of
them: teen boys & girls on the beach, doing a lot of surfing (& much of
it filmed in the Blue Box), amidst them Frankie trying to break down Annette's
defenses, which leads to sillier & sillier plotlines, song & dance
numbers interrupting the proceedings at appropriate & inappropriate
moments, very unfunny comedy & some stars on AIP's payroll doing a cameo at
the respective endings of the films (here it's Vincent Price, later Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre & Buster
Keaton [!] would follow).
From today's point of view, these movies are of course pure camp & as
such harmless & nostalgic fun ... if not exactly for the intended reasons.