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Tricia's retro film review: Beach Party

Beach Party


Beach Party is the 1963 movie starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. A group of teens head to the beach at the same time as Professor Sutwell comes to study them. Dolores clashes with Frankie over his infidelity and she soon becomes friends with Sutwell. Dolores plans to flirt with him in order to make Frankie jealous. It works a little too well and the professor has to defuse the situation. Add in a gang leader looking for revenge and a bunch of songs and the whole thing climaxes in a pie fight.

The movie is fine, but the plot is rather thin. It feels as if they had to make up a “traditional” three act plot because the executives would reject a movie that was merely a slice of life story. Luckily, it’s entertaining enough that the audience never notices this. The breakout character in this movie is Professor Sutwell, who may be dorky, but can hold his own against a biker gang and be able to adapt to new situations. In fact, he and Dolores would have made a good couple despite the age difference. Frankie, Dolores actual crush, is kind of a jerk as he knows that Dolores likes him but he willingly chooses to make out with other girls. The song “Treat Him Nicely” makes no sense as it is actually Frankie who needs to do that. The songs are okay, though some viewers may not care for slick teen idol music. Vincent Price has a hilarious cameo. Unusually, the movie has a short ad at the end of the credits about his next movie. The credits are surprisingly long for this sort of movie, although it may be because the company wanted to show off the songs. Honolulu film fans need to rent this film first.

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