Monday, May 25, 2009
The Girls on the Beach (1965)
Directed by William Witney. In this empty-headed movie, the Beach Boys appear a few times as a bar band of no particular note, upstaged over and over in the plot by mere mentions of the Beatles.
It's not as if the Beach Boys were ahead of, or behind, their big success. They were a huge act when this came out; in the 12 months that preceded this film's release they had six hit singles including "Fun Fun Fun," "I Get Around," "Help Me Rhonda" and "California Girls." The Beatles aside, if the popularity of the Dave Clark Five warranted their own starring feature ("Having a Wild Weekend"), what could have stopped anybody from thinking the Beach Boys could support their own feature film?
Their manager, Murry Wilson, might be one explanation. Did he not want them off the road for the time it would take to make a movie, which would be a gamble, as opposed to playing concerts -- a sure moneymaker? What about studios who might have been sensitive to the fact that, while the Beach Boys made appealing music, they did not have spectacular personalities nor movie star good looks. Drummer Dennis Wilson was exceptional looking, and by 1971 would star in a fine film, Monte Hellman's "Two Lane Blacktop," but that had nothing to do with personality. Most of his role in that film consisted of grunting and looking out the window of a car.
So instead, the Beach Boys were segregated to a handful of performance cameos to canned music in "The Girls on the Beach," making the stars of the film the title roles. If you're into mid-'60s looks, this movie is a non-stop parade of gorgeous girls in headbands and sunglasses with their hair in flips, bouffants and beehives. The swimsuits are cut wide but the cinematography shamelessly points out every bit of skin the camera can find.
The plot is so dumb you can feel your IQ dropping as you watch. A sorority fights to save its house against a bank lien by entering every swimsuit contest, beauty pageant and bake-off they can find. You know, they do girl stuff. Meanwhile a bunch of guys try to get into their pants and Lesley Gore keeps walking around in her mother's housecoat, singing and squinting up into the stagelights.
In their ongoing effort to get the girls into the sack, the boys claim they could get the Beatles to play a show for them to get the money to save the sorority house. The girls fall for this, as do the 30 or so people who show up to see the Beatles. Boy, are they mad when the Beatles don't show up and the girls try to trick everyone by dressing up in wigs and pretend to be the Beatles! Oh wait, no they're not. They don't seem to give a damn!
At the end, the Russians drop the bomb and they all die. Just kidding! It all works out and presumably the creepy guys do indeed lose their virginity to...The Girls on the Beach.