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Beach Party

Original film poster
Directed by William Asher
Produced by Executive producer:
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Associate producer:
Robert Dillon
Producer:
James H. Nicholson
Lou Rusoff
Written by Lou Rusoff
Starring Robert Cummings
Dorothy Malone
Frankie Avalon
Annette Funicello
Morey Amsterdam
Music by Les Baxter
Cinematography Kay Norton
Editing by Homer Powell
Distributed by American International Pictures (AIP)
Release date(s) July 14, 1963
Running time 101 min.
Country U.S.A.
Language English
Budget US$350,000
Followed by Muscle Beach Party

Beach Party (1963) was the first of seven beach party films from American International Pictures (AIP) aimed at a teen audience. It was directed by William Asher and written by Lou Rusoff. The main actors included Robert Cummings, Dorothy Malone, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello. This film is often credited with creating the beach party film genre.[1]

One of the unique aspects of the AIP beach films is the absence of parents or any other authority figures. This gang of independent, fun-loving teenagers (portrayed by actors in their 20s) are free to do whatever they want and live on their own terms in summer houses along the beach. This first film includes a romantic sub-plot about two adult characters (Cummings and Malone) that was only repeated once in subsequent films, in 1964's Bikini Beach.

Contents

Plot

The movie starts off with an anthropologist, Professor Robert Orwell Sutwell (Robert Cummings) secretly studying the "wild mating habits" of Southern California teenagers that hang out at the beach and use strange surfing jargon. After he temporarily paralyzes Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck), the leader of the local outlaw motorcycle gang, who was making unwanted advances on Dolores (Annette Funicello), Dolores develops a crush on the Professor. Her surfing boyfriend Frankie (Frankie Avalon), the local Big Kahuna, becomes jealous and begins flirting with Ava, a foreign waitress. Meanwhile Marianne (Dorothy Malone) develops a crush on the Professor. Ava also develops a crush for Eric Von Zipper.

Production notes

Although a stunt surfer was used for long-shots, Robert Cummings was already a competent surfer himself by the time he starred in Beach Party as the ungainly Professor. Films of him surfing in Hawaii on the Ken Murray's Hollywood television show feature a muscular young Bob cruising along comfortably on an old style long board.

Contrary to the popular opinion that Annette Funicello was not allowed to be seen in a bikini bathing suit in these films for AIP (or that she was not even allowed to wear a two-piece suit or show her navel), Funicello does indeed wear a pink two-piece in this very first film, shows her navel in a two-piece in Muscle Beach Party, and wears a bikini in Bikini Beach.

In one of the first instances of film cross-selling, AIP took advantage of the target demographic of this film to promote another in a different genre, when at the very end of the credits - after giving "A Special thanks" to Vincent Price for appearing as Big Daddy - the title reads "Soon to be seen in The Haunted Palace," a AIP horror film that would be released on August 28, 1963 - just weeks after the release of Beach Party.

Music

It is interesting to note that the music in Beach Party was written specifically for the film and featured a score that picked up several cues from the songs used - a common move for most musicals, but a rarity for a B-grade studio teen film filled with pop songs - even today.[2] Les Baxter composed this score, as well as most of the films that followed, including Sergeant Deadhead, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and Fireball 500.

Gary Usher and Roger Christian wrote three songs that appear in the film: the title track, performed by Avalon and Funicello; and "Swingin' and a-Surfin'" and "Secret Surfing Spot," both performed by Dick Dale and the Del Tones.

Bob Marcucci and Russ Faith wrote "Don't Stop Now," performed by Avalon.

Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner wrote two songs for Funicello featured in the film: "Treat Him Nicely," which Funicello performs while harmonizing with herself; and "Promise Me Anything (But Give Me Love)" performed off-screen.

Cultural references

Reception

Beach Party was the highest grossing film AIP had made to that date, earning more its opening weekend than any of its competition.

The Golden Laurel, which had no ceremony but published its award results in the trade magazine Motion Picture Exhibitor from 1958 to 1971, gave this film The Golden Laurel for Sleeper of the Year in 1964.

Cultural Impact

With this film, AIP created a new sub-genre - the beach party film. Several other studios attempted to imitate the AIP Beach Party formula, but never with equal success. Films of the genre include: Surf Party, Ride the Wild Surf, and For Those Who Think Young (all from 1964), A Swingin' Summer and Beach Ball (both 1965), Catalina Caper and It's a Bikini World (from 1967).

The 1996 film That Thing You Do! features a parody of 1960s beach movies. In the film, the fictional singing group called The Wonders star as "Cap'n Geech and The Shrimpshack Shooters." The movie within the movie is titled Weekend at Party Pier and features characters similar to Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

Films in the series

Many of the same cast - and much of the same crew - were involved in the AIP films that followed. Sometimes character names changed (like in Pajama Party, Ski Party and Sergeant Deadhead), and not all were beach-based (Ski Party in the mountains, Ghost in the Invisible Bikini in a haunted house), but the basic elements and tone remained the same:

* Avalon appeared in every film except The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, and Thunder Alley. Funicello appeared in every film except Sergeant Deadhead and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.

Cast

  • Robert Cummings as Prof. Robert 'Bob' Orwell Sutwell (as Bob Cummings)
  • Dorothy Malone as Marianne
  • Frankie Avalon as Frankie
  • Annette Funicello as Dolores/DeeDee
  • Morey Amsterdam as Cappy
  • Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper
  • Eva Six as Ava
  • John Ashley as Ken
  • Jody McCrea as Deadhead
  • Dick Dale as Himself (as Dick Dale and The Del Tones)
  • Andy Romano as J.D. (Rat Pack member)
  • Jerry Brutsche as Rat Pack member
  • Bob Harvey as Rat Pack member
  • John Macchia as Rat Pack member
  • Alberta Nelson as Rat Pack member
  • Linda Rogers as Rat Pack member
  • David Landfield as Ed
  • Bob Payne as Tom (as Bobby Payne)
  • Pam Colbert as Surfer
  • Delores Wells as Sue
  • Johnny Fain as Surfer (as John Fain)
  • Valora Noland as Rhonda
  • Meredith MacRae as Beach girl
  • John Beach as Beach boy
  • Lorrie Summers as Lorie Summers
  • Roger Bacon as Tour guide
  • Luree Holmes as Luree Nicholson
  • Michael Nader as Beach boy (as Mike Nader)
  • Laura Nicholson as Beach girl
  • Mickey Dora as Beach boy
  • Donna Russell as Surfer
  • Ed Garner as Surfer (as Eddie Garner)
  • Candy Johnson as Perpetual motion dancer
  • Vincent Price as Big Daddy

References

  1. ^ McParland, Stephen J. (1994). It's Party Time - A Musical Appreciation of the Beach Party Film Genre. USA: PTB Productions. pp. 21. ISBN 0960188029.  
  2. ^ Beach Party Movie Music by Mikey Mars

External links


Beach Party
Directed by William Asher
Produced by Executive producer:
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Associate producer:
Robert Dillon
Producer:
James H. Nicholson
Lou Rusoff
Written by Lou Rusoff
Starring Robert Cummings
Dorothy Malone
Frankie Avalon
Annette Funicello
Morey Amsterdam
Music by Les Baxter
Cinematography Kay Norton
Editing by Homer Powell
Distributed by American International Pictures (AIP)
Release date(s) July 14, 1963
Running time 101 min.
Country U.S.A.
Language English
Budget US$350,000
Followed by Muscle Beach Party

Beach Party (1963) was the first of seven beach party films from American International Pictures (AIP) aimed at a teen audience. It was directed by William Asher and written by Lou Rusoff. The main actors included Robert Cummings, Dorothy Malone, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello. This film is often credited with creating the beach party film genre.[1]

One of the unique aspects of the AIP beach films is the absence of parents or any other authority figures. This gang of independent, fun-loving teenagers (portrayed by actors in their 20s) are free to do whatever they want and live on their own terms in summer houses along the beach. This first film includes a romantic sub-plot about two adult characters (Cummings and Malone) that was only repeated once in subsequent films, in 1964's Bikini Beach.

Contents

Plot

An anthropologist, Professor Robert Orwell Sutwell (Robert Cummings) is secretly studying the "wild mating habits" of Southern California teenagers who hang out at the beach and use strange surfing jargon. After he temporarily paralyzes Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck), the leader of the local outlaw motorcycle gang, who was making unwanted advances on Dolores (Annette Funicello), Dolores develops a crush on the Professor. Her surfing boyfriend Frankie (Frankie Avalon), the local Big Kahuna, becomes jealous and begins flirting with Ava (Eva Six), an Hungarian waitress. Meanwhile, Sutwell's assistant Marianne (Dorothy Malone) further develops her crush on the Professor. Von Zipper and his gang plot to bring down Sutwell, only to be thwarted in the end by the surfing teenagers.

Production notes

Although a stunt surfer was used for long-shots, Robert Cummings was already a competent surfer himself by the time he starred in Beach Party as the ungainly Professor. Films of him surfing in Hawaii on the Ken Murray's Hollywood television show feature a muscular young Bob cruising along comfortably on an old style long board.

Contrary to the popular opinion that Annette Funicello was not allowed to be seen in a bikini bathing suit in these films for AIP (or that she was not even allowed to wear a two-piece suit or show her navel), Funicello does indeed wear a pink two-piece in this very first film, shows her navel in a two-piece in Muscle Beach Party, and wears a bikini in Bikini Beach.

In one of the first instances of film cross-selling, AIP took advantage of the target demographic of this film to promote another in a different genre, when at the very end of the credits - after giving "A Special thanks" to Vincent Price for appearing as Big Daddy - the title reads "Soon to be seen in The Haunted Palace," a AIP horror film that would be released on August 28, 1963 - just weeks after the release of Beach Party.

Music

It is interesting to note that the music in Beach Party was written specifically for the film and featured a score that picked up several cues from the songs used - a common move for most musicals, but a rarity for a B-grade studio teen film filled with pop songs - even today.[2] Les Baxter composed this score, as well as most of the films that followed, including Sergeant Deadhead, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and Fireball 500.

Gary Usher and Roger Christian wrote three songs that appear in the film: the title track, performed by Avalon and Funicello; and "Swingin' and a-Surfin'" and "Secret Surfing Spot," both performed by Dick Dale and the Del Tones.

Bob Marcucci and Russ Faith wrote "Don't Stop Now," performed by Avalon.

Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner wrote two songs for Funicello featured in the film: "Treat Him Nicely," which Funicello performs while harmonizing with herself; and "Promise Me Anything (But Give Me Love)" performed off-screen.

Cultural references

Reception

Beach Party was the highest grossing film AIP had made to that date, earning more its opening weekend than any of its competition.

The Golden Laurel, which had no ceremony but published its award results in the trade magazine Motion Picture Exhibitor from 1958 to 1971, gave this film The Golden Laurel for Sleeper of the Year in 1964.

Cultural Impact

With this film, AIP created a new sub-genre - the beach party film. Several other studios attempted to imitate the AIP Beach Party formula, but never with equal success. Films of the genre include: Surf Party, Ride the Wild Surf, and For Those Who Think Young (all from 1964), A Swingin' Summer and Beach Ball (both 1965), Catalina Caper and It's a Bikini World (from 1967).

The 1996 film That Thing You Do! features a parody of 1960s beach movies. In the film, the fictional singing group called The Wonders star as "Cap'n Geech and The Shrimpshack Shooters." The movie within the movie is titled Weekend at Party Pier and features characters similar to Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

Films in the series

Many of the same cast - and much of the same crew - were involved in the AIP films that followed. Sometimes character names changed (like in Pajama Party, Ski Party and Sergeant Deadhead), and not all were beach-based (Ski Party in the mountains, Ghost in the Invisible Bikini in a haunted house), but the basic elements and tone remained the same:

* Avalon appeared in every film except The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, and Thunder Alley. Funicello appeared in every film except Sergeant Deadhead and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.

Cast

  • Robert Cummings as Prof. Robert 'Bob' Orwell Sutwell (as Bob Cummings)
  • Dorothy Malone as Marianne
  • Frankie Avalon as Frankie
  • Annette Funicello as Dolores/DeeDee
  • Morey Amsterdam as Cappy
  • Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper
  • Eva Six as Ava
  • John Ashley as Ken
  • Jody McCrea as Deadhead
  • Dick Dale as Himself (as Dick Dale and The Del Tones)
  • Andy Romano as J.D. (Rat Pack member)
  • Jerry Brutsche as Rat Pack member
  • Bob Harvey as Rat Pack member
  • John Macchia as Rat Pack member
  • Alberta Nelson as Rat Pack member
  • Linda Rogers as Rat Pack member
  • David Landfield as Ed
  • Bob Payne as Tom (as Bobby Payne)
  • Pam Colbert as Surfer
  • Delores Wells as Sue
  • Johnny Fain as Surfer (as John Fain)
  • Valora Noland as Rhonda
  • Meredith MacRae as Beach girl
  • John Beach as Beach boy
  • Lorrie Summers as Lorie Summers
  • Roger Bacon as Tour guide
  • Luree Holmes as Luree Nicholson
  • Michael Nader as Beach boy (as Mike Nader)
  • Laura Nicholson as Beach girl
  • Mickey Dora as Beach boy
  • Donna Russell as Surfer
  • Ed Garner as Surfer (as Eddie Garner)
  • Candy Johnson as Perpetual motion dancer
  • Vincent Price as Big Daddy

References

  1. ^ McParland, Stephen J. (1994). It's Party Time - A Musical Appreciation of the Beach Party Film Genre. USA: PTB Productions. pp. 21. ISBN 0960188029. 
  2. ^ Beach Party Movie Music by Mikey Mars

External links








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