EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|GIDGET (director: Paul Wendkos; screenwriters: from the book by Frederick Kohner/Gabrielle Upton; cinematographer: Burnett Guffey; editor: William A. Lyon; music: Fred Karger/Stanley Styne; cast: Sandra Dee (Francie Lawrence/Gidget), Cliff Robertson (Kahoona), James Darren (Moondoggie), Arthur O'Connell (Russell Lawrence), Mary LaRoche (Dorothy Lawrence), Joby Baker (Stinky), Tom Laughlin (Lover Boy), Jo Morrow (Mary Lou); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lewis J. Rachmil; Columbia; 1959)|
and perceptive coming-of-age teen film."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A sincere and perceptive coming-of-age teen film, about a
wholesome slightly built 16-year-old California gal named Francie
Lawrence, nicknamed by her surfer pals Gidget (Sandra
cross between a girl and a midget. The feisty tomboy
Gidget spends the summer with a bunch of clean-cut but
spicy college-aged surfers on Malibu Beach, whose leader is the older
thirty-something Korean war vet who is lolling about as a full-time
surfer bum known as Kahoona (Cliff Robertson).
At first Gidget is happy to just be hanging around with the
guys as a mascot and learning how to surf, realizing that she's unable
to compete with the well-stacked bikini-clad local beach gals who go on
"manhunts." But, to her surprise, she falls in love with nice guy surf
bum Moondoggie (James
Darren) and uses her feminine wiles to nail the reluctant
surfer boy, who seems to love only his surfboard. Moondoggie's dad is a
self-made success story in the business world and he aspires to the same success without help
from his rich folks. Lucky for Gidget she has understanding but
clueless parents (Arthur
O'Connell & Mary LaRoche) who give her good parental 1950's advice
and listen to her plight, but they still disapprove of her choice of a
boyfriend and change in lifestyle.
It's based on the book
by Frederick Kohner, who based it on
his teenage daughter. It was
adapted for the screen by
Gabrielle Upton. The popular
pic has become an American pop
culture classic. Paul
("The Burglar"/"Face of a
Baby") does a nice job keeping it
level-headed and capturing from the teen's point of view the
of growing up. There were two film sequels (Gidget Goes to Rome-1963
and Gidget Goes Hawaiian -1961,
television series-Gidget-1965-66) and The New
and several TV movies.
REVIEWED ON 4/9/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ