Beach Party is a bouncy bit of lightweight fluff, attractively cast, beautifully set (Malibu Beach), and scored throughout with a big twist beat. It has a kind of direct, simple-minded cheeriness.
The comparatively elderly Robert Cummings toplines the cast (with Dorothy Malone) and provides the picture with what real comic substance it has. Plot is pegged on a study of teenage sex habits undertaken by anthropologist Cummings on the beach at Malibu.
As the square professor, Cummings shows himself to be an able farceur and notably at ease in surroundings which might embarrass a less professional star. Malone is along just for the ride in a small role as the prof’s longsuffering secretary. It’s a waste of her talent.
What plot complications there are centre around the romantic problems of a group of young surfers, principally Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, each of whom undertakes a campaign to make the other jealous – he with buxom Eva Six, she with the erudite professor. Story is padded out with some lovely surf-riding sequences and a whole string of Les Baxter songs.
American International. Director William Asher; Producer James H. Nicholson, Lou Rusoff; Screenplay Lou Rusoff; Camera Kay Norton; Editor Homer Powell; Music Les Baxter
(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1963. Running time: 104 MIN.
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