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Monday, September 28, 2015

Billie (1965)

A young tomboy (Patty Duke) shows a talent for track and the school's coach (Charles Lane) puts her on the track team. But as the only girl on the all male track team, she finds it causes problems when she gets a crush on one (Warren Berlinger) of her fellow team members. Based on the play TIME OUT FOR GINGER by Ronald Alexander, who also wrote the screenplay. The play was a flop on Broadway but hugely popular in regional and community theaters in the 1950s and 1960s. Even my high school put it on. This one adds some musical numbers, some truly awful songs (Duke's voice is flat) but David Winters' (VIVA LAS VEGAS) choreography is energetic. The film is mostly positive in its depiction of a young girl's determination to be judged as an equal rather than on her gender but the film wants its cake and to eat it too. The film makes its point but after making it, Duke gives up sports to concentrate on being a "girl". Directed by Don Weis. With Jane Greer, Jim Backus, Donna McKechnie, Dick Sargent, Billy De Wolfe, Susan Seaforth and Richard Deacon.

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