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Monday, December 11, 2017

Gidget (1959)

A 16 year old girl (Sandra Dee) finds herself out of sync with her boy crazy girlfriends. But when she discovers surfing while at the beach, she becomes the mascot for a group of older surfers lead by The Kahuna (Cliff Robertson) and finds herself attracted to one (James Darren), in particular. Based on the novel GIDGET, THE LITTLE GIRL WITH BIG IDEAS by Frederick Kohner and directed by Paul Wendkos (THE MEPHISTO WALTZ). A popular hit, it spawned several movie sequels as well as a TV sitcom and is credited for mainstreaming surfing in the U.S. It's a sweet little movie with a more realistic look at the Southern California surfing culture than the BEACH PARTY movies which would follow four years later. 1959 was Sandra Dee's breakthrough year and this was one of the three films that would make her one of Hollywood's biggest box office stars, a sort of junior Doris Day, for the next several years. Not great art by any means but a reminder that movies are sometimes propelled by minor pleasures. Still, the idea of a 16 year old girl hanging out with a group of older guys probably wouldn't play well with contemporary thinking. With Arthur O'Connell, Jo Morrow, Doug McClureYvonne Craig, Tom LaughlinMary LaRoche and Joby Baker. 

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