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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT305-BR

GIDGET (1959) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Cliff Robertson, Arthur O'Connell, Doug McClure, Sandra Dee, James Darren, Joby Baker, Yvonne Craig
Directed By:  Paul Wendkos
Composed By:  M. W. Stoloff

“As a surf portrait of adolescent America, the film has a relaxed air befitting its nice young people and some random, knowing observations about growing up.”
– Howard Thompson, The New York Times

“One of the very few surf-and-sand movies not only to tell its story from a teenager’s point of view, it’s one that really understands the emotions of teenagers and how they really interact.”
– Stuart Galbraith IV, DVDtalk.com

The original surfer girl/beach bum movie, adapted from the novel by Frederick Kohner, Gidget (1959) stars Sandra Dee as determined little Frances Lawrence, who falls in love both with surfing and with the characters who populate the local Southern California beach hangout. Of particular interest are the young Moondoggie (James Darren) and the more mature Big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), a Korean War vet who is the idol of every surfer on the coast for his life of apparently unfettered freedom.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1959 / Color
95 MINUTES
NOT RATED

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on January 4, 2018 1:13 PM
If you grew up in the sixties there is no doubt that you were exposed to the genre of film known as the beach movie. The most notable stars of the genre were Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello but there were others who dipped their toes in the salty waters of the Pacific as well. One of those was Sandra Dee in a little film called GIDGET.

The movie opens with the early teen Francie Lawrence (Dee) and her friends preparing for a trip to the beach. The other girls are just interested in meeting boys but Francie hasn’t quite been bitten by the bug for male companionship just yet. While the others display themselves a bit suggestively, Francine keeps more of herself covered.

Swimming in a mask and snorkel she gets caught in some kelp and one of the surfers on the beach named Moondoggie (James Darren) rescues her on his board. Having experienced riding the board now Francine wants to try as well. Told she needs a board of her own she negotiates with the guy on the beach making them.

The next day she arrives with her money but the guys joke about not wanting to teach her. The main beach bum, The Big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), takes her under his wing and begins instructing her. She takes to it naturally and is soon a sort of mascot for the rest of the gang, given the nickname of Gidget. While they view her as their “kid sister” things begin to change for Francine.

She begins to notice Moondoggie more and falls for him. Her summer at the beach that began with no intention of looking for romance is slowly changing. The question that comes to mind though is does Moondoggie have the same thing in mind as well or does he still see her as the kid he saved from drowning?

Like most beach movies the film takes a simplistic look at the times and the people involved offering little depth to them. The lone exception is Robertson’s character, an older man who left the world behind to surf the waves of the world and who the rest, mainly Moondoggie, look up to as an example of what they want to become, free and easy without a care in the world. Except that not all is as it seems.

The movie also differs from most in the genre in that it doesn’t play things strictly for laughs like the Frankie and Annette films did. There are no broadly played characters here on display. These seem like real people, as real as a beach movie can get, with real issues they’re trying to resolve. At the same time it is a time capsule for the period, a time when mom and dad were an integral part of their children’s lives while at the same time not understanding them or being there 24/7. It’s that wholesome style of film that many deride as far too fake but that makes for an enjoyable movie none the less.

Dee is wonderful here as the innocent young girl who is growing up while we watch. She has a charm and an appeal about her without being thought of as sexy. She’s the girl next door who you liked that would eventually blossom into a young woman. Darren does a fine job as well, playing the well to do son of a businessman who wants move in his future. And Robertson as the beach bum with a past shows why he was such a good actor.

The film resulted two sequels, neither of which starred Dee but both having Darren return. It also spawned a TV series with a young Sally Field in the title role. Later there were TV movies made with the character as well.

Twilight Time is offering this in their usual high quality style with a great picture on display here. Again, extras are limited. They include an isolated music track and the original theatrical trailer. As always they are limiting this to just 3,000 copies so if you’re a fan of beach movies or of Gidget then make sure you pick one up today.

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