tek's rating: ½

Beach Blanket Bingo (not rated)
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This is the fifth movie in the "Beach Party" series, released in 1965. I first saw it in 2022, during my summer of beach movies. Frankie and Dee Dee are back as the main characters, as usual. The character who's usually called "Deadhead" (Jody McCrea) in this movie is called "Bonehead", and he has a bigger role than usual. He meets and falls in love with a mermaid named Lorelai (Marta Kristen, best known for Lost in Space). But that's still basically a side story. What passes for the main story is that an up and coming singer named Sugar Kane (Linda Evans) skydives just off the beach. Actually that's just a publicity stunt; it isn't actually Sugar skydiving, it's a professional named Bonnie (Deborah Walley), who swims to a waiting boat and trades places with Sugar, who subsequently meets the local surfers. Her manager is a guy called Bullets (Paul Lynde), who has brought out a New York columnist named Earl Wilson (playing himself) to write an article about Sugar. And Sugar is briefly set up as a potential love interest for Frankie, but not much comes of that. She's also a potential love interest for Bonehead. And Eric Von Zipper takes a liking to her, and eventually kidnaps her (though there's a different character who becomes a greater threat, which I don't even want to get into). Meanwhile, Frankie and Dee Dee both take skydiving lessons from Bonnie and her partner, Steve (John Ashley, who usually plays a friend of Frankie's who was named Ken in the first movie and Johnny in the next two). Bonnie takes an interest in Frankie, and Steve gets jealous, so he pretends to take an interest in Dee Dee, who is jealous of Bonnie. Oh, and the skydiving club is run by a guy called Big Drop, played by Don Rickles. (I have no idea if he's supposed to be the same character as he played in the second and third movies. But at one point he seems to break character to do some of his own brand of insult comedy.) Also I should mention there are minor characters played by Buster Keaton and Bobbie Shaw, who were previously seen in "Pajama Party", but I'm pretty sure they're playing different characters here (and are of literally no importance). And I don't really know what else to say about the plot.

Well, I want to say that I've always felt it was a bit iffy calling these Beach movies "musicals", because there are usually just a few (not very good) songs that feel out of place, and a few other songs that make sense to be sung as in-universe entertainment, rather than as a trope of musicals in general. This movie felt even iffier than usual, with just two musical-style songs (one by Frankie and Dee Dee, and one by Von Zipper and his gang). Oh, and of course the title song. Aside from those, there are more "normal" songs, one by Donna Loren, one by Frankie, two by Sugar (but not by Evans), and one or two by a band called the Hondells.

There's a lot going on in the movie, and it's all campy and redonkulous, but it's maybe not quite as overpacked with zany plot elements as some of the Beach movies have been. And I think there are some who would rate this as the best movie in the series. Personally I have no idea how to make up my mind about that, because they're all pretty weird. But I did enjoy it.

surf & beach index
teen comedy index

Beach Party series

Beach Party * Muscle Beach Party * Bikini Beach * Pajama Party * Beach Blanket Bingo * How to Stuff a Wild Bikini * Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
see also Ski Party