A few words about…™ Gidget — in Blu-ray

In the end, Gidget is a sweet trifle 4 Stars

“If you ever need a friend you can depend on…”

Had Gidget not turned Sandra Dee into a Hollywood sensation, it probably would have been Imitation of Life, or A Summer Place, or one of the Tammy films.

But way back in 1959, Sandra Dee was the teen that every mother wanted their son to bring home.

That fact the she was the correct age for the character she played, which was the sweet innocent, while her friends, high school girls all, sexually harassed every young teen boy on the beach, even though the actors were all in their 20s… or older.

Gidget, almost sixty years later, seems a bit less shocking. When it was released, way back in April of 1959, it stood as a reminder to get rid of that winter fat, and find a new bathing suit, as spring was at hand.

And the beaches.

In the end, Gidget is a sweet trifle.

Fortunately, the Blu-ray, courtesy of Twilight Time, was prepped by Team Columbia, which means that the presentation will be as superb as it was in 1959.

This is important, as it was shot by Burnett Guffey, and if the name doesn’t ring a bell, think Bonnie and Clyde, The Reckless Moment, From Here to Eternity and Birdman of Alcatraz.

The film was directed by Paul Wendkos, who was apparently there.

“I’m blue, too, Sandra Dee…

Sandra Dee…

Sandra Dee…”

Image – 4.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from the DVD – Yes

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

author,member

15 Comments

  1. Robert Harris


    The film was directed by Paul Wendkos, who was apparently there.

    Mr. Harris, please. Paul Wendkos directed Face Of A Fugitive and should be taken seriously. (I'd certainly love that film to be given the Grover Crisp treatment and then be released on Blu-ray disc)

  2. Robin9

    Mr. Harris, please. Paul Wendkos directed Face Of A Fugitive and should be taken seriously. (I'd certainly love that film to be given the Grover Crisp treatment and then be released on Blu-ray disc)

    Paul Wendkos also directed (very early in his career) THE BURGLAR (1957), a low budget noir which Harry Cohn of Columbia was so impressed by that he placed Mr. Wendkos under contract, & especially ANGEL BABY (1961) which Andrew Sarris wrote nice things about in "The American Cinema", under the category "Oddities, One-shots and Newcomers."

  3. lark144

    Paul Wendkos also directed (very early in his career) THE BURGLAR (1957), a low budget noir which Harry Cohn of Columbia was so impressed by that he placed Mr. Wendkos under contract, & especially ANGEL BABY (1961) which Andrew Sarris wrote nice things about in "The American Cinema", under the category "Oddities, One-shots and Newcomers."

    Quite aware of The Burgler. Mr. W re-created a room from an family-members' home in Philly for the film.

  4. Brad’s AFWA: Gidget (1959, Twilight Time release).
    View attachment 42126 View attachment 42127

    Brad here. Now keep in mind that up until around 1990, I had no idea of who Sandra Dee was or that an actress named Sandra Dee existed. The name Sandra Dee I actually heard back in 1978 as it was in the title of a rather silly song on the movie Grease (1978) soundtrack ( "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee".) sung by Stockard Channing’s character Riz who was of course making fun of Olivia Newton-John's Sandy character. Whether Stockard actually did her own singing or if it was sung by a session musician/singer I don’t know at this time but I’ll try to find out.

    My first encounter with a Gidget themed movie was back when I was all of 7 (or was it 8) years old and I somehow ended up viewing Gidget Goes To Rome (1963). Nothing much about the plot clicked but for some reason, I ended up enjoying the experience. At that time of course I didn’t know of the other Gidget films for obvious reasons, way too young. Of course I’d learn of the Gidget movies later but my recent viewing of Twilignt Time’s release of Gidget would be the first time I viewed a Gidget film since that 1967 or so viewing on a B&W TV of the day.

    Technically, I fully concur with RAH, another high-quality transfer. Not much I can add there except it looked real good on my soon-to-be superseded Vizio 70”. And to put it succinctly, I was very happy with the movie. In fact my wife’s mom , Marti, joined us for the viewing. She was a 50s era bobby-soxer and regaled us with tales on how she and friends would ride around with the convertible top down. It was a trip back in time for her.

    A few notes about the plot itself. I’m guessing that back in 1959, one could get away with living in a ramshackle shack on the beach at least for the summer months as Cliff Robertson’s character did. I’ve actually done that myself a couple times (slept on a beach) but only for one night each. Once during my young USMC days on Santa Monica Beach in California and again a few years later on a isolated stretch of Virginia Beach, VA (the only place I could park my car and get away with sleeping in it without shelling out $$ for a hotel room). Probably don’t want to try anything like that nowadays unless it’s a bona-fide campsite.

    The surprise reveal near the end (not describing it here for spoiler reasons) has probably inspired similar scenes in future films. I’m not sure which film originated the idea but I’ve seen variations of this in other films as well.

    It was quite interesting seeing James Darren in a acting role as I mostly knew of James from his 50s-60s era hit songs. I do remember watching some episodes of the TV series Time Tunnel but I was way too young to know it was James Darren. Thankfully James is still with us.

    Correct me if I'm wrong or confirm if I'm right but the beach house where Kahuna (Darren) takes Gidget (Dee) looked real familiar. I think this same beach house or set was reused for future beach-themed movies. The one that stands out mostly in my mind is Malibu Beach (1978) where this setup served as Dugan's beach house and where he takes his nerdy (but sexy as all getup as we'd see later) date in a seduction attempt. Dugan didn't succeed at that time but at the end of the film, Dugan gets picked up by that same female character.

    Finally, I give this Blu-ray release a big recommendation to anyone who’s interested in this genre of classic films along with other rather recent Blu releases of Where The Boys Are (1960), Muscle Beach Party (1964) and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965). We know there are others of the genre which haven’t yet seen a Blu release, along with the Gidget sequels (as far as I know) but maybe someday we’ll get the sequels and more beach party films on HD Blu. As for Gidget, pop it in, get a soda & popcorn and enjoy a nice family movie night.

    1. Correction: I had erroneously mentioned in the beach house paragraph that Kahuna was played by James Darren. This was a mistype on my part as we know Cliff Robertson played Kahuna.

  5. I never watched Gidget, but I liked the Kevin Spacey and Kate Bossworth perfomances respectivelly as Bobby Dain and Sandra Dee in Beyound the Sea (2004), and also apreciate the musical and dance performances of Spacey.
    But after the Spacey's scandals it look a bit weird to watch.

    Was people more happy or more hopeful in these days ?
    Maybe people back then wasn't aware how dirty this world is.

  6. Alberto_D

    I never watched Gidget, but I liked the Kevin Spacey and Kate Bossworth perfomances respectivelly as Bobby Dain and Sandra Dee in Beyound the Sea (2004), and also apreciate the musical and dance performances of Spacey.
    But after the Spacey's scandals it look a bit weird to watch.

    Was people more happy or more hopeful in these days ?
    Maybe people back then wasn't aware how dirty this world is.

    The Eisenhower years were a bit more innocent.

  7. knowledge can be a heavy lift.

    Maybe that's why such films have public even today. Many people search fantasy even in modern days, explaining Harry Potter an Lord of The Rings success. In both, old and modern, it's like a transportation to very different places, maybe a scape.

    Robert Harris

    The Eisenhower years were a bit more innocent.

  8. Alberto_D

    I never watched Gidget, but I liked the Kevin Spacey and Kate Bossworth perfomances respectivelly as Bobby Dain and Sandra Dee in Beyound the Sea (2004), and also apreciate the musical and dance performances of Spacey.
    But after the Spacey's scandals it look a bit weird to watch.

    Was people more happy or more hopeful in these days ?
    Maybe people back then wasn't aware how dirty this world is.

    When the Spacey scandals broke, it made me think of that particular movie which I saw when it came out on DVD. I just hope Bobby Darin's music, part of the vast tapestry of tunes that constitute the "soundtrack of my life," can be disassociated from Spacey's behavior.

  9. Kevin Spacey rerecorded Bobby Darin's musics for this movie, making a excellent job in my opinion. That's what turn things even more weird to appreciate the movie today, after the scandals.
    One can say that his case wasn't as bad or evil as the Harvey Weinstein, since Spacey was drunk in a crazy party, and not sober making blackmail in change of sex or rapping as Harvey. But even so, alcohol its not a escuse.

    Spacey's brother told their father abused hin. He is very talented, but probably very disturbed.
    I have a theory that disturbs and personality disordes, are direct linked to the world of a huge number of artists. It's like they develop artistic habilitis, talents, gift, to try compensate something. They feel need to express themselves, be noticed, admired, desired.

    MatthewA

    When the Spacey scandals broke, it made me think of that particular movie which I saw when it came out on DVD. I just hope Bobby Darin's music, part of the vast tapestry of tunes that constitute the "soundtrack of my life," can be disassociated from Spacey's behavior.

  10. Robert Harris

    Had Gidget not turned Sandra Dee into a Hollywood sensation, it probably would have been Imitation of Life, or A Summer Place, or one of the Tammy films.

    Still panting for a Blu of A Summer Place (1959 Warner). Love Constance Ford's leave-no-scenery-unchewed turn as the evil step-mother. "Are you bad Johnny? Have you been bad with girls?"

  11. notmicro

    Still panting for a Blu of A Summer Place (1959 Warner). Love Constance Ford's leave-no-scenery-unchewed turn as the evil step-mother. "Are you bad Johnny? Have you been bad with girls?"

    How about Richard Egan as Ford's long-suffering husband in ASP?…"And now you hate the Swedes…how many outlets for your hate do you have, Helen?"

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