|Sandra Dee and Cliff Robertson|
Still, the focus of Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies is on the individual movies. For each film, Lisanti lists the complete credits, describes the plot, provides quotes from reviews, and--best of all--takes the reader behind the scenes for fascinating trivia, such as:
- The Beach Party series almost starred Fabian and Sandra Dee instead of Frankie and Annette.
- American International Pictures originally intended Bikini Beach for the Beatles--until the band's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show made their salaries too costly.
- Nancy Sinatra was first offered the role of Sugar Kane (played by Linda Evans) in Beach Blanket Bingo.
- Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield wrote two title songs for Where the Boys Are. The version they and Connie Francis preferred was not the one selected by producer Joe Pasternak. The Pasternak-preferred song became a huge hit, of course, and Connie's signature song.
|Jody McCrea and Mary Hughes.|
In the third section of Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies, Lisanti profiles "a select number of actors and actresses who made their marks in...the genre." It would have been helpful to include the criteria for selection, for there are some notable omissions, to include: Harvey Lembeck, Bobbie Shaw, Dwayne Hickman, Timothy Carey, and Donna Loren. These performers are mentioned throughout the book, so it's not as if the author ignores them. It's just that their contributions to beach movies seems as notable as profiled performers Kincaid, Ed Garner, and Peter Brown (who only appeared in one surf movie).
Still, such criticisms amount to mere quibbles. With an exhaustive bibliography, an index, and 96 photos, this 456-page reference volume is highly recommended for fans of the beach movie genre and for libraries with extensive film book collections. So, the next time you head to the beach, be sure to grab your surfboard, your sun tan lotion, some Beach Party DVDs, and a copy of Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies!
McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers provided a review copy of this book.