• Muscle Beach Party



    Released By: Olive Films
    Released On: February 17th, 2015.
    Director: William Asher
    Cast: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Luciana Paluzzi, John Ashley
    Year: 1964
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    The Film:

    ...and then there was that time that Annette and Frankie went to Muscle Beach. Following the success of Beach Party, William Asher and the studio folks decided it was a good idea to reuse the formula and send teen sensations Frankie Avalon (Frankie) and Annette Funicello (Dee Dee) back to the beach for more crazy hijinks and bikini madness. If it ain't broke, don't fix it seemed to be the rule of the day, and viewers will definitely find more than a few similarities running through the series of films.

    This time around, the gang decide that they need to catch some waves, rays, and some cool tunes, so they head down to the surf with hot musical act Dick Dale and his Del Tones in tow. Everything seems grand for the young surfers as they rear-project surf some gnarly waves while keeping their hairstyles fully intact. Unfortunately, trouble is on the horizon in the shape of a bunch of neon pink booty shorty-wearing bodybuilders, led by a shady businessman (Don Rickles) and his star attraction, the unfortunately named Flex Martian. Despite the threat to "Stay on your side of the beach or else!", Frankie and his surfing pals manage to keep the party going, surfing more waves and dancing to more tunes from the King of the Surf Guitar.

    All seems to be going pretty swell on the surfing and dancing front, but Frankie and Dee Dee once again are forced to face superficial relationship troubles; Frankie is determined to live his life on the beach forever fancy free, dreaming of an elusive 80' wave, and Dee Dee is determined that "A Girl Needs A Boy" in the form of a husband, somebody to get a house with and settle down.

    Dee Dee's struggle to "Put the handcuffs on" Frankie is further exacerbated by the appearance of Julie, a rich Italian woman who is anchored offshore in a fancy yacht. While the original object of her affection was one Flex Martian, she switches her sights when she hears Frankie crooning by himself after a torchlit night surf in a banana-yellow wetsuit. With her promise of turning Frankie into a singing sensation with her massive amounts of money and her wealthy contacts, it doesn't look good for the original Beach Couple. Will Frankie and Dee Dee's relationship survive? Will Flex Martian pummel Frankie into the sand? Will Dick Dale actually plug his trademark Stratocaster into an actual amplifier? The only way to find out the answers to these questions is to sit through...MUSCLE BEACH PARTY!

    As with any of the Beach Party series, or any of the camp films studios were cranking out in the 60's, a huge grain of salt should be taken with each viewing. Expecting anything terribly serious or complex will be an exercise in futility to be sure, and Muscle Beach Party is definitely no exception. While it wouldn't get as wacky as 1965's Beach Blanket Bingo, it's still a fair stretch to take anything in the story to heart. What it does offer is a fair amount of fun, some nice looking bikini-clad ladies (oh, and swim trunk-clad fellas as well), a good number of laughs, and the ability to shut your brain off for 90 minutes. If you're down with all of those, Muscle Beach Party may be right up your alley. You may even be surprised...by Peter Lorre.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Olive Films does another great job of presenting a classic film in a good-looking package. Muscle Beach Party is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The transfer looks good for it's age, with a dynamic colour palette and solid definition. The film is 50 years old, however, and some instances of dirt and an occasional hair or scratch do show up, but for the most part it looks wonderful.

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is also decent, with no real hisses or pops or other indications of the age. The dialogue is clear and consistent, though the balance with the rest of the soundtrack is slightly off kilter, resulting in a few jarring moments. Still, nothing crazy to speak of is to be found, and it won't detract from enjoyment of the film.

    Unfortunately, there are no extras to be found on the disc.

    The Final Word:

    It's certainly not high society cinema, but it's a lot of fun...and the Olive blu-ray is a great way to watch it.



    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

























    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Stevie Wonder and a lot of hunks in trunks.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      LITTLE Stevie Wonder!