Thursday, February 12, 2009

Palm Springs Weekend (1963)

Palm Springs Weekend (1963) is a follow-up to the classic Where the Boys Are (1960). Both explore the antics of college students on spring break. The tag line for Palm Springs Weekend pays homage to the original when it declares, It's Where the Boys Are, and the Girls Are. A college basketball team heads to Palm Springs, Nevada and much to their dismay, their grumpy coach has followed them. The captain of the team Jim (Troy Donahue) is reluctant to go on the trip at all while buddy Biff (Jerry van Dyke) is ready for the ladies! On her way to Palm Springs too is Gail Lewis (Connie Stevens) a beautiful teenager trying to pass for a wealthy 21-year-old Hawaiian student. She has two romantic rivals. First is cowboy/Hollywood stunt-man Stretch (Ty Hardin) who has a kind heart. Then there is jaded, rich boy Eric (Robert Conrad) who is on the path of self-destruction, all to get the attention of his negligent father. Meanwhile Jim is romancing townie Bunny (Stefanie Powers) whose father just happens to be the Sheriff (yikes!). The standout of the movie is Amanda (Zeme North), the plain Jane, tomboy who is just plain boy crazy. She's got her eyes set on Biff, who is both scared and intrigued by this petite little fireball. She finally snags him when she gets a full make-over (of course!).

By definition, this film is a sex comedy. It pitches girls against guys and deals primarily with sex, although there is no actual sex in the story. The differences between how men and women perceive romance and commitment are explored in a light-hearted, screwball comedy kind of way. For more information on sex comedies, I highly suggest reading the excellent three-part series on the history of this subgenre found on the blog A Shroud of Thoughts.

This is by far my favorite of the four films in the Warner Bros. Romance Classics Boxed Set. I wanted to watch it again almost immediately after first viewing. I can understand this kind of film may not be to everyone's taste, but give it a try if you can. It's supposed to be fun and silly! Once you understand that, you can open yourself up to enjoy it.

Music and it's effect on youth culture is at the center of this story. My favorite scene in the film takes place at the record store where Bunny and Jim meet. All the kids break out into dance right in the middle of the store. I wish this could happen in real life. I dream of the day that I walk into a Borders and head to the music section only to see a bunch of teenagers rockin' out to their favorite tunes. I dream of that day!

This film is not a musical, but the music in this film is notable. The title song Live Young is sung by star Troy Donahue over the opening credits. It's a fun, light catchy tune that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Also, The Modern Folk Quartet performs Ox Driver in the scene at "Jack's Casino". Both songs are excellent and worth watching... err... listening for.

5 comments:

  1. Ah Raquelle, you're a persistent lady! Although, you've made be curious now, so I'll have to search this out.

    You're so right about Borders! That would be the most fun to get to dance around the music section. :) It's always so.. kind of.. dead in bookstores now. They're almost like libraries. I always expect people to shush me as I walk in. ;)

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  2. I have got to see this one. I have such a fondness for these rather idiotic sixties movies!

    They are absolutely the most entertaining!

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  3. Casey - We need to infiltrate bookstores across the country and fill them with sound. Are you with me?

    Millie - Idiotic?! Oh no, please don't tell me you just said idiotic. Please. My heart is breaking. These films may seem silly but they served a purpose for there time. Idiotic they are not.

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  4. Thanks for the plug, Raquelle!

    Anyway, I enjoyed this review, having never seen Palm Springs Weekend (even though I have repeatedly seen Where the Boys Are, without really trying).

    One thing I find interesting about movies from this era, particularly ones that were directed at younger folk, is the way that relations between the sexes were perceived. Things have certainly changed!

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  5. I love that there are more people than me in my age that enjoy these teenage movies from the 60's! As you said, they served a purpose and were not meant to be deep. It's just to lay back and enjoy!

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