Film and Propaganda

Blue Hawaii Movie Poster

This poster showcases one of the poular genresof films to come out around this time. Many films of the post World War II era, pre-Vietnam era tended to be on the lighter side. Most, like Blue Hawaii revolved around a GI returing from war and not wanting to enter stright into maistream society. Thus the happy go lucky surf culture is born. Soliders not ready or not adjusted to everyday life after the war began adopting mnay Polynesian and South Pacific activities. This soon began to play out on the silver screen.

Anette and Frankie

The King and Queen of Surf Films

In the 1960s, a unique genre of movies came into the world: the "beach party movies." The inevitable ingredients included several attractive "teenagers" (and I use the term loosely), surfing, the beach, a few token adults thrown in, a wafer-thin plot line, and, of course, many almost wafer-thin bikinis worn by the female cast members.

The basic premise was fairly simple: a very innocent boy and girl are in love (in a wholesome way) only to encounter some threat from the outside (of the beach) world, either an adult villain or:
a) A handsome young fellow who tries to attract the girl away from the guy
b) A hot-looking young chick who tries to attract the guy away from the girl.

The plot line is played out, a few songs by '60s artists are thrown in, add some slapstick gags, and a nice, simple resolution in which, above all, the guy and the girl realize that nothing can ever come between them. As simplistic and formulaic as it all sounds, the low-budget beach party movies were tremendously popular in the early to mid-1960s. Teenagers all over America flocked to see the surfing, the mildly amusing jokes and gags, and—let's be honest here—the very healthy young people in their extremely well-fitting swim suits. The films were usually filmed in Paradise Cove in Malibu, CA, in the dead of winter to fit their future release schedule dates. The poor actors and actresses had to frolic on the beach in swimsuits, freezing in the cold weather.

Although there were many spin-offs and rip-offs movie makers never miss a chance to cash in on another's successful formula), the "classic" beach party films were the ones made by American-International Studios and usually directed by William Asher, a total of seven films.



The Original Surfer Girl

In 1959, the sport of surfing received a big boost from the film Gidget, a movie about a girl who spends the summer on a beach in Southern California and falls in love with two surfers.

These films also helped to also hyper-sexualize the surf culture. All stars of these films were portryed as suntanned, good looking, skin bearing youth. Carefree and promescuity rann ramped in these films. Much of the atitude portrayed in these films were not shared with wholesome Midwest values. This was another reason the Surf Culture was attarctive even to those surrounded by land.

Film and Propaganda