Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Rent-a-Vacation

July 04, 1993|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Though it's summertime, not everyone gets to take a vacation. Sure, most kids are enjoying a break from school. But what about the millions of Americans toiling away at their jobs, dreaming of a lazy day on the beach or a weekend in the country? If you're among 'em, not to fear: You still can vicariously enjoy the fun by watching a movie about the good old summertime--and not worry about sunscreen.

If you want a summer at the beach, there's Frankie and Annette and Gidget riding the wild surf. If you desire a European vacation, how about visiting Venice with Katharine Hepburn in "Summertime?" Or if you seek far more serious fare, there's Frank Perry's stark "Last Summer."

Below are some summer flicks for all tastes and age groups that should be available at your local video store.

James Stewart can make even the most lightweight material sparkle, and the actor does just that with the 1962 comedy Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (CBS/Fox Video). Stewart plays a weary banker who takes his family to a beach house. Of course, there's no plumbing, the neighbors are bizarre and Fabian has his sights set on Stewart's daughter.

French actor-director Jacques Tati introduced the beloved misfit Hulot in the delightful 1949 comedy Mr. Hulot's Holiday (Nelson Entertainment). In this comedy--a throwback to the silent era--the clumsy Hulot goes on an excursion to a French seaside resort.

When Last Summer (CBS/Fox Video) was released in the summer of '69, it was slapped with an X-rating for language, nudity and a rape sequence. Though now rated R, Frank and Eleanor Perry's adaptation of Evan Hunter's novel is not for the faint of heart. Then-newcomers Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, Bruce Davison and Cathy Burns give wonderful performances in the disturbing drama chronicling the lives of four teen-agers at a summer beach resort.

One of the big summer hits of 1983 was the funny and oft-tasteless comedy National Lampoon's Vacation (Warner Home Video). Chevy Chase is at his clumsy best as the ultimate nerd, Clark Griswald, who takes his family cross-country to visit Wally World, a California amusement park. Fasten your seat belts, because the Griswalds are in for one bumpy ride.

Sandra Dee makes a splash as the cute little surf bunny Gidget (RCA/Columbia) in the entertaining 1959 comedy. Gidget, a.k.a. Girl Midget, makes the scene on the California beach and falls for two surfers, Moondoggie (James Darren) and the Big Kahoona (Cliff Robertson). Two years later, Deborah Walley took over as Gidget for the 1961 hit Gidget Goes Hawaiian (RCA/Columbia). In 1963's Gidget Goes to Rome (RCA/Columbia), Cindy Carol's Gidget falls for an older Italian (Cesare Danove) on her summer vacation.

Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello teamed up for the first time in the 1963 sun, fun and surf epic Beach Party (Warner Home Video). In this outing, an anthropologist (Robert Cummings) goes to the beach to study the "wild" behavior of teen-agers. The best of the "Beach Party" flicks is 1965's Beach Blanket Bingo (HBO Video and Video Treasures). The fifth installment in the "Beach Party" flicks finds a myriad of plot lines involving parachuting, a kidnaped singing idol and a mermaid. Linda Evans and Buster Keaton also star.

Annette and Frankie reunited after two decades for the silly 1987 musical comedy Back to the Beach (Paramount), which finds them as parents of teen-agers who return with their family to their favorite California beach.

The 1959 melodrama A Summer Place (Warner Home Video) is a great wallow--a deliciously juicy story about love and lust in a New England inn. Troy Donohue, Sandra Dee, Dorothy McGuire, Richard Egan, Arthur Kennedy and Constance Ford star. Max Steiner penned the haunting score.

Katharine Hepburn gives one of her best performances--she received an Oscar nomination--as a spinster teacher who finds love while on vacation in Venice in David Lean's literate 1955 film Summertime, based on Arthur Laurents' hit play "The Time of the Cuckoo." Rosanno Brazzi plays the handsome Italian who woos Hepburn. Alessandro Cicognini penned the score.

And don't forget Bruce Brown's acclaimed 1966 surfing documentary Endless Summer (Pacific Arts Video).

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|