Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Surftide 77 (1962)

Director: Lee Frost

Starring: Tom Newman, Bob Cresse, Dwayne Winton, Maurice Julian, Howard Dayton, Vic Tayback, Sue Stern

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The WACKIEST 'PRIVATE EYE' in history...eying dozens of the LOVELIEST suspects ever!!!!!!!

Plot: Private eye, Bernard Bingbang (Newman), is hired by old lady Agatha Bungworthy (Cresse) to find her runaway niece Cynthia, heir to the family fortune, before that fortune goes to nasty Uncle Phillip. Bingbang's only clue to the niece's identity: she has a birthmark that looks like a butterfly right above her left nipple. Naturally, "The Case of the Hidden Butterfly Birthmark" means our hero will have to see numerous naked breasts in order to find the missing heiress.

My rating: 8 /10

Will I watch it again? Absofuckinglutely!

I discovered this gem after seeing a movie poster for it at an adult theater Sal Mineo goes to in WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR? (1965). It's on a double bill with HOLLYWOOD'S WORLD OF FLESH (1963). Naturally, I just had to seek these out and see them for myself. My detective skills paid off and I'm a better movie fan for it.

Call me crazy but this movie surprised the hell out of me. I laughed my ass off all the way through. The whole idea for these nudie cuties was to show a truckload of boobs in the course of an hour. You don't need much of a story and you certainly don't need to be terribly creative. The difference with SURFTIDE 77 is that there is a story (done like a silly TV detective show) and it's awfully funny. The hero's name is Bernard Bingbang for crying out loud. I was disappointed that no one ever called him Benny. That would have been even funnier - Benny Bingbang. Say it fast like you're Joe Friday. I'll wait. See? It's funny, right?

Right off the bat it was clear this wasn't going to be like any nudie cutie I had seen. Tom Newman as Bingbang. Goddamn, he's hilarious. His goofy-but-serious delivery is priceless. His client, Agatha Bungworthy, is equally funny. It's obvious that it's a man in drag (Bob Cresse). For a while I was convinced it was Jonathan Winters but that was cleared up after the flick was over and I checked it out.

Bingbang's got a girl that's always at the other end of a telephone and always in some sort of undress. She gives him hot tips on where he should go next. He then goes through an awful lot of trouble to check out broads that might have the tattoo. Naturally, he's going to have to be creative in order to get them topless.

There are LOTS of verbal and sight gags that just had me giggling from start to finish.

There's the tried-and-true gazillion-locks-on-the-door gag which, while overplayed (even by 1962), is so over done but it felt fresh and made me laugh.

In one gut-busting scene, Bingbang is lured to an empty rock quarry where he gets ambushed by a shitload of thugs. This bit right here had me howling...the thug on the end is obviously looking in the wrong direction but the guy next to him keeps turning and whistling to him to look this way and he doesn't budge a bit. Holy shit I was literally in tears after that.

Oh, it gets better. Bingbang is trapped and the gunmen open fire as Bingbang ducks to avoid the bullets.

OMFG this is killing me. They must have had a blast making this thing. It's truly inspiring. There's lots of nudity but the funny thing is that I could've used less of it. I wanted to get back to the comedy. I know, right? Something Weird Video has it available on a DVD-R. It is so worth it. I had a ball and one of the best laughs I'd had in a long time. Thank you, Lee Frost!

Full disclosure...I was drinking and had a good buzz going but I was not drunk. I wouldn't allow it 'cause I didn't want to miss a single minute.

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