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"Just remember, she might be pint-sized, but she's quite a woman." The original surfer girl gets her own three-film DVD collection, dippy fun from a more innocent time. 1959'sGidgetmade real surfers nauseated, but it's a kicky movie with some great lounge-era lingo. Sandra Dee, perkiness personified, plays the curious teen who breaks the gender line in surfing. She's also got the attention of surf-happy Moondoggie (James Darren) and the big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), the latter the prototype of the surf bum who roams the globe in search of the endless summer. The film actually kicked off the great boom in surfing popularity (the Beach Boys and theBeach Partymovies followed), much to the chagrin of purists. It was based on a novel by Frederick Kohner, who was inspired by his daughter's experiences.

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) puts Deborah Walley in the title role. She's no Sandra Dee, but at least there are shots of Walley doing her own surfing stunts. The action's in Waikiki, and Gidge is pursued by a confused Moondoggie and a famous dancer. They are played by James Darren and Michael Callan, and having the two 1960s male ingenues in the same movie suggests a weird collision of matter and anti-matter. The spark goes flat in Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), with yet another new actress (Cindy Carol) paired with a loyal James Darren. It's closer to Three Coins in the Fountain than the sandy beaches of Malibu.

DVD caveat: none of the films is in widescreen. The sequels don't suffer much, but the original Gidget was shot in CinemaScope, and the pan-and-scan approach hurts the summery look of the picture--even if it's just Sandra Dee balancing in front of blue-screen waves. --Robert Horton

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Tv Shows, Television, Classics, Musicals & Performing Arts

Details

Genre:  Classics, Musicals & Performing Arts, Television
Studio:  Sony Pictures
CastArthur O'Connell, Cliff Robertson, Sandra Dee, James Darren, Bruce Belland
DVD Release Date:  August 3, 2004
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review by . December 27, 2007
Sandra Dee, Deborah Walley and Cindy Carol light up the screen as GIDGET in this box set of all three popular movies. While the first movie (with Sandra Dee) is definitely the best, there's a lot to enjoy in the sequels. James Darren is the only mainstay in all three movies, as Gidget's croonin' and swoonin' boyfriend Moondoggie.    GIDGET (1959). Poor flat-chested bookworm Frances Lawrence (Sandra Dee) has the summer of her life when she joins a gang of surf-bums on Malibu Beach, …
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