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The Complete Gidget Collection

Classics, Musicals & Performing Arts, and Television TV show

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great movies (too bad about the DVDs)

  • Dec 27, 2007
  • by
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, led by Kahuna (Cliff Robertson). Quickly earning the nickname Gidget (a mixture of girl and midget) she learns to surf and later gets "pinned" by handsome Moondoggie (James Darren). Gidget's folks are played by Arthur O'Connell and Mary LaRoche.

GIDGET GOES HAWAIIAN (1961). Gidget has transformed into a snub-nosed redhead (as played by Deborah Walley), yet Moondoggie and her parents hardly notice the difference! This all-singing all-dancing sequel, filmed on location in Hawaii, features some lively musical numbers with Walley and Michael Callan; and a raven-haired "ice princess" for Gidget to battle with, played by Vicki Trickett. Carl Reiner and Jeff Donnell step in to play Gidget's parents.

GIDGET GOES TO ROME (1963). Another new "look" for Gidget (this time played by petite blonde Cindy Carol). Gidget, Moondoggie and their friends traverse the sights of Europe with lots of romantic and comical misadventures. Don Porter, who plays Gidget's father in this sequel, would later reprise the role for the 1965 sitcom starring Sally Field. GIDGET GOES TO ROME also features 1960s cuties Noreen Corcoran, Trudi Ames and Danielle De Metz (not to mention Italian glamazon Lisa Gastoni).

Once again, Sony gives fans and collectors a raw deal with their treatment of the GIDGET movies. Presented in fullscreen, the movies are riddled with print damage and other visual flaws (the first "Gidget" has ghastly blue stripes running through most of the second and third reels). It would be safe to assume Sony has recycled the masters used for their old VHS releases. At least the price is reasonable.

The 2-DVD set features GIDGET on it's own disc; GIDGET GOES HAWAIIAN and GIDGET GOES TO ROME are on a double-sided "flipper" disc. There are no extras except for trailers of other Sony releases.

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Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #146
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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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 ...

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Tv Shows, Television, Classics, Musicals & Performing Arts


Genre: Classics, Musicals & Performing Arts, Television
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2004

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