How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)

“What Frankie does is his business; I have my own principles, and I have to live with them!”

Synopsis:
Worried that his girlfriend (Annette Funicello) will stray while he’s stationed in the South Pacific, Frankie (Frankie Avalon) consults a witch doctor (Buster Keaton), who sends a spying pelican to watch over Annette’s every move, and a gorgeous redhead (Beverly Adams) in a leopard bikini to distract the other boys. Meanwhile, an advertising executive (Mickey Rooney) who wants Adams to pose for his new bikini spread discovers she’s hopelessly clumsy; the leader of a motorcycle gang (Harvey Lembeck) falls so hard for Adams that he cleans up his image; Annette is pursued by an insistent suitor (Dwayne Hickman) who wants her to ride behind him in a big motorcycle race; and Frankie embodies the male double standard by canoodling with a bodacious Polynesian babe (Irene Tsu).

Genres:

Review:
This innocuous final entry in the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon “beach party” series is notorious for only giving the two leads about a minute of screen time together; due to other commitments, Avalon filmed most of his scenes on a studio set. Meanwhile, Funicello herself was pregnant, and had to wear blousy shirts to hide her belly — thus, she spends nearly the entire film sitting on the sand in full-dress outfits (no bikinis), looking decidedly bored and matronly. The supporting cast — including Mickey Rooney and Buster Keaton (!) — try their best to liven things up, but this film’s wild storyline — and its naughty title — are the campiest things about it. Only recommended for diehard “beach party flick” fans.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The surreal stop-motion opening credits (by Gumby-creator Art Clokey)
    HTSAWB Claymation
  • Buster Keaton’s game turn as “Bwana”, the witch doctor
    HTSAWB Keaton

Must See?
No. It’s listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book, but doesn’t really offer that much camp value.

Links:

One Response to “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)”

  1. See my comments on ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.