“Are you bad, Johnny? Have you been bad with girls?”
A self-made millionaire (Richard Egan) travels with his wife (Constance Ford) and daughter (Sandra Dee) to a summer resort run by Egan’s former flame (Dorothy McGuire), her alcoholic husband (Arthur Kennedy), and their son (Troy Donahue). Soon Egan and McGuire have rekindled their romance, and Dee and Donahue have fallen for one another — but will Ford’s prudish sensibilities and sinister plans to milk her husband for alimony ruin everyone’s chance for happiness?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Arthur Kennedy Films
- Beulah Bondi Films
- Class Relations
- Cross-Class Romance
- Delmer Daves Films
- Dorothy McGuire Films
- First Love
- Sandra Dee Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that this “first-rate trash about ‘we’ve gotta-be-good‘ young lovers… trying to find a refuge from their mixed up parents” is “lots of fun: it’s corny, there’s a lot of emphasis on sex, there’s hysteria.” He writes that “Dee and Donahue are a movie match made in camp heaven:
and Ford is deliciously diabolical.”
Indeed, there is so much overwrought melodrama and laughable dialogue in this soaper it’s hard to know where to begin in a critique. For instance, abusive Ford subjects Dee to a full physical examination after she’s been shipwrecked for a night with Donahue, despite Dee crying out in agony:
“I haven’t done anything wrong. I’ve been a good girl. I haven’t done anything wrong. Please, I want my father. No! No! No! I’ve been a good girl! No! No!”
Eventually, of course, Donahue and Dee’s love for one another transcends their parents’ fruitless attempts to keep them apart and they land in the Ultimate Trouble. Meanwhile, Kennedy’s alcoholism continues to worsen:
while McGuire and Egan live out their newly validated romance in a Frank Lloyd Wright house by the shore.
How will everything work out for the young lovers? You’ll have to watch to see — but be forewarned that Max Steiner’s recognizable score will remain stuck in your head indefinitely.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine Technicolor cinematography and location shooting
Yes, once, simply for its notoriety.