‘Gidget’ (Paul Wendkos, 1959)
Surfers hated ‘Gidget‘ when it came out – it was the serpent that Hollywood tossed into its beachfront Garden of Eden, and its subsequent popularity invited 10 million San Fernando Valley amateurs into the lineup at Malibu, ruining the whole damn thing forever. But truth be told, the sport was blowing up well before the film went into production. Still, purists needed something to blame, and ‘Gidget’ took the fall. Most of America met surfing through this movie, and while there’s no getting around the cornier bits of dialogue – or Moondoggy’s silly, low-fi, back-projected “surf action” close-ups – 50-something years on, ‘Gidget’ has proven itself to be a sweet, fun, totally watchable coming-of-age movie.
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