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The Beatniks
The Beatniks
Actors: Eddie Brandt, Peter Breck, Charles Delaney, Sam Edwards, Stanley Farrar
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 18min


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Movie Details

Actors: Eddie Brandt, Peter Breck, Charles Delaney, Sam Edwards, Stanley Farrar
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 01/27/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 18min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"I killed that fat barkeep!!!"
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 03/08/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I've got a problem with you, THE BEATNIKS. You go around calling yourself THE BEATNIKS and yet you seem to have a fairly large omission. It's a pretty big problem given what you've titled yourself. Simply put, you do not have a single beatnik within you.

I'm not kidding, either. There are no beatniks anywhere to be seen. I don't mean that the portrayal of beatniks is slightly unflattering or inaccurate. I mean that whoever gave this movie its title obviously had no idea what a beatnik is. There is no one in any way resembling a beatnik. No bongos. No berets. No silly facial hair. The last time audiences were so lied to by a film's title was the movie ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS in which Abbott and Costello do not go to Mars.

The story involves young Eddy Crane who is not a beatnik. He has a great voice, but he hangs out with a dangerous gang, none of who are beatniks. Through a chance encounter at a diner with a talent agent (not a beatnik), he is poised to become the next big thing in the music world. Eddy also finds himself torn between two women, neither of which is a beatnik. Iris is his girlfriend, and part of the bad crowd. Helen is the assistant to his new agent and represents a possible new life for himself. (The only members of the cast who aren't hopped up on goofballs are the ones who seem to have OD'ed on Nyquil.)

In stereotypical form, his old friends seem destined to ruin his big chance and to forever keep him from reaching his potential. You see, they simply can't help getting Eddy mixed up with all manner of criminal activity. No matter how good Eddy's voice, he simply cannot escape his past and his place in society. (The apparent moral of the story would seem to lie in complete contrast to actual beatnik philosophy. Not only is Eddy's quest for fame and fortunate portrayed as a positive goal, the movie itself suggests that there's no getting beyond one's designated station.)

This is a very simple and dumb movie. It takes 78 minutes to get through the absurdly shallow plot summary given above, and even that relatively short amount of time is a struggle for this movie to fill.

I wasn't prepared for the amount of singing that appeared in this film. There are three songs within the movie's opening twenty minutes. You'll need to prepare yourself not only for the sheer number of songs, but also their bizarre and banal content. There's a song with a chorus of: "Sideburns don't need your sympathy." I assumed I was mishearing it, but after multiple listens, I really think that's what he's singing.

Besides the inaccurate film title, there's a fair amount of fictional false advertising in this movie. In one scene the "beatniks" arrive at Charlie's. Charlie's is a diner with two large signs outside. One says, "Cafe"; the other says, "Beer". Once the gang get inside, they are told that there is no food. And alcohol is not being served. And the only worker is not named Charlie, but Gus.

Given the obvious drawbacks, is there any reason to spend over an hour watching this? It depends on how much enjoyment you get from pure cheese. (Also, if you get off spotting visible boom mikes, then you'll be in heaven.) In a movie like this, the only parts that are enjoyable are the parts that are just ludicrously over the top. Personally, I found those moments to be few and far between; there is too much boring filler between the moments of utter silliness. But, that said, when the movie is unintentionally funny, it is shockingly unintentionally funny.

Take, for example, the scene where a weedy hotel manager is nervously complaining to the "beatniks" about the hotel room they've trashed. The goofiest member of the gang takes care of business.

Does he pull a gun on the hapless employee?


Does he roll up his sleeves and threaten the smaller gentlemen with a physical thrashing?


Does he respond with some stunningly insulting and cutting remark?


Does he point his finger at the man's neck and loudly growl, "I'm gonna MOON you!"?

Yes. Yes he does.

The picture and sound quality on the Digiview Productions version of this release are adequate. But given that I didn't like the movie, I didn't care much about whether I was seeing it in its full digital glory. In retrospect, I wish the sound quality had been a little worse. At least during some of the musical numbers.

Whoever gave this movie its moniker really should have called it something like THE HOODLUMS or THE HOODS or THE COMPLETELY UNIMAGINATIVE MOVIE FULL OF PLOT POINTS AND CLICHÉS YOU'VE ALREADY SEEN BEFORE. If you want to get some fun out of this movie, I recommend watching it with someone who has seen it before and can tell you where the silly parts are. Just make sure you fast forward through everything else.

(I didn't realize before I bought the DVD, but this movie has been featured in an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000". Now all the jokes I cracked while suffering through this are going to seem a lot less funny when I finally see that episode.)"
Eddie Crane- Superstar...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 05/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Eddie Crane (Tony Travis) and his gang of punks are perfectly happy, robbing mom & pop stores and drinking their "gaswater" (aka: booze). One day, a man over-hears Eddie singing along to a record, and decides he just might be the next Fabian (much like Don Sullivan in THE GIANT GILA MONSTER). Well, things seem great for a while, as Eddie is whisked away to meet some big shots, gets a chance to croon on TV, and hooks up with his new agent's secretary, Helen (Joyce Terry), much to the dismay of Eddie's girlfriend, Iris (Karen Kadler). Meanwhile, Eddie's pal Mooney (Peter "The Crawling Hand" Breck) goes increasingly looney, in what may be the greatest single example of over-acting in cinema history! Still, he's a hoot to watch, and his dialogue is priceless! Mooney kills a bartender for no real reason (he's crazy doncha know?) and almost derails Eddie's shot at the big time. Will Eddie be able to ditch his "circle of fiends" in order to make it in the music biz? Will he find true love? Will someone please explain the title of this flick, since there's nary a sandle nor bongo drum in the whole thing?? Should've been called, "Hoodlums" or "Punks" or "How To Go From Being A Crook To Superstardom Without Really Trying!" I love these 50s delinquent movies! Crazy man, crazy! ..."
If it's light entertainment you're looking for....
Ronald Reagan III | 06/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Being an die-hard exploitation movie fan, I have to admit there are very few jd movies I've seen. Although, it is easy to become familiar with the sub-genre after watching just one (take a look at the excellent Brit-flick, BEAT GIRL). I reccomend this film to anyone who wants to enjoy some light, trashy, late-night viewing involving a bunch of teeny-boppers. Tony, a juvinile delinquent and his pals rob a milk-bar. Later on, Tony is discovered by a TV producer and gets a big-time job singing on a popular TV show. His friends get jealous as you'd expect. One of them, Moody (Peter Breck, who later starred in Sam Fuller's SHOCK CORRIDOOR), in the meantime kills the owner of a bar later and gives Tony the blame. Breck, by the way, gives one of the best performances I've ever seen in an exploitation movie; he even provides a lot of intentional humour which keeps this potboiler moving."
Historically Hysterical
Janet E. Newcomb | \Palm Desert, CA USA | 03/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The name is silly because the characters aren't beatniks, they're hoodlums, but it's a great B-movie from the late 50's. Star Tony Travis was a big RCA recording star in those days and he gives an excellent performance."