The second film in the Beach Party series returns Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello to the land of endless summer and back-projection surfing. It's as giddy as the first movie. Two inane subplots are added: Frankie is ... more »wooed by a wealthy bombshell (knockout Luciana Paluzzi), and Don Rickles trains a team of bodybuilders. The usual Beach Party trademarks are in place, including real surfing footage (much improved from the first film), Candy Johnson's shimmy dancing, and Annette's modified bikini with mesh-covered cleavage. Music is provided by Dick Dale and a rockin' Little Stevie Wonder, with most of the songs penned by a triumvirate of surf-music royalty: Brian Wilson, Roger Christian, and Gary Usher. As Frankie says, "Now you swing with me on that, or you don't swing at all." We swing. Ski Party transfers the Beach Party vibe to snow, with a Some Like it Hot ripoff thrown in. Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman go in drag to discover what girls really want, but Deborah Walley and Yvonne Craig put them in the deep freeze. It's surprisingly fun, with deranged musical appearances by James Brown and Lesley Gore. The outdoor stuff was filmed at Sun Valley. Annette Funicello cameos as a sex-ed instructor. --Robert Horton« less
"I was shocked to find out Ski Party would be released on DVD. It wasn't even released on video, for crying out loud. But here it is. Fun in the sun turns to the slopes with great songs, funny moments, and witty dialogue mixed in with childish nonsense that you can expect from all beach movies. The Rats aren't in this movie, and "Freddy" (who was Bobby in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini) is the best and sharpest beach movie bad guy out of all of em. Robert Q. Lewis, the old timey game show host, plays a fun supporting role in the picture.
You get to see Deborah Walley looking pretty hot (much better looking than she was in Elvis' Spinout), Yvonne Craig and that drop dead gorgeous body (she has no rythm whatsoever), and James Brown dancing to "I Feel Good". That dude can move!
Leslie Gore gets one scene in this movie, singing "Sunshine, Lolipops and Rainbows".
Again, musically this might be the best movie of the bunch (I think it narrowly beats out Beach Blanket Bingo). This movie also has the best flow of any of the beach movies...there are no real parts in the movie that are so embarrassing that you need to fast forward, unlike many of the other beach movies.Pajama Party is the second best, and Beach Blanket Bingo is third. Ski Party is definitely the best beach movie AI made, and definitely needs to be in your collection. Lots of fun.Muscle Beach Party is a bonus. Buy the DVD for Ski Party."
Mike King | Taunton, MA United States | 07/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Side A of the DVD contains "Muscle Beach Party." Frankie, Dee Dee (Annette Funicello) and the gang uneasily share the beach with a group of musclemen and their trainer, Jack Fanny (Don Rickles). The muscle men are the natural enemies of the surfers, taking the place of Eric Von Zipper and the Rat Pack, who are sorely missed in this movie. The recently deceased Buddy Hackett is especially funny as the guardian of the rich Italian countess, played by the beautiful Lucianna Paluzzi. At first, the countess only has eyes for Flex Martian, played by Rock Stevens (actually, it's Peter Lupus of Mission Impossible fame). After she meets Frankie and hears him sing, she falls head over heels in love with him. Recording him live at Cappy's nightclub, backed by Dick Dale and the Del Tones, she's determined to release the record and make him an international singing star. The countess almost persuades Frankie to board her yacht and sail around the world with her, when Frankie realizes that Dee Dee is his one true love. Flex and the muscle men follow them to the nightclub and, in order to win over the countess, they duke it out with the surfers. Jack Fanny eggs on the fight, while Cappy (Morey Amsterdam) watches his nightclub get wrecked. Flex's father, played by the great Peter Lorre, comes in and breaks up the fight. The countess says good-bye and sails the seas in search of true love, while Frankie and Dee Dee go on to make more beach movies. Little Stevie Wonder makes his movie debut, performing a song at the nightclub and singing a song during the closing credits.
Side B of the DVD contains "Ski Party," marking the official release of this movie. In this film, Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman play the world's oldest college students, with Annette Funicello making a brief cameo at the beginning as a college professor. Frankie and Dwayne aren't getting anywhere with Deborah Walley and Yvonne Craig, so they decide to join them on a skiing vacation. Finding the men's German ski instructor too tough, they do what any red blooded, all American boy would do. They dress up as women and go to the beautiful women's Swedish instructor to learn how to ski! Robert Q. Lewis plays the inept innkeeper, and Aaron Kincaid is the playboy all the girls are after. The musical numbers in this movie are outstanding, especially "Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows" by Lesley Gore and "I Feel Good" by James Brown. A comic highlight is Frankie's ski jump, which has to be seen to be believed! Just for good measure, the action follows the gang back to the beach in time for a swinging number by the Hondells and the obligatory happy ending. Even though the only special features are the theatrical trailers, you really get your money's worth with this double feature DVD. Both movies reflect a more innocent time in America, and their comic appeal is timeless. In addition, the colors are sharp and bright, and the sound quality is superb."
MGM Midnite Movies is the perfect forum for fun
jon sieruga | Redlands, CA USA | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Doubling-up the B-movie madness on a flip-disc, the Midnite Movies format gets applause for combining two otherwise slight pictures together for one terrific package(I never would have bought "Ski Party" all by itself, so it's a chance for people to see movies they wouldn't normally bother with). Of course, Frankie-and-Annette fans are the main target here and both stars are terrific. "Muscle Beach Party" features dozens of musclebound guys in tight hot-pink trunks(lordy, those bathing briefs were BRIEF & TIGHT back then!)and some of the teen-angst between the leads is surprisingly undated and truthful. "Ski Party" has the brains of a snowball, but it does feature some good music acts and Annette as a sex-ed teacher, which is worth a viewing all by itself! More, Midnite Movies!"
Not without a RING, you don't!
Bobb Robinson | Jacksonville, FL, USA | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's begin with some ground rules: Annette Funicello, America's Sweetheart, is beloved by all, but especially me. Lest anyone construe any remark made by me as "criticism", and then decide to chime in with their own digs at Ms. Funicello, rest assured this will result in being punched in the face, by me. So, on we go.
"Muscle Beach Party" is the second installment in the wildly popular "Beach" series of movies of the 1960's, each one made for about five dollars by director William "Bud" Asher, creator of such fine television shows as "Return to Green Acres" and "I Dream of Jeanie: 15 Years Later". As in the first film, "Beach Party", Frankie Avalon is "Frankie" and Annette Funicello is "Dee Dee", young lovers who enjoy nothing as much as a good surf weekend.
The movie opens with Frankie and Dee Dee leading a caravan of jalopies piled high with middle-aged Hollywood extras playing teenagers on their way to the ocean for some sun, sand and surfing. No sooner do they arrive than Dee Dee starts harping on Frankie for not having any ambition in life other than surfing. At the beginning of their SURFING VACATION.
In the first shocking twist, the boys and girls are all sleeping together in the SAME HOUSE. Luckily, sensible Dee Dee is armed with a clothesline and an antique quilt, to block off the "girls area" (which is tastefully provided with frilly curtains and soft lighting) from the "boys area" (which looks like a sub-saharan mud shack). A couple of the "faster" girls bristle at Dee Dee's prudishness and try to sneak over to the boys' side, only to find that ALL the boys have already fallen asleep! Ha ha, aren't boys stupid?
Next day, all the kids head out to stand on their surfboards while someone sprays water on them and a movie of the ocean plays in the background. Their fun is disrupted by the arrival of "Jack Fanny" (artfully played by Don Rickles) and his "Muscle Boys", who are all wearing pink square-cut swim trunks with matching capes. Pink. Capes. Fanny. What this movie could use is some more sub-text.
Also, there's an Italian heiress on a boat offshore, who has something to do with Buddy Hackett. I'm not sure exactly what, I nodded off for awhile. The heiress flies a helicopter over to the beach and picks up the head muscle man, "Flex Martian" (Peter Lupus of "Mission: Impossible" fame, who would later doff his pink trunks for Playgirl ) and takes him back to the boat, causing no end of worry for Mr. Fanny.
(Attention smart-alecks: I KNOW a vessel at sea is called a "ship", and a "boat" is a vessel in inland waters. Lay off.)
Frankie, still miffed at Dee Dee, heads off for a late-night surf with a LIT TORCH IN HIS HAND (I'm still not quite sure what that was supposed to accomplish - to scare off sharks? - or the logistics of riding a surfboard while holding a flaming piece of driftwood. ) While he's gone, Dee Dee takes the opportunity to sing a plaintive teen ballad. Now, I'm the first to tell you that Annette never had the strongest singing voice, but honestly, it sounds like she was standing in another room with a tin can clamped over her mouth when they recorded this one. Help a girl out, sound engineers!
Frankie returns to shore to enjoy a smoke, just in time to meet the Italian heiress, who hears him singing, forgets all about the captive muscle man she has holed away on her yacht, and decides to fall in love with Frankie. Oh, and arrange a recording contract for him. Now, Frankie Avalon is reasonably attractive, I GUESS, but I've seen Peter Lupus' Playgirl spread, and take it from me, she's a FOOL!
Anyway, action shifts back and forth between a teen hangout run by Morey Amsterdam, where Dee Dee and Frankie's respective posses engage in a sort of proto-"serving" of each other, and Jack Fanny's Home for Wayward Boys, where the muscle men are now wearing tank tops with their names - Rock, Biff, Tug, Sulk, Riff, Mash, and Clod - emblazoned with rhinestones on their chests. I might also mention that there are two muscle GIRLS, "Lisa" and "Flo", who are treated with contempt throughout the film.
Of course, everything works out okay in the end, with Frankie giving up fame and sex with a foreigner, for the promise of someday getting it on with Dee Dee, who has the biggest breasts on the beach, but isn't about to give it without a ring on her finger. `Atta girl!
The cast is filled out by a bevy of beach party regulars, including John Ashley as "Johnny", who is always much more respectful of Dee Dee that bad boy Frankie; Jody McCrea as "Deadhead", so named not because he is a tripped-out Grateful Dead groupie, but rather an abject moron; Valora Noland as "Animal" - one can only wonder where THAT nickname came from; and Candy Johnson as "Candy", who looks about 60 years old, has the beer gut and stick legs of a boozehound, wears a pants-suit made of what looks like red cheerleading pom-poms, and STILL manages to drive the kids into paroxysms of ecstasy when she does the frug on the beach.
The real thrill of any beach movie is seeing what big stars are down on their luck enough to take the job. Besides the aforementioned Rickles, Hackett, and Amsterdam, we are "treated" to the dulcet tones of the ever-present Dick Dale and the Dell Tones. You may think that all beach music of the sixties is happy and perky, a la the Beach Boys. If you do, you've never heard Dick Dale. His voice sounds like he's just spent the weekend smoking clove cigarettes and drinking absinthe, and he looks like somebody's "cool dad" who decided to spend the weekend with "the gang".
A young pre-"Grizzly Adams" Dan Haggerty is one of the Muscle Men, "Riff". Despite being shaved and oiled, one can see the beginnings of the beefy good looks that would make him King of the Wilderness.
Peter Lorre plays some sort of ex-muscle man who creeps around and spies on people. Apparently he died four days after this movie premiered. From shame, one would guess.
Last but not least, this movie introduces us for the first time to "Little Stevie Wonder", who serves the dual role of being the only black person AND the only person with a physical disability on the beach. Little Stevie, backed by the Dell Tones, sings a joyous Gospel-influenced number that the white children go crazy for - at least, they go crazy for it during instrumental breaks. While Stevie is actually SINGING, they return and sit politely in their seats, patting their knees in time to the music. Just like Talent Round Up Day on the Mickey Mouse Club!
Now, take the above review, substitute "Annette Funicello" with "Dwayne Hickman", "Little Stevie Wonder" with "James Brown", "beach" with "ski lodge", "Italian heiress" with "Yvonne Craig", and "Jack Fanny" with "Frankie and Dwayne dressing in drag", and you've got the gist. Annette has a cameo as a sex-ed teacher (!), but otherwise the reason to own this disk is for the beach-party side."
Buy this dvd for Ski Party...
Reader | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this double-sided dvd just to get Ski Party. Until this dvd was released, Ski Party was not available on home video. For years, I had a vague memory of seeing a movie as a kid (on my parents' black and white tv set) that included a scene with a bunch of college students on a bus singing a song. I tried to hunt down the movie and eventually learned it was Ski Party. I then learned it wasn't available on home video...until now! So I bought this dvd basically to get Leslie Gore singing "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows". But to my delight, I discovered that Ski Party contains two other outstanding musical numbers:
a) I Feel Good - James Brown b) The Gasser - The Hondells
Every so often I pop the dvd into my player and just watch the above three songs. But the dvd would have been worth it just for the Leslie Gore number alone."