Movies-- "Gidget": I LOVE watching films of the 1950's which say so much. Well, they say so much about the 1950's. What a ridiculous bunch of substantively nothing some of these films were. The plots are so thin as are the women. I think when one looks at these films ... really looks at them ... one can see why there had to be a feminist movement. All the cliches apply. The women surely do not seem to have a brain in their head.
In this film Gidget's friends simply do not know what on earth will happen to poor Gidget if she doesn't have a successful summer which means getting a steady boyfriend. She cannot even return to school if that doesn't happen. Gidget, well, she just ruminates and hand wrings wondering why oh why she just does not have the right stuff. Maybe there is something "wrong" with her that she simply does not care about men. She's such a cutsey tomboy. Uh oh..Nope, not to worry, gay is not an issue. Gay is an impossibility in that era and not even eluded to even though one of her friends seems ever so lesbian to me. Worry not though, her friend who helps her dress for the loowow and listens while Gidget worries about men but says nothing, is pinned, to a guy of course. Gidget's mother reassuringly stands by and tells her everything is AOK and she will know that man when she meets him. Whew, I was SO worried.
We know, all's well that ends well and Gidget does finally get a man (Moon Doggy)in the hunky form of James Daren and, of course, remains virginal to boot. She realizes there is nothing "wrong" with her at all. She simply did not meet the "right" one. Thank God. She's saved OR thank God she saved IT! How could this ever-so bleached blond with an 18 inch waist, those platinum looks and pancake makeup whiter than white skin not meet anyone? One could never mistake her for a black woman that's for sure. Of course, in the 50's there were no blacks right? Did anyone of that era really have Gidget's hair and skin that color? If one cared to notice Gidget's eyebrows were brown! No one notices as blond, whiter than white skin, and an 18 inch waist, especially for women, are what America in the 50's wanted everyone to be.
What was her character all about? If one expects her to discuss War and Peace, Dickens, Steinbeck or even Louisa May Alcott forget it. How about she discusses James Baldwin, Alan Ginsberg or Lenny Bruce? No way. Will she talk about Jim Crow laws in the south, the Brown v. Board of Eduction Supreme Court decision or American foreign policy post WWII? I don't think so. Gidget is about worrying though. It is worrying about learning how to surf, attending loowows in the right clothes, hunky guys and Gidget's lack of attraction to men err lack of attraction to the RIGHT man. After all, this is serious stuff.
Perhaps, the film is about innocence. Innocence, though, without some reality is simply trash. That is what the Gidget films are. They are pure and simply ridiculous trash. Sandra Dee had talent however as evidenced by movies such as "Imitation of Life" and "A Summer Place." It's too bad her talent was wasted on the Gidget genre of film. Obviously, those films made money and THAT was what the Gidget films were all about. They made money because America wanted women to be like Sandra Dee. If you weren't like that then too bad--life is tough.
Oh well, I will admit watching those films is like taking a drink. It's utter escape into a life of pure fantasy and into the innocent life of a 1950's that really never was all that innocent. No, Gidget is surely not reality. For a moment, though, when I watch it, I can pretend, indeed, it is.