Not to be outdone by “Tammy” (and her faithful goat), “Gidget” is also back in a sequel — a broad but bouncy one — with some pretty Hawaiian scenery for armchair travelers. Replacing Sandra Dee, as the briskly virtuous teen-ager who magnetizes beach boys, is a newcomer named Deborah Walley. HOWARD THOMPSON August 10, 1961, The New York Times review.
Screen: Strange Mates:Sequel to ‘Gidget’ and ‘Historical’ Film Open
Published: August 10, 1961
IT IS HARD to imagine two more contrasting films on one bill than “Gidget Goes Hawaiian,” the mild winner, and “The Warrior Empress,” which bites the dust in about five minutes. Both Columbia releases, in color, opened yesterday on the circuits.
Let’s dispense with the latter immediately, and theatre patrons would do well to arrange their time schedules accordingly. Here is another one of those lumbering, absurd and dull “historical” splashers, photographed in Italy, with American leads—in this case Tina Louise and Kerwin Mathews. (Apparently these two are actually mouthing English—and what English! The voices of the supporting, foreign players seem to be dabbed.)
In the role of Sappho, no less, Miss Louise displays a truly poetical chassis and a pitiful flair for acting. Mr. Mathews, an earnest performer, just isn’t the warrior type. Along the way, lions pick off the cast—why, we’ll never know.
Not to be outdone by “Tammy” (and her faithful goat), “Gidget” is also back in a sequel—a broad but bouncy one—with some pretty Hawaiian scenery for armchair travelers. Replacing Sandra Dee, as the briskly virtuous teen-ager who, magnetizes beach boys, is a newcomer named Deborah Walley. Frankly, we’ll take Miss Dee’s direct sweetness to Miss Walley’s squealing, calliope innocence any day.
The plot? This time (from the pen of Ruth Brooks Flippen) the vacationing heroine is maligned by a jealous rival, Vicki Trickett. Fortunately, amid layers of jazzy, tean-age lingo, the ensuing gossip also involves a quartet of extremely likable parents. And the four adults—Carl Reiner, Jeff Donnell, Peggy Cass and that grand trouper, Eddie Foy Jr.—give the picture a reasonably amusing backbone and some tart relief from all the aggressive Waikiki Beach antics of the youngsters.
James Darren is the steady lad who lands Gidget (as before, if we recall) and Michael Callan (an excellent dancer, in one specialty sequence) plays a worldlier suitor with easy blandness. If the mixture seems tastier this go-round, under Paul Wendkos’ direction, Gidget and her “crowd” can thank four disarmingly real “old folks.”