Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diciottenni al sole (1962)

A colorful Italian variant of the Frankie & Annette-Gidget "beach party" formula that was extremely popular in America during the sixties. Catherine Spaak plays Nicole Molino, a teenager who heads to a beach resort where she is mistakenly assigned the same hotel room as a teenage boy of no relation, Nicola Molino. Uh oh! We see that plot play itself out as we also cut back and forth between a few of Nicole and Nicola's friends getting into trouble and dating. Looking as wonderful as ever, Spaak has some very charming scenes in this and we also get a lengthy dance sequence where she does the twist.

There were a lot of Italian "beach party" comedies founded on the Hollywood formula made in the sixties but this seems to have been among the most popular and financially successful. The soundtrack, featuring original songs produced and arranged by the great Ennio Morricone, was also very popular.

"Diciottenni al sole" was released two years later in America as "Eighteen in the Sun," where I imagine it performing very well in the drive-in circuit. Mysteriously, it's also known in America as "Beach Party - Italian Style," and I'm guessing this alternate title comes from a second theatrical release under a different distributor.

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