Where the Boys Are (1960)
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as Merritt Andrews
as Ryder Smith
as Melanie Tolman
as Tuggle Carpenter
as TV Thompson
as Police Captain
as Stout Man
as Maitre D'
as Guy in Blue Sweatshi...
as Motel Operator
as Counter Man
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Critic Reviews for Where the Boys Are
Naive, unintentionally campy comedy about four girls, who set to Florida during spring break for some fun; Connie Francis' title song became a huge hit.
A guilty pleasure if ever there was one.
Audience Reviews for Where the Boys Are
A pretty good teen movie with a predictable story of a crazy spring break and a group of teens looking for love. It's fun and has some really funny scenes, but it could have been better.
This was a complete wild hair watch because I noticed that the always lovely Paula Prentiss was in the cast, as well as her frequent foil Jim Hutton, so I figured I'd give it a shot since they are a lot of fun together.
The idea that people went on Spring Break to try and 'fall in love' seems silly to me, just because nowadays Spring Break is all about wet t-shirts, bad decisions and drinking yourself blind, but maybe that's what people used to do back in the day.
At any rate, the film is charming and I dug the leads, even if things get a bit dark towards the end because of one of the girls' bad choices.
Worth a rental.
Where the Boys Are is a bad movie, but it's one of the more interesting bad movies in Hollywood history. For one thing, it created an entire film genre. It's the first teen beach movie, and if this movie is silly and artificial, it's feels like Dostoevsky compared to the moronic beach movies that would follow.
It features Paula Prentiss, a terrific comedienne who could always make a project better for her presence. It also features Frank Gorshin, a hack comic who could always make a project worse for his presence (with the exception of the TV show Batman. With his over-the-top performance and his unsettling maniacal laugh, his Riddler may have been the best of the arch-villains on that show).
But the most interesting thing about it is the performance of Dolores Hart, whose thoughtful intelligence radiates her every moment on screen. Hart also achieved a bit of a retroactive mystique because she left show business a couple years later to join a convent, where she lives to this day. She is one of those actresses like Frances Farmer and Julie Newmar (who famously played another terrific Batman arch-villain), for whom one might wonder what they might have produced in a movie industry that had better respect for a woman's intelligence.
As with most movies of the day that purported to address important progressive issues earnestly, this is a hugely dishonest movie. Hart's character, Merritt Andrews, is a young woman who causes a minor uproar in one of her classes by taking a progressive stand on premarital sex. She is highly intelligent and somewhat troubled, and brings these inner conflicts to the den of iniquity of Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale, scrubbed to antiseptic innocuity by the Hollywood Production Code.
Ultimately, the boys in Ft. Lauderdale are all looking for sex, and the girls are all looking for a ring. This is about as progressive a discussion of sex as pre-Cana catechism. I mean, seriously, did any girl in the history of spring breaks actually expect to come home with an engagement ring?
Naturally, Merritt's intelligence saves her from having actual sex - it sounds good in theory, but in reality, it's BAD BAD BAD! It all comes down to preservation of the maidenhead. Good girls don't, smart girls don't, and girls who do will get date raped and walk catatonically into traffic. No consideration is given to the possibility of sex enjoyed by consenting and responsible partners for mutual satisfaction.
One irresistible factoid from the Wikipedia entry on this movie is that in the book on which it's based, the students help raise money to send to Fidel Castro, who was knee-deep in his revolution down Cuba-way. Yeah, like that was ever going to get into this movie. Imagine Connie Francis in a kissing booth - Cop a feel for Fidel! She put the CHE in smooCHEs!
Now THAT would be a progressive movie!
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