For Those Who Think Young (1964) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

For Those Who Think Young (1964)

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Oh how I yearn for the idea of the 60's all-star cast. Bob Denver! Paul Lynde! Tina Louise! Ellen Burstyn! Even-- especially-- James Darren!

Yes, For Those Who Think Young has Moondoggie himself, though James Darren's character here couldn't be more different than the one that propelled him to beach movie stardom in Gidget. Here he's a different beast-- the son of the man who paid for half of the college's campus, he keeps Bob Denver around as a doofy sidekick while he works his way through a Rolodex of young women.

"You're the boy who has everything made... almost."

The girl he ends up with the page turned to is young Pamela Tiffin, a knockout who doesn't buy his smooth lines and offers to take her back to his house. In typical beach movie fashion, she's devised a clever plan to make him fall in love with her. She also shouldn't have the camera held on her face for too long.

Imagine this shot held for like a minute. What a great facial expression.

I know people are loathe to spoilers, but these plans must be discussed: she will attend Darren's house and pretend to get drunk. If he attempts to rape her, she will turn him down and leave. If he decides not to take advantage of her while she's "intoxicated", then it's time for sex!

Stupid crap like this is why men think women are difficult to understand and/or crazy. If you or a woman you know has spent a date operating on the aforementioned rules, guess what, she may have a problem. The bar should not be set so low for a date that "He didn't rape me!" is considered a sweeping act of romance.

And this plays more into the faux feminism that I described yesterday in It's A Bikini World and will invariably return to throughout this series. The woman has the power, but it's only the power to decide how she's going to have sex with this man, willingly or unwillingly.

But I'm getting extremely bitter about an inexplicable plot point in a film that could have used a great deal more of the inexplicable to escape its gaping mediocrity, let's focus instead on the rest of the cast, which is quite a bit stronger and more varied than what you'd normally get.

Take for instance this obscure actor.

First there's Bob Denver, a natural fit for the environs. Since this was made shortly before "Gilligan's Island," it lacks that level of ironic cultural touchpoint one expects from his appearances. Losing that gives him somewhat of an innocuous charm, something younger and more fun to watch. It's not Gilligan for once, it's Bob-freaking-Denver.

Denver also gets the film's musical number, "Surf's Up!" and gets to perform it upside down with a face painted on his chin. It's about as weird as it sounds.

The same actually goes for Tina Louise, who played the demure Mary Anne on the "Gilligan's" but spends most of For Those Who Think Young as a stripper, a strange sort of stripper who keeps taking her clothes off and putting them back on during the course of her act. This is another film that reaffirms stripping at off-campus bars as some sort of enjoyable family activity, and, if I were to ever feel bold, I think finding all of the films that portray this weird sort of cultural censorship would be a fun if bizarre challenge (see also: Breakfast At Tiffany's).

But all of this talking about the stars of the film is, sadly, for naught, as none of them have the role of the film's antagonist. No, not Darren, Denver, Louise, or even-- oh God-- the eternally fabulous Paul Lynde, but we are instead stuck with a man by the name of Woody Woodbury.

Don't get me wrong, Woodbury seems like a nice guy. He plays Taffin's uncle, and a comedian who tells the sort of jokes my grandparents would chuckle at. That's okay, I would say the same about the humor for the rest of the film.

Woodbury's self depreciating act revitalizes the strip club and turns it into a comedy joint, which somehow offends the local college. Woodbury also falls inevitably for the bookish Ellen Burstyn.

Ellen "Burstyn out of her swimsuit" is more like it.

She has another faux feminist plotline as she starts out loathing Woodbury and plans on aiding the school in shutting down his comedy club. The club's owner offers her a fruit drink that has an obscene alcoholic content, leaving Woodbury to care for her overnight. Since he doesn't rape her, she naturally takes that as a sign that maybe he isn't that bad and a romantic engagement ensues.

There are complications, a completely random deus ex machina that's almost daring in its emptiness, and the rare site of some actual surfing and time being spent on the beach. Between Denver's song and dance, the weird facial expressions of Tiffin, and Tina Louise stripping, this was certainly the most memorable of the beach movies of this weekend, even if the romantic notions present are outstandingly ugly.

There is one thing in this film that really piqued my curiosity, and that's the presence of one girl who spends the entire film in the background reading a book. In every scene, no matter what everyone else is doing, she's got her book.

I'm dorky enough to think this would make a great episode of "Unsolved Mysteries."

... why? There's no payoff to the gag. There's not much of a gag to speak of. Did something end up on the cutting room floor?

Well, I guess we'll never know. And, considering the quality of the film, fewer will even care. That's my lot in life.

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Posted by Danny

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