6 June 2010 | wes-connors
James Darren sings, Michael Callan dances
The first "Gidget" (1959) hit the sand running, with sweet 'n' sexy Sandra Dee in the title role and James Darren (as Jeff "Moondoggie" Matthews) making as many groins throb. In that outing, Ms. Dee seemed too Holly-worldly for the part, which results in the opposite sort of problem as "Gidget Goes Hawaiian". Herein, cute 'n' perky Deborah Walley (as Frances "Gidget" Lawrence) takes the lead, in a script that appears to have been written with Dee in mind - she would have been more likely than Ms. Walley in attracting every hunk on the beach. Also, Dee would have been more believable as a rival for beautiful dark-haired Vicki Trickett (as Abby Stewart), who should have attracted more attention. No wallflower, Ms. Trickett's legs go on forever...
Conversely, Walley would have done better with the original film's script. Yet, on balance, this picture is a little bit more fun, with its appealing young cast, and older veterans like Carl Reiner and Peggy Cass lending some shtick. The plot is that "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" and is mistaken for a tramp. The story suggests a young woman having sexual intercourse faces a battle more daunting than drug addiction. The main men vying for Walley's attention, Mr. Darren and Michael Callan (as Eddie Horner), handsomely hold the camera's spotlight, with dreamy singing and dancing numbers. Both men were named "Stars of Tomorrow" by Quigley Publications, in 1960 and 1962, due to "Gidget" films. And, Walley received a "Photoplay" newcomer of 1961 award.
***** Gidget Goes Hawaiian (6/2/61) Paul Wendkos ~ Deborah Walley, James Darren, Michael Callan, Carl Reiner