16 March 2006 | davidemartin
Unfocused? This film is positively schizo!
Out of mild curiosity and boredom, I just watched OPERATION BIKINI. I'm still trying to get my brain back to semi-rational thought after seeing this train wreck. All I can think is-- the producers had a bunch of stock WW2 footage and a few rooms of a borrowed submarine set. Then they threw in a bunch of folks they had under contract. What the heck is Jim Backus doing in this thing????? The man was already a well-known character actor, from tragic roles like the father in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE to the voice of MISTER MAGOO. For no apparent reason he's a member of the UDT team that also has Tab Hunter and Franky Avalon; I'm guessing he's the naval equivalent of a sergeant, as Hunter's character is in charge but Backus seems to be the one who runs the squad. That is, when he actually has any lines. Mostly he just stands there. In fact, much of the cast just stands there. It's like the producers only had a budget for a very limited amount of dialogue and figured that if the actors simply stood there and filled the frame, that would count as acting. Scott Brady had never been a major player but, like Backus, he seems to have come in for a few days work and a paycheck. Gary Crosby was trying to make a go of it, playing off his derelict father's name and the family resemblance. Like Backus, he also mostly stands there.
Oh, man.... this film is just so very wrong in so many ways..... It's like a bunch of students trying to perform a high school production of UP PERISCOPE and then they decide to rewrite the second act!
And worst of all, the producers destroyed what little merit the film might have had. As it looked on paper, the film would have been a modest sub adventure, suitable for a double bill. But then they added Frankie Avalon and decided to give him musical numbers! AND THEY WERE IN COLOR!!!!!! The rest of the movie is in black and white and all of a sudden along comes this bizarre COLOR musical interlude?!?!?!?!?!? And 20 minutes later, HERE IT COMES AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Frankie Avalon also had a gratuitous musical number in his other 1963 sub adventure, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, but at least there it made sense!
Oh, and for a final totally unrelated finale, the film ends with COLOR footage of two 1963 starlets in bikinis playing on a beach while the credits roll. Looking at that made me realize how little the producers thought of the film. OPERATION BIKINI is not a good film-- hell, it's barely adequate!-- but the color sequences show a mindset of cynical desperation or Ed-Wood-level incompetence.