Archive for the ‘Beatniks’ Category

Dig it, man.

March 27, 2006

Saw a little movie last night called The Beatniks (1960). Now, you know that with a title like that, you’re not going to get Hamlet, right? Nowadays, I think of a beatnik as someone who’s just too cool for school, daddio, at least 1950s school and whatnot. Beatniks to me are kind of laid back, precursors to hippies, doing their own thing, you dig? Or not.

Well, in this one they’re hoodlums, petty criminals, gang members, and so on. You know the type – they drink, they smoke, they even stay out late at night! (Horrors!) The leader of the gang here is Eddie, who sports an Elvisian pompadour. Or maybe Sinatraian. With a little cowlick in the back. Eddie is the “good guy.” Turns out the lad can sing, you see, so an agent named Bayliss signs him to a deal. This doesn’t sit to well with Eddie’s gang, but he starts to like the opportunity for success, thanks in part to a new girl, Helen. Which, naturally, doesn’t sit too well with Eddie’s current girl, Iris, who’s as dumb as a post and as quiet as an auctioneer.

Aside from the oh-so-clever good girl/bad girl dichotomy, there’s also a murder and a stabbing, a “crazy” gang member, a gang member who gets himself seriously injured, and a nondescript gang member. So most cliches are hit pretty solidly in this one, which isn’t nearly as much fun as it seems. I got it on DVD for $1, and that includes the legendary Wild Guitar (1962), which follows some of the same plot line and most of the cliches, too.

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