71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2005
I think alot of people viewing "Ride the Wild Surf",from 1964 believe they are about to see your typical 1960's beach party film. However this particular entry in the popular cycle of surf and beach movies is quite different from the rest. Most notably it has a totally different group of young or "youngish", cast members to the Beach party films and there is no Frankie Avalon or Annette Funicello in sight. Secondly while still a story of adventure and romance set against surfing action "Ride the Wild Surf", is for the most part much more serious in tone and in its approach to the material and is removed from the usual California settings of the other stories and is instead filmed on location in Hawaii which adds greatly to the visual appeal of the film. Incorporating some truly spectacular surfing footage which is some of the best of its kind this film however has in common with other beach stories the practice of using the now comical back projection photography supposedly showing the actors "riding", the waves before cutting to real footage of surfers in action. Its all good fun however and like most of the story shouldn't be taken too seriously but just enjoyed for its many appealing elements.
"Ride the Wild Surf", tells the story of three Californian buddies Jod Wallis (Fabian), Chase Colton (Peter Brown), and Steamer Lane (Tab Hunter) who (despite the very evident age differences!), are college mates seeking the ultimate adventure by travelling to Hawaii over the New Year's break to ride the waves and tackle the infamous Big Wiamea which is the biggest set of waves off Hawaii's North Shore. Predictably each guy has his own set of issues to sort out before tackling the giant 30ft wave. Jody was a neglected child who has no trust in people despite falling for Brie Matthews (Shelley Fabares)who works hard to get him to reengage in his studies rather than surfing his life away, Chase suffers from a too practical nature caused by his affluent background that his relationship with carefree Augie Poole (Barbara Eden), helps to dispel, while Steamer has to contend with the disapproving mother Mrs. Kilua (Catherine McLeod), of his love interest Lily (Susan Hart)who thinks all surfers are bums and not to be trusted like her own ex husband. During the course of the groups holiday their romantic complications are eventually sorted and each guy grows stronger and more confident in themselves as a result. Jody learns to trust people again and makes plans for the future back home, Chase learns to lighten up and not feel he has to be perfect all the time, while Steamer wins Mrs. Kilua's belief in his sincerity and settles down to work on her property in Hawaii. All of this occurs of course just in time for the climatic arrival of the Wiamea which pits the guys against their rivals in the challenge to see who can master the monster waves. As it turns out all the guys slowly withdraw from the competition except Jody and his chief rival Eskimo (James Mitchum). After much effort and some perilous rides on the giant waves Jody is the sole surfer left and in the climax of the story he sucessfully rides the giant wave right into the beach to the aproval of all the crowd watching the spectacle from the beach.
"Ride the Wild Surf", takes an interesting different slant on the usual surfing story and has generally better production values than most of the beach party films from the same period. The sense of competition between the guys and the need to prove themselves is really the central theme here and while it has its fair quota of babes, bikini's and surfer music it is no where near as light hearted as the Frankie and Annette films. The location photography in Hawaii is truly breathtaking which makes this film an ideal viewing experience for armchair travellers but it is the stunning surfing camera work that really captures your attention here. You dont even need to be a fan of the sport to enjoy this as the photography is amazing and at the climax of the story surprisingly gripping. Of course the film also has the comical marching shots of the actors supposedly riding the waves that are only present in back projection while they balance on obviously stationary surf boards but those scenes are half the fun of this film. The cast of "Ride the Wild Surf", is an interesting one and really is a snap shot of the young performers who were popular in this early 1960's period. Fabian and Tab Hunter of course were the teen heart throbs of the time while Peter Brown (with blonde hair here for some strange reason) would become a popular 60's actor on the western series "Laredo". Barbara Eden ( also with a change of hair colour), went from this movie into her most famous role on TV in "I Dream of Jeannie", while Shelley Fabares had just completed her on going role on "The Donna Reed Show", released some hit singles such as "Johnny Angel" and was a popular young performer around this time. Performances by the whole cast are standard for this type of vehicle and the males are featured in all their bronzed muscled glory while the females parade in a never ending series of colourful bikini's as they wait on the beach for their men. The action is all very innocent with no sex featured except for a chaste kiss or two and certainly is a reflection of a time long gone which for me at least succeeds in increasing this film's appeal. The story flows along at a good speed however and director Don Taylor never allows the character development to get too much in the way of the films chief attraction which of course is the wonderful surfing footage.
For me "Ride the Wild Surf", is a nostalgic journey back to the innocence of the early 1960's. While it is a time I can't personally recall myself it has many appealing elements to it which is why I enjoy both the Frankie/Annette type of beach movies as well as this bigger budgeted more serious effort. The hit song that is used for the movie's title by Jan and Dean is also a winner and the film has all the essential elements of a surf movie with goodlooking young people, plenty of spectacular surfing action and of course the standard romance. In short it's the perfect way to spend a couple of hours where no deep meanings are present and the delights are all of the visual kind. Enjoy!
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2001
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
In 1964 three friends went to the show to see a surf movie for the first time. We returned to see this movie over and over again, (7 times to be exact). Being young and impressionable we wanted to be like Fabian, Tab Hunter, and Peter Brown riding Big Waves in Hawaii and falling in "Love" with girls like Susan Hart, Shelley Fabares and Barbara Eden. This movie made our summer of '64 a fantasy summer, we went to the beach, tried to surf, listened to Jan & Dean, The Beach Boys and dreamt of the girls in "Ride the Wild Surf". By todays standards this movie seems "Hokie", but for three fourteen year old boy's in 1964 it was a movie and Summer to remember.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2006
I remember watching this movie on TV when I was a kid. When I found it while surfing (no pun intended) through the DVD section of Amazon.com I bought it. What a sentimental blast from the past! Three fabulous looking hunks, Fabian, Tab Hunter and Peter Brown, use their winter break from college to spend one last time together in Hawaii to surf Waimea, before they all head in different directions, due to issues explained later on in the movie. By the first evening they all meet the perfect girl who will eventually help them deal with and solve their issues while sitting prettily on the beach in the most fabulous bikinis, with hair that barely moves in the wind, even when they stand up to wave at their beautifully physiqued, half naked, wet men. Yummy! Responsible Tab meets obligation-ridden Dolores Hart. A curiously blond over-cautious Peter meets curiously dark haired free spirited Barbara Eden. Untrusting, angry Fabian meets cautiously-trusting, sweet, Shelly Fabares, who in my book wins the award for best bikini - a while lace number that doesn't look like it would survive a puddle spashing, nevermind a dousing from the Wild Surf. While on the surface (again no pun intended) there is a fraternal feeling of comraderie and respect between the surfers, below the surface there is an undertow (I'm not going to apologize for this pun) of serious competition, as the winner of the contest, no only becomes known as the best surfer, but earns enough money to remain job free for a year to practice for the following year's competition - a dream come true for all of them. The panoramic surfing scenes, accompanied by hawaiian drum beats, are actual films of real surfers and are fantastic, and there are plenty of them. The close ups, while the talking scenes were filmed, are shot while the guys sit on the boards in water where I've seen bigger waves in my son's wading pool. I read in Tab Hunter's book recently, that the close ups of them "riding the waves" were filmed while they were kneeling in red rider wagons, after being spashed with buckets of water. However, it works well enough and is a lot of fun to see. In this movie, the surf is the star, and is not like those dopey Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon movies where surfing is an after thought. The romances are sweet, there's comedy, drama, beautiful scenery and everybody's good looking - so hush little baby - don't you cry! I highly recommend this movie for a little nostalgic fun, if nothing else.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
Dudes, babes, and fabulous footage of the north shore of Hawaii, plus the classic theme song co-written by Brian Wilson and sung by Jan & Dean. This is about as good as '60s beach movies get, partly a good impersonation, part pure Hollywood fantasy, of my own childhood backdrop of surfing action in southern California and Hawaii. Dig the scenes in which the "surfers" are waiting for their waves on perfectly calm blue water on what is probably a giant studio backlot wading pool! Thrill as their doubles paddle out to attack the scary gray curls of Waimea Bay "and conquer those waves 'most thirty feet high"! Shelley Fabares and Barbara Eden are among the girls on the beach.
It's cool, buddy boy.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Unlike other beach movies that were typified by silly slapstick buffoonery, muscles and bikinis RIDE THE WILD SURF was the antithesis of such tomfoolery. Still keeping the muscles and bikinis RIDE THE WILD SURF took itself serious and played it straight. Basically three buddies from California (Fabian, Tab Hunter and Peter Brown) travel to Hawaii during school break looking for the challenge of the truly big waves each with own motivations and reasons. They are not alone in their quest and that sets up the dynamics of this good film as they vie not only to be the best but to win the hearts of the three females (Barbara Eden, Shelley Fabares and Susan Hart) who become enamored with them. In their way are other surfers (including James Mitchum and Roger Davis) looking for that perfect wave as well. This all intensifies the competition, develops the camaraderie and shows the true character and sportsmanship of the surfers. Technically the surfing and cinematography are outstanding. Jan & Dean play the title song that stands toe to toe with anything the Beach Boys did in the musical genre. This is a great film.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2008
Loved this show as it typifies the surf 60's scene. What was most impressive to me is the stunning Ms Barbara Eden in one of her most down to earth characters yet. Few people know that Barbara Eden was a Judo expert and she gets a rare chance to show off her skills on this set as she playfully throws her would be boyfriend Chase to the ground after he taunts her abilities. After she humbles him to the ground while keeping him in a judo lock placing her bare foot down upon his face, he finally gives up and learns to also "lighten up" for the rest of the show. Overall some great surfing and cool waves, this is a cult classic for everyone who loves a good throwback to the early 60's innocence.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2001
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
Yes, Fabian cannot act. Yes, Shelley Fabares is a cutie. But it's the surfing footage that makes this film worth watching. No fancy vocab necessary to review this. Just watch it for the surfing: Waimea Beach! The Banzai Pipeline! The 30 ft walls of water! Huge bone-crushing tubes! Some of the best vintage surf footage in a non-documentary film. Also, 1960's teen angst on the beaches of Hawaii is hilarious. We should have had it so tough as teenagers! Enjoy!!!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Journey back with me to the simplier, more naive time of the early to mid-60's when all young men were supposed to think about was girls in bikini's, surf music and the perfect wave. Released in '64 'Ride the Wild Surf' belonged in that genre of movies that brought teenagers flocking to the theaters in mass. In my estimation it happens to be the best of the bunch, despite the fact that Frankie and Annette are nowhere to be found.
What young girl would want to miss out on seeing Fabian, Tab Hunter and Peter Brown challenging surfings best and the waves of Hawaii in the quest to be the last man surfing. As for the guys, well how about Shelley Fabares, Barbara Eden and Susan Hart to wet you appetite?
Don't be expecting Shakespeare. Be prepared for horribly cliched dialogue poorly delivered, lots of absurd posturing and totally predictable dialogue. It's a hoot!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I love this movie. The plot line is more interesting than that of the Frankie/Annette beach movies. 3 guys from California make their dream trip to Hawaii over Christmas vacation to surf the hot spots. All have different life changing experiences in Hawaii that involve a girl, and of course it is all worked out over the course of 10 days. It is very indicative of the times. Guys surf, girls sit on the beach in a different bikini each day with the big hair do's and NEVER get the swim suits wet. Good group of actors, and Brian Wilson wrote the score and Jan and Dean sing the main song. One of my faves, even with the staged up close "surfing" shots.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Yeah, this movie is kinda corny if you are of the Five Summer Stories generation like me, but the waves are awesome, you get to see Mickey Dora in his prime, Greg Noll before he got fat, and the LUSCIOUS Shelley Fabares! Plus, one of the best movie themes of all time by Jan and Dean. No goofy beatniks or motorcycle guys. Really.
They were filming this movie fifty years ago this summer. Kennedy was President, kids still dressed like their parents and Vietnam wasn't a real war yet. This movie freezes that era in time. Check it out...you'll like it!
p.s. Did I mention how incredibly hottt Shelley Fabares is?