Film Reviews & News
The wind is howling and there is no surf! What better to do than catch up on some history by watching the famous 1959 surf film 'Gidget'. The name Gidget comes from the amalgamation of 'girl' and 'midget' which is quite clever really, as the leading roll is played by petite, bleach blonde, Sandra Dee. The cool thing about this old school film is that Gidget loved to surf, had her own board and motivated girls to have a go.
My Mum often talked about 'Gidget' and how she inspired her and her friends to load up the Moris Minor with surfboards and head to the beach. This fictional character created by author Frederick Kohner (based on his teenage daughter, Kathy ) in his 1957 novel, 'Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas'. The novel, like the film, follows the adventures of a teenage girl and her surfing friends on the beach at Malibu.
The film is really a comment on the surf culture in the 1950's and reflecting on how society and women viewed themselves. A bit of a time capsule really. The 'tom-boy' feminist intention of Gidget to participate in a 'boys-only' sport is all good clean fun. There is a Hawaiian flavor and a love story mixed up in there too. The water footage is great, with a mixture of real surfing shots and classic Hollywood make believe.
To be honest I was cringing with the anticipation of the charters busting into song (only happens twice in the film) which was a signature of films of this era. But the rest of the film is a romantic look at surf culture with the focus on virginal, surfer girl Gidget.
Words by Narani Henson