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Film / Don't Make Waves

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Don't Make Waves is a 1967 sex comedy film directed by Alexander Mackendrick, starring Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Webber, and Sharon Tate.

Carlo Cofield (Curtis) is road-tripping along the Pacific Coast Highway in southern California when a chance encounter with exotic Italian artist Laura Califatti (Cardinale) leads to the destruction of his VW Beetle, which apparently contained all of his worldly possessions. Owning literally nothing but his underwear, Carlo takes refuge with Laura, who as it turns out is the kept woman of Rod Prescott (Webber), the boss of a swimming pool company.

Carlo uses his knowledge of Rod's personal life for a bit of soft blackmail and lands himself a job selling swimming pools to the rich residents of Malibu, CA. Meanwhile, he meets and is instantly enchanted by the appropriately named "Malibu", a surfer girl (Tate). Further romantic complications ensue as Rod's wife Diane learns of his infidelity, while Laura starts falling for Carlo.

One of only a handful of films made by Sharon Tate before she was murdered by the Manson Family in 1969.


  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Despite going by Madame Lavinia and characters at least trying to use she/her pronouns, she is a masculine-presenting character played by Edgar Bergen.
  • And Starring: Tate gets an "And Introducing" credit despite the fact that she also got the exact same credit the year before in Eye of the Devil.
  • Animated Credits Opening: A cartoon showing a cartoon Tony Curtis in his VW Bug driving across the country to Malibu.
  • Blatant Lies: Rod told Laura that he can't divorce his wife because she's a bedridden polio victim. So Carlo is pretty surprised when he meets the ambulatory and very attractive Diane Prescott.
  • The Cameo: Jim Backus of Mr. Magoo and Gilligan's Island fame appears As Himself. Carlo sells him a pool.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The climax of the film comes when a torrential rainstorm causes a mudslide which sends Carlo's house sliding down the cliff, while all our principals are inside. While that sort of thing can happen in southern California, it still comes out of nowhere.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Laura not only manages to accidentally pull Carlo's car off an overlook and wreck it, she later runs over the fire hydrant in front of his beach house.
  • Easily Forgiven: Not only does Diane forgive Rod for cheating on her, she also specifically says he can continue to cheat on her, and use his corporate expense account to do it!
  • Fanservice Extra: The various bikini girls on the beach, the topless waitresses at the promotion party for the swimming pool company (including Playboy Playmate China Lee).
  • Gentle Giant: Malibu's hulking monster of a boyfriend, Harry (played by Real Life competive weightlifter David Draper), is kind and gentle. When he finds out that Carlo got a psychic to tell him not to have sex with Malibu (It Makes Sense in Context), he merely says that Carlo shouldn't have done that, before taking Malibu away.
  • Meet Cute:
    • When pulling away from the scenic overlook on the PCH, Laura manages to hook her bumper around Carlo's bumper, thus pulling Carlo's car away and sending it hurtling off a cliff. Then, after assessing the damage after the car rolls to the base of the hill, Laura lights a cigarette and tosses the match away, setting fire to Carlo's car.
    • Then Carlo meets Malibu when she crashes into him with a surfboard and knocks him unconscious.
  • The Mistress: Laura is fully aware that Rod is married. Eventually she shamefully admits that she knew he'd never leave his wife.
  • Muscle Beach Bum: Malibu's boyfriend Harry, who is basically a mountain of muscle. Luckily for Carlo, Harry is both gentle and dumb, which allows Carlo to split Malibu and Harry apart.
  • Scenery Porn: Can't go wrong with Malibu.
  • Stock Footage: Some stock footage of surfers that sticks out for being much, much grainier than the rest of the film.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Don't Make Waves" by none other than The Byrds plays over the opening and closing credits.
  • Toplessness from the Back: More Fanservice from what is basically Fanservice: The Movie—Laura topless from the back when Carlo finds her in bed, Malibu topless from the back while in bed with Carlo, and all the waitresses at the party.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Carlo is feeling this when, after cajoling Malibu into living with him, he's shown looking discontented in bed as Malibu sits up with curlers in her hair, munching chips and watching inane Spanish-language television late at night.