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Film / Gidget

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"Watch out, Brigitte... here comes Gidget!"

Gidget is a 1959 teen comedy movie directed by Paul Wendkos, starring Sandra Dee, James Darren, Cliff Robertson, and Arthur O Connell.

Dee plays a 17-year-old girl named Frances Lawrence who is initiated into a California surf community during her summer break. "Gidget" is the name given to her by the surfers, a portmanteau of "girl" and "midget." In her pursuit of handsome young Moondoggie (Darren) she has many adventures.

Followed by two theatrical sequels, three made-for-TV movies, and two television sitcoms, each one starring a different actress in the title role.

This movie contains examples of:

  • '50s Hair: This film has lot of it. Gidget's bangs and ponytail, a friend's pixie cut a la Audrey Hepburn, the curled and styled pageboy worn by her mother, the boys' sculpted and brylcremed haircuts, etc.
  • A-Cup Angst: Gidget uses now-discredited exercises to fill out her bustline more.
  • Academic Athlete: Gidget proves to be a great surfer and she was noted to have terrific grades in school.
  • The Cast Show Off: James Darren sings two songs over the course of the movie.
  • Fanservice: The surfer guys are very built and handsome, Gidget's girlfriends and the girls that hang out with the surfers are curvy and gorgeous (even the girls evoke this trope when they go on a "manhunt"), and Gidget would be this if she wasn't underaged.
  • The Film of the Book: Adapted from Frederick Kohner's 1957 novel of the same name.

  • Informed Ability: The opening song describes Gidget as "a regular tomboy". By the standards of the day, maybe, but for then or now, she is still fairly girly.
  • Informed Deformity: A slight example. Although "Gidget" stands for "girl midget," and the title song is all about how the singer is attracted to Gidget despite how short she is, she is not actually much shorter than her girlfriends.
    • Also one of Gidget's traits is A-Cup Angst, whereas she may not be as busty or curvy as the other women, she's rather well-proportioned and not flat (like her actress Sandra Dee was).
  • Operation: Jealousy
  • Pink Is Feminine: A color favored by the tomboyish Gidget.
  • Sequel: Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961), starring Deborah Walley, and Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), with Cindy Carol.
    • There were also three later made-for-TV movies centering around an adult version of the character: Gidget Grows Up (1969), with Karen Valentine; Gidget Gets Married (1972), with Monie Ellis; and Gidget's Summer Reunion (1985), with Caryn Richman.
  • Slip into Something More Comfortable: Kahuna asks Gidget if she wants to do this while they're at the shack.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Gidget is a tomboy who prefers surfing and sports to "manhunts" yet has no aversion to wearing girly clothes and colors and cares a lot about her bust size.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Kohner's novel is itself based on the surf culture at Malibu in the 1950s as described to the author by his daughter, Kathy.