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THE GIDGET COLLECTION

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Sandra Dee, James Darren, Deborah Walley, Cindy Carol
Director: Paul Wendkos
Video: 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Release Date: August 3, 2004

If you're in doubt about angels being real.
I can arrange to change any doubts you feel.
Wait till you see my Gidget!

Film ***

WOW, right off the bat I have to admit that I got this two disc DVD set to review and groaned out loud asking myself, “self, why did you request GIDGET!”  I popped these DVDs in dreading the very experience and was extremely surprised to find myself rooted to the couch, Mountain Dew and spaghetti dinner untouched, as I was swept away into the land of surf, sun, and Gidget fun!

The first film, Gidget, starred Sandra Dee and James Darren.  Gidget is being pressured by her friends to go on a man hunt.  Still unready to leave her tomboy ways behind, Gidget makes new friends at the beach and finds out that being a tomboy gives definitely has it’s advantages.

When Gidget falls in love for the first time, she’ll have to learn the tricks of the female trade, and pull out all of the stops to get pinned by the end of the summer!!  I’ll leave you to figure out what I mean by that statement!

The second film, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, introduces us to Deborah Walley as Gidget.  This installment of the movie franchise is no less angst ridden as Gidget heads off on a family vacation after breaking up with Moondoggie when he tells her to go and enjoy herself! 

On the plane her mom and dad (who have also been replaced in this film) make friends with another couple with a young daughter who is the complete opposite of Gidget.  Where Gidget is sweet and innocent, this girl is sneaky, and devious!   

Gidget meets someone new on her trip, and just when things start to get good between them Moondoggie shows up to declare his love for the Gidge,…chaos ensues!

In the third film, Gidget Goes To Rome,  we are introduced to Cindy Carol in the role of Gidget.  Gidget on holiday in Rome mistakes the attention paid to her by a journalist to be more than what it really is.  When Gidget finds out he’s only being nice to her  because her father paid him to  chaperone this trip, she falls back on her reliable boyfriend Moondoggie. 

Okay, out of the three actresses that played the role of Gidget in these films, Sandra Dee is my #1 pick as the feisty, yet adorable tomboy, surfer girl!  She just has this spunk and innocent quality about her that made the character extremely believable.   It was her portrayal of Gidget that got me hooked as soon as I pushed play!   From everything I know Sandra Dee was the epitome of beauty and fun back in the day whether on the screen or off.  Being around her in character and out must have been quite an experience. 

Now, this is not to say that the other two girls to play the role Deborah Walley, and Cindy Carol were no good as Gidget.  They just brought different qualities to the character that didn’t allow her to stand out as much as she did in the first film. 

James Darren, fortunately for all the ladies going to see each film, was the only actor to play Moondoggie.  I think having him in the role all three times allowed the movies to flow better than they would have if the actor playing his character changed each time too.  There is something to be said for keeping the same actors for sequel films.  (You hear that, J.K. Rowling?…Daniel, Emma, and Rupert forever!!)

Uhm,…now where was I…oh yes, back to Gidget!  If you like surfer movies, and films that will take you back in time to a point just before the world went absolutely bonkers and lost all focus, then you’ll love these DVD’s!  Don’t be a square, grab your copy today, and surf the DVD way baby!

Video **

Video quality on these DVDs was surprisingly nice.  The colors were sharp and vivid, with very little loss of detail.   There was very little visible dirt or graininess to the prints, which leads me to believe that Gidget has been well cared for in her old age!

The 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen formatting really fit these films.  I am a Widescreen snob and usually don’t have anything good to say about the Fullscreen version of a film, but with these three movies, I never felt as though I was missing anything because of the formatting.  I’m glad to see an older film receiving some respect in the video department!

Audio **

The over all audio quality on these two DVDs was okay.  There were fluctuations in level, and some of the background audio (ocean sounds) tended to overpower the dialogue at times. 

The biggest thing about the audio was the dialogue that was looped in after initial production was complete.  The levels for the dubs was set at a higher level than the dialogue captured during filming.  This really made the dubbed portions stands out causing the over all film to be negatively affected.  This was a bit irritating; however, you have to give these older films a little room because the standards for recording, dubbing, and syncing audio at the time of filming were severely different from today’s standards.

Features ½*

Scene selection as well as, movie previews for various Columbia TriStar movies were available on each DVD.

Summary:

With a decent digital transfer and okay audio quality, the only thing I can think of that could have helped this disc more would have been some extra features.  Alas, we were shortchanged. However, the films are entertaining enough, so you probably won’t mind the lack of extras that much!

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