who killed teddy bear

“Yesterday I saw the younger generation making colossal fools of themselves. I was in a bar and I saw the archangelical contortions of those young people of all sexes—and of no sex—who, like Saint John of the Cross, were precisely trying to get rid of their sex.” (Salvador Dali)

The action takes place around a New York discotheque. The main characters work there, one is a busboy tending an emotionally crippled sister who, as a child, saw him in bed with a girl and fell down the stairs and broke her teddy.

The film is very close to Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm in its construction (and this was the year of Bunny Lake Is Missing).

The busboy loves the girl behind the record bar, doesn’t tell her but calls her anonymously on the telephone, kills the dyke who runs the discotheque for wearing the girl’s fur coat, and dies shot by police, “toward Rahab of the snows.”


The Fat Spy

All the wit in all the world is brought to bear upon the Beach Blanket movies for the greater glory of the sea air in Florida.

Roy Lichtenstein, whose work may be seen at Horace Wellington’s headquarters, is the central figure in the stylistic onslaught, situated right between Andy Warhol’s Tarzan and Eric Idle’s Rutles.

Not even Richard Lester can take this sort of ribbing, nothing can. Youth culture is boring because everyone knows its condition and its arbitrariness, Frankie and Nanette in The Fat Spy are not a spoof of Avalon and Funicello or Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, they are the solemnities of teen love as an artistic device neither camp nor sendup, like one of Lichtenstein’s comic strip frames.

The film tends toward stasis therefore, and counters this with inertial movement. A song begun must have all its repeats observed until the vapidity of its lyrics sinks in. A boat leaves its moorings patiently minded by the camera until it is clear, no matter how long it takes.

The girls and the boys dance, on and on and on, the songs are fun, dancing’s fun, why not?

Teenagers seeking a Spanish galleon descend upon an island owned by Horace Wellington (Brian Donlevy), his Agent Y on the island is Irving (Jack E. Leonard), whose bald twin brother Herman works in the office and connives with Camille Salamander (Phyllis Diller) the cosmetics queen to seek out the Fountain of Youth there, on this same island.

The kids find a sign reporting the historical discovery of the galleon and its subsequent transfer to Coral Gables Garden, where at last they give up.

Irving finds true love with Horace Wellington, Jr. (Jayne Mansfield).

Wellington heads for the island aboard his motor yacht, Cagney and Bogart in his ears, GI helmet on his head, golden revolver in hand, wearing a one-piece leisure suit.

Sequels are promised, Return of the Fat Spy, The Son of the Fat Spy, The Bride of the Fat Spy.