Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Debra Blee: Naked and Wet
I'm sure I speak for both sexes when I say that, at some point, all of us had a crush on someone in the movies and/or television. A certain person who, when he/she comes on screen, makes us perk up. Even when we are too young to understand sexual attraction, we know that there is something about that person that makes us feel funny, good or confused, but in a VERY pleasant way. One of mine was Goldie Hawn back on "Laugh-in". I couldn't bear to miss a second of the show in case she was dancing in a bikini with all those goofy phrases written on her skin or she might flub a line and laugh, and my god, wasn't she just wonderful!
Sometimes, things carry over into our adulthood. Like acne or baby fat. This "crush" thing continues with me to this day. It works a little differently these days. I mean, if I see someone who appeals to me in the here-and-now, I tend to have a little more detailed idea of my attraction. I'd call that "lust". Still, I find myself developing crushes, but they only exist for women in the older movies I watch. Most of these women have now either passed on, are up in their 60s and 70s, or are missing in action. I'm seeing them as they were 20, 30 or 50 years ago, their beauty and charm locked away in film. But, oh, how that attraction can still tug away at me!
I've been watching far too many movies of late, so a lot of them tend to blend and blur together. One of them has stayed at the top of the cesspool of memories. It isn't because the movie was very memorable. It isn't because the action was incredible. It was due to one person. The amazing, the lovely, the heavenly Debra Blee.
The movie? The Beach Girls. One of the seemingly endless Crown International films that kept drive-ins in business until the late 80's. They threw horror, action, drama and comedy movies in every direction, most with the exploitation factor cranked up, but never over-the-top. The object was what would horny teens and college students part with their money for. The Beach Girls is a prime example of this formula.
Take three pretty young girls. Put them in a beach house with no parental guidance and provide them with sex, booze and trash bags full of weed. Slam the clapper shut and yell, "Action!" In an attempt to provide some break from the bouncing breasts and corny drug humor, they added a Coast Guard cutter looking for some bad guys who are smuggling in the weed. But for fun, let's make the Coast Guard crew the "butt" of a lot of gay jokes. Very, very nice.
As I suggested, the film itself isn't wonderful. It is inoffensive. It hits its marks and provides enough cheap humor and attractive women to keep a person from getting bored. If you can live with the occasional inserted bit of a bikini-stealing dog lifted from Malibu Beach, which is, if you can believe it (he says with tongue in cheek), very similar, you might even find yourself glancing at the screen more than your date might like.
Given all the things this film has going for it, for me, they all pale when Debra Blee is on the screen. Is she a great actress? Not really. She doesn't come off as Oscar material, but then she basically has to look fetching and not sound like a bubble-brained bimbo. She has these big eyes that draw your attention. She moves about in such a timid fashion that you just want to protect her. She is simply wonderful to watch.
Watch carefully, though. She stayed with the film business for only five years. She made a few more films, notably Savage Streets with Linda Blair and Hamburger: The Motion Picture, and did a few TV shows. Then - POOF! - she vanished. Oh, Debra, where have you gone? You are only 50. I'm sure you are still a lovely woman. Treat us to an appearance in SOMEthing.
Okay, okay, enough praising a retired actress of films of questionable quality.
You can find The Beach Girls on BCI's "Welcome To The Grindhouse" double feature teamed up with Coach. I'd actually recommend going to Best Buy while you have the chance and buy the 20-movie "The Exploitation Cinema Collection" as it was made just for Best Buy. It's 20 bucks and so worth it if you want to relive the late 70's and early 80's theater experience with trailers and snack bar commercials. BCI has been restructuring and, as sad as it is to say, this kind of thing is being killed off due to short-sighted executives. Grab it while you can.
In the mean time, enjoy the screenshots of Ms. Blee. I know I do.