This might not be a great movie, but I thought it was when I first saw it in the theater well over 50 years ago. But then you know I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories. It follows the adventures of four midwestern college students, Merritt (Dolores Hart), Melanie (Yvette Mimeux), Tuggle (Paula Prentiss), and Angie (Connie Francis) in Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break. It's a funny movie, and it was sold as a comedy, but it's also a serious one. If you want to know what was going on with sex and college students in the late 1950s and early 1960s (before the "real" '60s began, all you have to do is watch this movie.
Men, it seems, want only one thing (if you know what I mean and I think you do), but that turns out to be true in only one case, a vicious and sad one. What good men really want is someone they can respect and love, someone who's smart and sharp and not a pushover. Women want only one thing, too, a good man. Or at least they think so. And you know what? That's not far off the mark. I was there. I remember.
Just about everyone in the movie has beliefs challenged and modified or changed by the end (or they just come around to what they really believed in the first place). It's a lot more serious underneath than it appears to be on the surface.
After I saw the movie, I immediately bought the book. I don't remember much about it other than that I liked it a lot. It was written by Glendon Swarthout, a versatile guy who also wrote the Homesman. Hard to believe the same man wrote those two novels.
This is the movie the should've made Paula Prentiss a star. She's great, purely wonderful. I've been in love with her ever since. And this might be a surprise, but Connie Francis can act. She's much better than you might expect, very good at comedy. I don't know why she didn't have a better career in movies.