Summer Love ★★½

Young John Saxon (then 22 years old) and many other cast members returned for this tame Universal-International sequel to ROCK, PRETTY BABY. Henry Mancini was a composer of the original songs, and it’s weird to see noted poet and musician Rod McKuen (who composed a calypso song for the movie) playing one of Saxon’s combo. So is Troy Donahue, who hadn’t acted in hardly anything yet.

Jimmy Daley (Saxon) and his band get a month-long gig playing at a summer camp, but they arrive to find out they’re just playing on weekends and expected to perform menial jobs the other five days. Voomy Erica Landis (teenage Jill St. John, a knockout) causes tension within the band by flirting with drummer Mike (John Wilder) and scheming to steal Jimmy from his girlfriend Joan (Judi Meredith in her film debut). Of course, Mike and Joan conspire to make their squeezes jealous. That plan always works, right?

Songs include “Beatin’ on the Bongos,” “Ding-A-Ling,” and “Calypso Rock.” You think, 20 years later, Mancini remembered composing them? Rock-and-roll has never been squeakier. Meredith later co-starred with Saxon in QUEEN OF BLOOD. Fay Wray (KING KONG) and Edward Platt (GET SMART) return from ROCK, PRETTY BABY as Saxon’s parents with Shelley Fabares (THE DONNA REED SHOW) and George Winslow (a bad kid actor) also back as his younger siblings. Filmed around Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead, California, this film originally saw release on a double bill with THE BIG BEAT.