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Where the Boys Are(1960)

Throughout his career, producer Joe Pasternak was an expert at developing young talent like Deanna Durbin and Jane Powell. So when he came across Glendon Swarthout’s novel about teens on spring break in Fort Lauderdale, he snapped it up while it was still a galley. He even convinced Swarthout to change the book’s title from Unholy Spring to a more marketable title. His goal was to showcase MGM’s young talent, so he cast George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux and Paula Prentiss (in her movie debut). He even got teen sensation Connie Francis under contract for her first big-screen acting role and agreed with her suggestion to have Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield write the title song. It peaked at number four on the charts and became her signature song. Pasternak originally wanted the film to star Natalie Wood to provide box office insurance. When she wasn’t available, he gave the role of smart girl Merritt, who lectures the others on the importance of sex before marriage, to two-time Elvis Presley co-star (and future nun) Dolores Hart. Though lighthearted and comedic, it also has a serious side, including a surprisingly intense reference to rape. Nevertheless, the film was a big hit and inspired a string of beach movies that would start with Beach Party (1963). (d. Henry Levin, 99m, Digital)

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