The Beat Generation (1959)

the beat generation 1959

Some of the most asinine dialogue ever. I don’t know if Ray Danton ever lived down the beyond absurd things he had to say. Anyone who was a legit beatnik had to have been offended by the portrayals of their ilk. The dialogue coach was Jackie Coogan and the script was co-written by SF master Richard Matheson. On the plus side there are a couple songs from Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. You’ll also get a chance to see Vampira without all the make up as she embarrasses herself as a beat poet. The basic story line is about a cop tracking down a serial rapist nicknamed the aspirin kid.

At an L.A. Jazz club Louis Armstrong sings the main theme. Then Stan Hess (Ray Danton) starts the movie’s incredibly horrific dialogue as he reads philosophy. It’s so bad you may even forget about watching any more. Stan’s father shows up to introduce him to his fifth bride. He’s twice her age. All this had made Stan a woman hater.

Stan goes to a musician’s apartment knowing he’s out of town.  Before he gets there the scene has the wife working out on a hula hoop. He tells the mans’ wife Joyce that he borrowed some money from her husband and he’s there to pay it back. He calls himself Arthur Garrett.  She invites him in. He says he has a headache and brings out a box of aspirin and asks for a glass of water. While she’s in the kitchen he puts on a pair of gloves and then attacks her.

Out on the street he’s clipped by a car. The driver offers him a lift. He’s L.A. police Lt.Dave Culloran (Steve Cochran). Hess lies and says his wife is in a nearby hospital. After Culloran drops him off Hess writes down his name and address.  Culloran goes home to his wife Francee (Fay Spain). He gets a call from his partner Jake (Jackie Coogan) to tell him about the attack on Joyce.

The next morning at Joyce’s apartment Culloran doesn’t buy her story. He’s a woman hater because his first wife was a tramp and he can’t get over it despite his devoted second wife Francee. Joyce’s doctor is played by singer Billy Daniels. Culloran bears down on her and asks who stayed for breakfast. She insists no one was with her. She’s shocked to see the table was set for two.

A few days later Culloran and Jake are at the beach with their wives and Jake’s three kids. Jake’s wide is Marie (Irish McCalla getting away from her pin up roles). A beach patrol calls and says they have a suspect that looks like a composite drawing of the aspirin kid. It turns out be be wise guy Art Jester (James Mitchum doing an awful acting job and also forced to spew the horrendous so-called beat talk).

He’s put in a line up at police headquarters. Joyce can’t ID him. No one knows that Art is a friend of Stan’s and knows all about what he’s doing. While Culloran is dealing with Art he gets a call from Stan. He says he’ll meet hm that night and confess all. While Culloran and Jake wait at the club Stan goes to Culloran’s place and assaults Francee.  Later she finds out she’s pregnant.

Stan makes Art pose as the aspirin kid and go to Georgia Altera’s (Mamie Van Doren) apartment. Before he can attack her, ex husband Harry (bandleader Ray Anthony-Mamie’s real life husband) shows up and Art gets out of there posing as someone who borrowed money from an employee at Harry’s business.

There’s a portion of the movie that deals with Francee wanting an abortion. Culloran tells her it’s against the law and she can’t do it. She consults with Jake’s wife Marie wh0 introduces her to Father Dinelli (William Schallert).

The investigation continues as Culloran believes one of the victims will be approached again. He picks out Georgia as the likely target and follows her around.  She’s not happy but they eventually end up at a table in the club. Louis Armstrong is featured doing “Someday You’ll Be Sorry.”

The wrap up starts later at the club in another absolutely insulting segment featuring the “beatniks” doing a disgustingly awful song and dance number with Dick Contino taking part. There’s also some real stupidity with Maxie Rosenbloom as a wrestling beatnik. There’s also a brief scene of dumbness with Charles Chaplin,Jr. making a phone call.

Earlier in this mess you’ll spot Sid Melton as a cop.

This was Jim Mitchum’s second credited movie role which may explain why he was so awful. As most everyone knows by looking at him his father was Robert Mitchum.

Cathy Crosby appears as a singer. Her song is a useless waste of time and tough on the ears.



About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in Crime-Mystery-Spy, vintage movies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Beat Generation (1959)

  1. I hate to say this, but you make this movie sound so hilariously awful, to seek it out is almost irresistible.

  2. vintage45 says:

    Like,it’s a groovy trip you can’t miss,man.

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