The Sweet Ride (1968)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Bachelor pad on beach.

This is an obscure and ponderous film dealing with three bachelors(Anthony Franciosa, Michael Sarrazin, Bob Denver) who live in beach house and one day come upon a beautiful woman named Vickie Cartwright (Jacqueline Bisset) swimming in the ocean. They all make a play for her yet it is Denny (Sarrazin) who she falls for. Eventually though her erratic behavior and secret past become too much for him.

The theme is similar to that of Petulia, which came out around the same time. That film proved more successful because of its intricate, stylish narrative and deeper intellectual understanding. Technically this is well directed, but the color is washed out and there seems to be an ugly brownish tone permeating every shot. Some of the sets look cheesy especially the ones used for the indoor bar scenes. The story is too pedestrian and stretched too thin. It starts with some nice interplay between the three men, but that quickly evaporates and by the second hour it has become really boring. There’s some action at the end, but it’s standard and pointless. The resolution itself is too convenient and the relationship between Denny and Vickie is unexciting.

The story does offer some potentially intriguing undertones, but the film never pursues them. The girl herself is an interesting element. We come to realize through the course of the story that she lives a very, very sad existence. The film could have been meatier had it a given us a wider scope of her life and not just the little tidbits that it does. It also could have shown us more of a background to her character and examined how she came to being the way that she was.

The film’s chief asset is the bachelor pad itself, which is a dream for the single male. It’s well designed and sits right on Malibu beach with a terrific view of the ocean. There is beer and liquor everywhere as well as beautiful women coming in and out. The constant sound of the crashing waves in the background give off a soothing effect and the setting allows this film more points than it might otherwise deserve.

Some credit must also go to Franciosa an actor that never really attained much stature. His role here may actually be his finest moment. He plays the eldest of the three men and is as tan, muscular, and good looking as any forty year old can get. He’s as flippant a character as you’ll ever see and adds zest to each scene that he is in. Some of his sardonic comments about his bachelorhood add insight as to why some people are single and want to stay that way.

Dusty Springfield belts out the opening song and really gives it her all.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: June 12, 1968

Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes

Rated NR (Not Rated)

Director: Harvey Hart

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Availability: None

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