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Ski Party is a B-movie, directed by Alan Rafkin, and released in 1965 by American International Pictures. Ski Party is part of the 1960s Beach Party film genre, with a change of setting from the beach to the slopes - although the end places everyone back at the beach - and the plot is loosely based on the classic comedy, Some Like It Hot.

Plot

Todd Armstrong (Avalon) and Craig Gamble (Hickman) play Californiamarker college undergraduates who unsuccessfully date co-eds Linda Hughes (Deborah Walley) and Barbara Norris (Yvonne Craig). Los Angeles City College (a two-year institution in East Hollywood) stands in for their unnamed university. Arrogant, handsome, athletic classmate Freddie (Aron Kincaid) has no such problems and chooses not to fight off all the women chasing after him. As president of the Ski Club, Freddie organizes a midterm vacation trip to ski country (in gorgeous Sawtooth National Forestmarker) in Idahomarker. Although they know nothing about skiing, Todd and Craig follow Linda and Barbara on this bus trip, to try to learn "the secret of Freddie's technique."

Once at the rustic ski resort, Todd and Craig pose as frumpy, non-threatening, young English women, Jane and Nora, with terrible accents. When not interrupted by a mysterious ice-skating, yodeling polar bear, or toying with psychologically-imbalanced and lederhosen-clad lodge manager Mr. Pevney (Robert Q. Lewis), they observe the girls in their group up close, to learn how to succeed with women, and figure out how they have gone wrong.

To make Linda jealous, Avalon attracts the attention of gorgeous, curvy Swedishmarker ski instructor Nita (Bobbi Shaw) when he's dressed as himself. But Freddie becomes obsessed with Hickman when Hickman is dressed as a woman, not accustomed to girls who play "hard to get." Nita persuades Avalon, over Freddie's goading, to compete in a ski jump against Freddie. Avalon's jump, featuring absurdly comical special effects, forces Hickman to shoot him down, breaking Avalon's leg.

Avalon crawls through miles of deep snow, late at night, with his broken leg covered in a plaster cast, to Nita's house. Toting a bottle, he learns that Nita is not the exotic minx she pretends to be but aspires to be treated like an "Americanmarker girl," that is, with much "talk" and little "action."

Back at the lodge, Freddie, still obsessed with Hickman's "female" character, Nora, tries to break down "Nora's" room door. Stuck inside, Avalon and Hickman contemplate their next move as they escape through a window. Somehow they hail a taxi, and rack up an enormous fare to Santa Monica, Californiamarker. Freddie follows on a moped piloted by fur-coated lodge manager Pevney. The rest of the group abruptly ends its spring break and follows behind on the bus.

Avalon and Walley, and Hickman and Craig arrive, with the rest of the group and Pevney, at Avalon's parents' beachfront house. There the two couples share their true feelings and the boys surprise the girls with their ruse.

Delusional Freddie swims into the Pacific Oceanmarker convinced that he will catch his beloved brunette-wigged "Nora" who swam off ahead of him and is "somewhere near Guammarker."

Production notes

Movie tie-in

Dell Comics put out a 12 cent comic book version of Ski Party in conjunction with the movie's release.

Cast

Annette Funicello contributes an opening cameo role as the boys' desirable but modestly-dressed biology professor. AIP player Salli Sachse shows her usual pulchritude as ponytailed and bikini-clad "Indian," and surfing champion Mickey Dora plays a small part. Avalon and Hickman appeared together again - after trading their character names with each other - in AIP's Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.

Locations

The outdoor snow scenes were filmed at the Sawtooth National Forestmarker.

Music

Ski Party is punctuated with ski-sweatered musical numbers by Lesley Gore (who sings Marvin Hamlisch's "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" on the bus), and James Brown & The Famous Flames (who sing and shimmy through "I Got You " in the lodge, having been humorously cast as the "white bread" resort's all-black ski patrol).

The Hondells sing two songs written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian - the title track off-camera, then appearing in beach attire for the closing track, "The Gasser" on Sorrento Beach in Santa Monicamarker.

Avalon sings the surf-rock "Lots, Lots More," (by Richie Adams and Larry Kusik) and is joined by Hickman, Walley and Craig for the Holiday-styled "Paintin' the Town," written by Bob Gaudio.

Walley and Craig sing "We'll Never Change Them," a song by Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner, originally written as "I'll Never Change Him" and sung by Annette Funicello in a scene cut from Beach Blanket Bingo for its wide release.

This is the only AIP beach party film not scored by Les Baxter - Edwin Norton is credited as the film's music editor and Al Simms as music supervisor.

Legacy

The end credits feature a promo for an upcoming AIP film, Cruise Party - a project that never materialised for AIP (although Crown International Pictures did manage to release Scuba Party in 1967 - after changing the title to Catalina Caper).

Both Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios also produced their versions of snowbound beach party films: Columbia's Winter a Go-Go was released four months later in October of 1965, and Universal's Wild Wild Winter was released in January of 1966.

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