The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini if it hasn’t should attain a certain amount of screen immortality in having one of the most eclectic casts ever assembled for one film. Of course the film isn’t exactly Citizen Kane or Gone With The Wind.
The title role in this last of the Beach Party cycle is played by an ethereal Susan Hart who parades around in a bikini which certainly wasn’t in fashion when she and Boris Karloff were young and dating. Karloff has gone on to meet his maker, but apparently Susan who died young and was his beloved has interceded with the Deity. Karloff was a stinker in real life and Susan has come to give him one more chance to do a good deed to insure his entrance to heaven with her. He’ll even go in as a young man because apparently there is sex in heaven.
Karloff has to make sure that his rightful heirs inherit his ill gotten gains in life and those heirs would be Tommy Kirk, Deborah Walley, and Patsy Kelly who acts as den mother to the whole beach crowd who move in with the three of them. They have to stay in the ostensibly haunted house after the reading of the will. You know something sinister has to be up with that kind of clause in the will. Especially when the will is drawn up by Basil Rathbone as the lawyer who wants his hands on the Karloff fortune. Rathbone is aided and abetted by Jesse White, Benny Rubin as a Jewish Indian, and Rathbone’s nearsighted daughter Quinn O’Hara. And crashing the party as they always do is Harvey Lembeck and is intellectually challenged motorcycle gang of which he definitely is the leader.
Incredible when you think about it, but making his last big screen appearance in an over 50 year career is that first leading man of Hollywood, Francis X. Bushman. He has a small role as Rathbone’s butler. And part of the beach crew are the daughters of a pair of singing icons, Nancy Sinatra and Claudia Martin. I leave it to you, have you ever seen a more widely varied generational cast than this?
It’s an incredibly dopey film, but charming in its own way. But what a place to find Messala, Sherlock Holmes, and the Frankenstein monster