The Endless Summer Bruce Brown Analysis

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Before surfer and filmmaker Bruce Brown produced and released his classic surfing documentary, 'The Endless Summer' (1964) to eventual worldwide success in 1964, he created five other feature-length marvels that are far less known outside of the surfing community: 'Slippery When Wet' (1958), 'Surf Crazy' (1959), 'Barefoot Adventure' (1960), 'Surfing Hollow Days' (1961) and a compilation film, 'Waterlogged' (1962).

`The Ultimate Summer Bruce Brown Surf Collection' (2010) wisely brings together all of Brown's superb surfing documentaries in one collection. Together, the films represent a kind of American folk art of cinema (subtype: sports; sub-category: surfing).

The early Brown films, which in many ways resemble other amateur narrated travelogues of the 1950s, spring fully to life for six reasons: Brown's eye and ear for what is colorful, exciting, and dynamic; his warm sense of humor; his subtle but highly developed sense of the romantic; his judicious editing style; the cast of surfers presented, which includes legends Phil Edwards, Jose Angel, Joey Cabell, and Kimo Hollinger in addition to what appear to be Brown's own special cadre of adventurer friends (Del Canon, Kemp Aaberg, Mike Diffenderfer, Robert August, Freddy Pfhaler, and Henry Ford), and the outstanding original musical scores, two of which are provided by jazz master Bud Shank.
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Why Brown specifically selected Mike Hynson remains a mystery, though the shorter, blond Hynson certainly made a strong visual contrast to August. Presumably, sunnier personalities Brown had used in the past, such as Henry Ford, Kemp Aaberg, or Canon were unavailable for the extended travel necessary to make the film, though scenes of Canon establishing a record by becoming the first person to surf Japanese coastal waters were filmed, but eventually edited

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