American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
The peculiar charm of "The Endless Summer" is something I haven't got quite worked out in my mind yet. This is all the more strange because here, at last, is a completely uncomplicated film, fresh and natural, designed only to please. It does. Why?
Part of the answer may be in the unconventional approach of the filmmaker, Bruce Brown. He packed a 16-mm camera and assorted telephoto lenses into a suitcase and set off around the world one morning, in the company of two surfers. Operating on a tiny budget ($50,000 for a 90-minute theatrical film is unheard of), they flew to the West Coast of Africa, sampled the beaches in Senegal and Ghana and then hopped down to Cape Town.
After surfing both the Indian and Atlantic Ocean beaches of the Cape Peninsula, they hitchhiked 1,000 miles up the coast to Durban along the famous Garden Route, finding, at Cape St. Francis, the "perfect wave" -- a four-foot curl that gave rides of 15 minutes and came in so steadily it "looked like it was made by a machine."
Other stops were in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. The last provided some heart-stopping footage of the "Pipeline," an enormous wave of great force rolling in over a sharp coral bottom.