Dawn Hunt, DVD Verdict --Narrated by Jorja Fox (CSI) and featuring interviews with Sally Field (Brothers and Sisters) and far too many pro surfers to name, Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget Story tells the tale of Kathy Kohner Zuckerman who began surfing in 1956. Nicknamed "Gidget" (a combination of girl and midget) she became an icon whose legacy endures.
The decision to focus on the impact of Gidget over the past five decades was the smartest move the filmmakers made, because the actual story of how Kathy Kohner became Gidget takes less than a minute to tell. Fifteen-year-old Kohner was looking for a way of life and a group of people to fit in with. Going to Malibu and hooking up with the local surf scene was the answer. She became so enamored with the people, what they were doing, and the new lingo (words like "Bitchin!" and "Cowabunga!") she felt it was a story that needed to be told. Kathy started by writing it all down in her journals, one of which she reads from here. But she wanted to go bigger, to share her story with more people, so she went to her father, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Frederick Kohner (Gidget), who captured the story as she told it to him. The rest is the meat of this documentary.
Accidental Icon is not people gushing over Gidget for an hour. Sure, there's some of that, but these are real people and their stories resonate as such, with Gidget's friends admitting they resented the release of first the book and later the movie because each was one step away from the reality of what it meant (and still means, in many cases) to be a surfer.
Accidental Icon was shot on Mini-DV and includes Super 8 film stock, so the quality isn't the greatest. However, you can easily overlook whatever grain and palette issues there are due to the engaging nature of what you're watching. The Dolby 2.0 sound is serviceable and the filmmakers took care to get interviews in spots away from distracting ambiance. The special features are mostly padding, including an extended ending to the piece, as well as an outtake.
-Full review at dvdverdict.com