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A Summer Place

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 21-09-2010


Illicit romance take center stage when a wealthy family set off for a summer seaside vacation.Amazon.com
Think A Summer Place, and you’ll probably be humming Max Steiner’s wonderfully romantic instrumental theme song, a hand-holding hit in 1959. The movie itself is similarly irresistible, a colorful soap opera about the passions of a pair of dewy-eyed teens and their straying parents. At an island resort in Maine, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue (the reigning teen ido… More >>

A Summer Place

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Comments (5)

What can one say about this film. I consider this Delmer Daves’ masterpiece. It was the first of four productions that teamed Daves and Troy Donahue (Parrish, Susan Slade and Rome Adventure followed). Troy Donahue was never noted for any great acting prowess, but he did represent the last breed of the innocent clean-cut naive teenager. This was Donahue’s strong point and Daves used that persona expertly and effectively to extract the longing for the eternal youthful spirit in all of us. That is why this film is so viewable to this day. To paraphrase Richard Egan’s character in the film: Our only purpose is to love and be loved. That is what this film is all about. Visually it is breathtakingly and lushly photographed by Harry Stradling. The dialog is juxtaposed between crisp witty cynicism at times and then beautiful tender passages of poetic expressions of love. The Max Steiner score and love theme have become interwoven into our everyday society as effectively as they mirrored the emotions of the characters in this film. The story at its most basic level is one of adultery and teenage love canvassed on an island on the Maine coast. However, the motivations and the ramifications of the characters’ actions run much deeper. The expert cast includes Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Sandra Dee, Constance Ford, Beulah Bondi and the actors’ actor Arthur Kennedy. This film was based on the Sloan Wilson novel. This is one of my favorite films. I highly recommend it. The VHS copy is very good.
Rating: 5 / 5

DVD please? I saw this movie when it aired on A&E, and it captivated me as a child, and still does as an adult. The theme song is great, and I still find myself listening to it!!! I became a fan of Sandra Dee’s after I saw her in “Gidget” and “Imitation Of Life” and I thought her performance was so real and heart-wrenching. Constance Ford, as her bitchy, controlling mother Helen, gives a strong portrayal of a bitter, frigid, unhappy woman who takes her anguish out on everyone around her, even her daughter. (She really gives Mommie Dearest a run for her money). The scene where she forces Molly to submit to a pelvic exam after she and lover-boy Johnny (the late Troy Donahue) have an accident on the beach (the boat capsizes) is horrible and makes the viewer grimace. The fact that the doctor was old and gross looking, and began to unbutton Molly’s blouse without her consent, as she screamed, “Oh please, no, I want my father! I’ve been a good girl! I haven’t done anything wrong!!” makes it uncomfortable, but it also makes you despise Ford’s character, as I’m sure that was the intention. Richard Egan as Molly’s father Ken, is so handsome and gentle at times (he was equally effective in Walt Disney’s “Pollyanna” as Dr. Chilton) is a man who is trapped in a loveless marriage who finds and falls in love again with Dorothy McGuire, as Sylvia, his first love, who also happens to be the mother of Molly’s boyfriend, Johnny!!! One of Egan’s best lines is as he and Helen are having an explosive argument. Ken finishes off his end by saying, “Why must you insist on making sex itself a filthy word!” Arthur Kennedy, as Johnny’s drunken father Bart was one of the actor’s best later performances. The conflict between the two couples and the predicament that follows (Molly becomes pregnant by Johnny) was considered racy for its day, but considering how little is shown, you have to wonder what all the fuss was about!!! (Although the “King Kong” reference could bear some debate on that subject). The argument between Molly and her mother at the beginning of the movie, sums up the times and also, in a way, the relationships between mothers and daughters. Molly: “Daddy, do I have to?” Ken: “Do you have to what?” Molly: “Wear this middy blouse to shore like a twelve-year-old! And she says I have to wear this armor-padded bra to flattenme out and a girdle! This thing even hurts, and I couldn’t squeeze into this girdle with dynamite!”

It appears to be a soapy melodrama, but it really is a touching piece of nostalgia. Let’s hope a DVD release is in the works!!! We all need to get away to “A Summer Place”!!!!!!!!

Rating: 5 / 5

It’s the summer of 1959, and innocent Molly (Sandra Dee) meets handsome Johnny (Troy Donahue) on a secluded island off the coast of Maine. Her father (Richard Eagan) and his mother (Dorothy Maguire) were lovers years ago, and have renewed their romance, despite both having spouses. The kids fall in love, too, spend some time at the beach, and everything is great…until Molly gets some bad news from the doctor….

Dee and Donahue were the epitome of wholesome, sexy teenagers back in the day, and they are still beautiful to look at. This film was considered quite racy when it was released; it’s more PG today, but still intense and thought-provoking. It’s a trip back to a simpler time with stricter morals. And could anyone ever forget that gorgeous theme music? It IS the music of young love. This is still a great movie to watch with someone you love…or a bowl of popcorn!
Rating: 5 / 5

Two teenagers in love(Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue) strive to be “good” and do the “right thing” by not going “all the way”. This slick, colorful Hollywood soap opera about love and heartache among teens and their elders may have dated too much to have significant meaning to some tastes. Still arresting, however, as a look at 1950’s lifestyles and values. This was, in its day, a box-office smash, and indeed, the premier teen date movie. The magnificent score by Max Steiner is still hauntingly beautiful, and was also big hit when the film was initially released. Yes, the realistic subject matter of the film itself has been glamorized and Hollywoodized, but it’s so well-handled by the cast that it hardly matters. Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue light up the screen as the young lovers. And Dorothy McGuire and Richard Egan are sensational as the older set trying to rekindle the flame. The strong performances by this amazing quartet, and, of course, Max Steiner’s enchanting title tune, make this rise far above the ordinary Hollywood fluff.
Rating: 5 / 5

As for you, Troy Donahue…she knew what you wanted to do — but she wasn’t exactly as opposed to it as Stockard Channing suggests. (No, Stockard Channing isn’t in this film.) It certainly doesn’t sum up the whole film, though. Not by a long shot! A Summer Place is layered with plot and innuendo, beginning with two unhappy marriages, and the subsequent hell that baggage lays upon their kids’ shoulders. Sylvia married Bart for money and status, spurning Ken, a lifeguard, who she really loved. Ken married Helen, wallflower/homebody (oh, little did he know…), because he was lonely, and had just found out that his only love, Sylvia, had become engaged to a world-class arrogant horse’s ass. Ken became a millionaire, motivated (one is led to believe) by his wanting to show Sylvia that he was finally worthy of her, which might leave someone who hasn’t seen this film thinking she was a cold, two-dimensional bitch, and that Ken was merely a dunce (the foolish things we do in the name of love). But alas, poor Sylvia learned the error of her ways early on, realizing every day of her life that she let the wrong man go. Well, dear, he’s on his way to your house for a visit. And therein is where this film begins. Sylvia sees Ken, Ken sees Sylvia, and everyone else suddenly ceases to exist. All except for their children — Sylvia’s son, Johnny (Donahue) and Ken’s daughter, Molly (Sandra Dee), both whose hormones seem to have burst alive for the first time. All the while, Bart and Helen, the forgotten spouses, watch fireworks that they are powerless to extinguish. Ah, but they cause plenty of trouble for their soon-to-be adulterous counterparts. Helen shows what a malignant, frigid, evil psycho-shrew she really is (subjecting her poor daughter to a “virginity test” by a creepy old letch of a doctor — what the HELL was she supposed to have done if her daughter had been found to be “impure”?), and Bart goes off the drunken deep end. Helen, played to the horrific tee by Constance Ford, is the most despicable mother (next to Joan Crawford) any daughter was ever cursed with, but Bart is downright hilarious and is superb to watch as he delivers one sarcastic and witty deadpan blow after another, especially when he goes after Helen’s “dignity” at dinner. Priceless. The setting is breathtaking and the musical score is emotionally staggering, sweeping the viewer away into another world and another time — one from which they may never wish to return. The only thing missing was an assassin for Helen…All in all, the film is one of this screenwriter’s all-time favorites, and that’s saying something, considering how many films I’ve waded through in the last 30 years! If you love the cinema of the late 50s-early 60s, you absolutely MUST see this unforgettable film. You won’t ever regret it. In fact, the only thing you’ll lament is the fact that the dolts who have rights over this film STILL haven’t released it on DVD!

Rating: 5 / 5

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