“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1971 / Director: Robert Mulligan / Actors: Jennifer O'Neill, Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser, Oliver Conant, Katherine Allentuck ... / DVD released 2002-02-05 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC „
* Prices may differ from that shown
RELEASED: 1971, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 103 mins
DIRECTOR: Robert Mulligan
PRODUCER: Richard A Roth
SCREENPLAY: Herman Raucher
MUSIC: Michael Legrand
Gary Grimes as Hermie
Jennifer O'Neill as Dorothy
Jerry Houser as Oscy
Oliver Conant as Benjie
FILM ONLY REVIEW
The year is 1942, and teenage Hermie is spending the summer with his parents on a small coastal island. Whilst much of the time Hermie is racing around with his friends Oscy and Benjie, his attention increasingly becomes focused onto an older woman (Dorothy) who lives in a beach-side house with her husband.
Before long, Dorothy's husband is called up to serve in WW2, which leaves her alone in the house.
One day, Hermie notices Dorothy struggling to carry her shopping home, and takes the opportunity to help her, striking up initially awkward conversation. A friendship then springs up between the pair, much to the amusement of Hermie's friends Oscy and Benjie who tease him relentlessly, although after a while Oscy becomes supportive, albeit envious, of Hermie's desire to lose his virginity to Dorothy.
Admist various amateur fumblings when Hermie and Oscy get involved with a couple of local girls of their own age, Hermie's desires are immovably fixed upon Dorothy.
That pretty much sets the scene, and as ever, you must watch it yourself to learn more.
Summer Of '42 is one of those sorts of films which has the air of a play about it, although it does transmit well onto the big screen. The very beginning and very end of the film is spoken in narrative by an uncredited actor, and the story is allegedly based on the writer's (Herman Raucher) own experience.
There is a line of gentle humour running through Summer Of '42 which although doesn't provide any belly-laughs, is respectably amusing from time to time and the location in which the film is set looks lovely. The whole mood is one of nostalgia in two ways really - firstly, for anybody who fondly remembers their first sexual encounter and secondly, for those who were young teenagers in the middle of WW2, although that part will be from an American perspective.
The acting in Summer Of '42 is pretty good, especially that delivered by Gary Grimes and Jerry Houser as Hermie and Oscy respectively. Garry Grimes gives a beautiful, touching performance as the besotted 15-year-old attracted to a woman twice his age, cleverly portraying a mixture of fumbling innocence and the occasional flash of maturity....Hermie compared to Oscy is not the quiet one exactly....it would probably be more accurate to say that he's the reflective one. Jerry Houser is perfect as the less sensitive, sometimes borderline aggressive, yet ultimately friendly and supportive Oscy, who is far more outgoing than Hermie and somewhat clumsier in his general approach to life.
Oliver Conant gives a good performance as the slightly inadequate Benjie, although his role is of less significance when it comes to the crux of the storyline, and although there is nothing wrong with Jennifer O'Neill's characterisation of older woman Dorothy, I feel her role to be far less demanding than that of Grimes and Houser, despite her being one of the main characters....possibly even the focal point of the film.
I am sure most people, especially those over a certain age, will be familiar with the main theme from Summer Of '42, although as used in the film, it is the orchestrated version...not Biddu's 1975 souped-up 'disco' offering. The theme is used simply at the beginning and at the end of the film, with no musical accompaniment in between. The music is quite sad and melancholy in mood, yet it fits the movie's situation perfectly.
Overall, Summer Of '42 is quite a poignant film - at times I can even find it a little depressing - yet the poignancy is intelligently handled, rating zero on the 'mush' scale, and the darker feelings which occasionally emanate from the movie are well balanced with and perfectly compensated by the lighter moments and gentle humour contained within. As far as the humour is concerned, for me much of it centres around Hermie's 'foot in mouth' incidents where, by trying to impress Dorothy, he blurts out strings of inappropriate irrelevancies - haven't we all been there in our own youth? - yet my favourite amusing scene is a drugstore owner's reaction towards Hermie's extremely clumsy, flustered attempt at buying a pack of condoms.
Summer Of '42 is a delightful, tastefully directed/produced and acted story of youth, loss of innocence, yearning, and that awkward, sometimes painful stepping stone from childhood into being a full-blown adult. It isn't the sort of film which would appeal to anybody who loves action, violence, steamy sex etc., but if you like a warm, gentle, somewhat touching story which is a careful blend of humour, wistfulness and melancholia, then this could be something you'd enjoy very much.
Although Summer Of '42 carries a 15 rating, I personally feel there is no reason why it shouldn't be expanded out to be rated as PG, because although the storyline has an adult theme, I believe it contains nothing which could be deemed as inappropriate for a younger audience.
I'm trying to find a negative about this film, but in all honesty there is nothing I can even mildly criticise, as everything hangs together just right, and my recommendation is....watch it!
At the time of writing, it appears that there are only two DVD copies of Summer Of '42 for sale on Amazon, both new, one being priced at £27.50 and the other at a colossal £45.00! As brilliant as I find the film to be, I really don't think it is worth £45.00 and I feel sure it could be picked up elsewhere at a far more reasonable price. As usual, when buying from Amazon, there is an additional delivery charge of £1.26..
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summer of '42 (1971)
Writer: Herman Raucher
Director: Robert Mulligan
Gary Grimes - Hermie
Jennifer O'neill - Dorothy
Jerry Houser - Oscy
Oliver Conant - Benjie
Katharine Allentuck - Aggie
Christopher Norris - Miriam
Lou Frizzell -other co The Druggist
15 year old best friends, Hermie and Oscy, spend their summer vacations on Nantucket Island. This particular summer the two of them seem to be obsessed with sex and losing their virginity.
While Oscy sets his sights on Miriam, a girl his own age, Hermie meets Dorothy, an older woman (a woman in her late 20s or early 30s) whose husband is away in the military.
Hermie does chores for Dorothy, the two of them become friends and Hermie eventually begins falling in love with her.
Oscy sets Hermie up with Miriam's friend, Aggie. Hermie likes Aggie, but he's too shy and nervous to "close the deal." He's infatuated with Dorothy and wants his first time to be with her.
Will Hermie be able to fulfill his fantasy and have a summer fling with an older woman?
This is a decent movie. It's dramatic with a good amount of humor sprinkled in. The film is written by Herman Raucher and is based on his own story and his own memories of vacationing on Nantucket Island. Raucher also wrote a best-selling novel of the same name. The novel was released prior to the movie being released which leads most people to believe that the movie is based on the novel, but in this case the novel is actually based on the movie. The film and novel also led to a Broadway adaptation years later. The movie also produced a sequel two years later called Class of '44 that had three of the main characters from this film reprising their roles.
This isn't the kind of movie that I would normally watch, but I came across it late one night when I could find nothing else to watch and I decided to give it a chance. And, I'm glad I did, as I enjoyed it very much.
The movie is very well written and very well directed. It does a good job at capturing the times, the early 40s, and the location, a small beachside town on Nantucket Island.
The movie has an excellent cast and all give very good performances.
Gary Grimes gives a very good performance and was the perfect choice to play Hermie. With his big brown eyes and his innocent smile he's very believable as the love struck teen. My favorite scene was when he was in the pharmacy; the scene was hilarious and he was funny in it.
Jerry Houser was also good as Oscy. He provided some good humor and was a perfect complement to Hermie.
Jennifer O'neill was good in her role as Dorothy and was also well cast. She's young and pretty, yet mature and unassuming. However, I don't understand how she could seem so oblivious to Hermie's blatantly obvious crush on her. Still, she had very nice chemistry with Gary and the two of them made each of their scenes pleasant and believable.
Overall, this is an unexpectedly (at least for me) good movie. It's a good story that's well told with just the right balance of drama and humor. It's entertaining and enjoyable and I would recommend it.