VERY GOOD 1959 romantic soap opera, with both adults and a young couple dealing with familial - and more - complexities.
Fun to see Sandra Dee at only 17 displaying considerable acting talent. Troy Donahue is a bit flat The adults actors all do a fine job.
Interesting period piece...
cute actors, nice music...what else? nothing
As in "Theme from A Summer Place". . . . From imdb: "Max Steiner's main theme for this film is probably his best-known after his "Tara Theme" for "Gone With the Wind." As with "Tara's Theme," it has remained a favorite ever since, with several charting recordings. Percy Faith's version (American Columbia: 1960) went to Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960, remaining in that position for 9 weeks, becoming both the Number One Instrumental Hit of the Rock Era and the first instrumental to win the Grammy for Record of the Year. ..."
Well, as far as scorching, melodramatic (and sometimes over-the-top) soap operas go - A Summer Place's scandal-ridden story (from 1959) actually held up surprisingly well (until about the point when Ken and Sylvia's shocking, little infidelity made the newspaper headlines).
It was following this climatic moment (which happened at about the 60-minute point) that A Summer Place then began to seriously lose a lot of its initial steam as it inevitably petered out into a rather sappy, "happy ending" fizzle.
Featuring a pretty competent cast, headlined by the likes of Richard Egan and (teen idol) Troy Donahue, A Summer Place was definitely quite an emotional, little roller-coaster ride at times, containing plenty of vicious muck-slinging, punctuated by equally damning jabs of biting dialogue.
When dealing maturely with sexual issues, A Summer Place was certainly a very frank and racy story for its day.
The one real standout performance that I think is worth mentioning in the film was that of Constance Ford who played Helen Jorgenson, Molly's brittle and hateful mother who repeatedly reared her ugly head as a nasty, sanctimonious hypocrite.
White people’s problems abound in this soapy upper-class riff on Romeo and Juliet starring yesteryear’s teen heartthrobs Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. Star-crossed lovers Molly Jorgenson and Johnny Hunter meet at Pine Island, a posh East Coast resort, and immediately rev their libidos into third gear despite their parents’ disapproval. Johnny’s dad owns the island getaway but has fallen on hard times thanks to poor financial sense and rampant alcoholism, a double whammy which his wife endures with the patience of a flaming martyr. Molly’s dad, a former employee of Mr. Hunter, is now a self-made millionaire who’s returned to the Island as a guest along with his wife, a frigid, social-climbing virago who will stop at nothing to secure a place amongst the island’s elite guests, even calling in a doctor to ensure her daughter is still a “good girl” after she and Johnny return from a suspiciously prolonged sailing date. But just as everyone settles in for a long summer of icy stares and innuendo Mr. Jorgenson and Mrs. Hunter decide to complicate things even further by rekindling an old romance via nightly visits to the boathouse. Heartbreak and scandal ensue... Rich cinematography and a syrupy score emphasize a script rife with horny teenage angst, racy 50s-style sex talk, and scads of gauzy close-ups; who else but Sandra Dee could survive a shipwreck with hairdo and lipstick intact? Naturally the film’s heady mix of lust and guilt set against a backdrop of crashing waves seems terribly dated by today’s standards rendering some of its more dramatic moments unintentionally humorous, but despite the inherent corniness and overwrought theatrics I still found it immensely entertaining.
This is worthy to rank with the best of Douglas Sirk. Delmer Daves draws some fine performances out of his actors--Egan, Kennedy and Ford are superb, while Sandra Dee holds her own, just. Hypocrisy and sexual frustration in 50's America; I'm always ready for this.
turgid melodrama at its best!
I don't know how many stars to give this, so I won't rate it. Horribly written, atrociously over-acted, this movie would have been ground breaking in 1959 and even to some extent, today.
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