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A Summer Place (1959)

A Summer Place (1959)

Richard EganDorothy McGuireSandra DeeArthur Kennedy
Delmer Daves


A Summer Place (1959) is a English movie. Delmer Daves has directed this movie. Richard Egan,Dorothy McGuire,Sandra Dee,Arthur Kennedy are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1959. A Summer Place (1959) is considered one of the best Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.

The Hunter family has long owned a mansion on Pine Island, a summer resort located off the Maine coast. Bart Hunter's now deceased father was able to open the mansion for free when Bart was younger, but current owner Bart, a drunkard and weak man, must now live there year round for financial survival with his wife Sylvia and their late teen-aged son Johnny, the family which is barely able to eke out a living with the mansion now as a year-round inn which is in an extreme state of disrepair. Bart and Sylvia are in a quietly unhappy marriage due largely to Bart's drinking. The Buffalo-based Jorgensons - husband Ken Jorgenson, his wife Helen Jorgenson and their late teen-aged daughter Molly Jorgenson - have rented rooms at the inn for the summer, while Ken looks for a summer house on the island. Ken lived on the island twenty years ago, he actually a working class lifeguard for Bart's father at that time. Ken is now a self-made millionaire as a research scientist, who had never been back...


A Summer Place (1959) Reviews

  • Romance For All The Family ?


    A cannily created slice of American romantic hokum is probably the best description that can be afforded this 1959 Warner Bros.production - A SUMMER PLACE! From the best selling novel by Sloan Wilson this story about the emerging sexual awareness in the young and the sexual re-awakenings in their seniors was written, produced and directed with a certain flair - it has to be said - by Delmer Daves. As with many of Daves' movies it was richly photographed in gorgeous Technicolor, and this time, by the great Harry Stradling on beautiful locations in and around the New England coast. Arriving for a vacation to Pine Island comes Molly - the attractive adolescent who instantly has the reciprocal hots for young Johnny (teen idol Troy Donahue), while her father (Richard Egan) takes up where he left off years before when he had a deep romantic entanglement with Johnny's mother (Dorothy Maguire) before she married alcoholic hotelier Bart Hunter (Arthur Kennedy turning in the best performance in the movie). The picture's outspoken attitude to sex caused something of a sensation to audiences in the sixties. Now fifty years later the sexual machinations depicted all seem pretty mild. Nonetheless in its day the film amassed a vast teen following and today is remembered with some fondness mostly because of Max Steiner's theme music. The Young Love Theme the veteran Warner composer wrote for the movie (71 years old at the time) became a smash hit virtually overnight in the sixties when a cover version was recorded by the Percy Faith orchestra! This sunny little tune is still played and is just as catchy today as it was fifty years ago. The versatile Steiner - fresh from scoring Warner's big cop epic "The FBI Story" and Daves' seminal Gary Cooper western "The Hanging Tree" - could cross over subject and thematic boundaries with little difficulty and score such things as this potent drama of teenage and adult love with equal dexterity. Besides the infectious Young Love Theme there is the picture's most dominant cue - The Adult Love Theme. This piece goes all the way back to 1932 when Steiner first wrote it for the Gary Cooper/Helen Hayes movie "A Farewell To Arms". But producer David O'Selznick rejected it at the time and the composer kept it on ice until he saw use for it 27 years later as the Main Theme for A SUMMER PLACE. And a blessing it is too for it works so wonderfully well in the later film! First heard over the titles - as the tide crashes against the rocks on the Maine Coast - it is given lush renditions throughout the picture. A hum-inducing, warm and thoroughly engaging piece with elegant harmonic stresses it is one of the composer's loveliest melodic inspirations. Its broadest and most ravishing versions are heard in the scenes with the older lovers (Egan and Maguire) for their nightly trysts in the boathouse ("I'm not pretty for you anymore - and I'm sorry about that"). Other lovely cues are the sprightly motif for Johnny and, scored for harp and strings, the tender music for scenes with Molly and her father. Also for scenes around the New England coast Steiner reuses another old piece of his - the sea cue he originally wrote for the 1946 Bette Davis picture "A Stolan Life". With A SUMMER PLACE writer producer director Daves hit upon a winning formula for this kind of glossy and attractive looking motion picture. He went on to successfully write, produce and direct three similar type films and all starring Troy Donahoe - "Parrish" (1961), "Susan Slade" (1961), "Rome Adventure" (1962) and, one other without Donahue, "Spencer's Mountain" (1963). These four pictures also had exceptional scores by the exceptional Max Steiner.

  • A New Love Born, An Old Love Rekindled


    One of the great young love romances ever done on the screen, A Summer Place is the story of two romances, one born and the other rekindled. Richard Egan and Constance Ford with their daughter Sandra Dee are returning to Pine Island, Maine where years ago before Egan became wealthy as a research chemist he was employed as a lifeguard and where he romanced one of the town beauties. Pine Island is like Kennebunkport, the private reserve of the Bush family. This is the private reserve of several old Yankee families who if they can't trace their ancestors on the Mayflower at least they go back to Puritans who might have found New England more hospitable than Restoration Great Britain. Egan's rented out several rooms from thinning blue blood Arthur Kennedy and his wife Dorothy McGuire. It was McGuire who Egan loved and lost those many years ago. Neither Egan and McGuire have found much happiness in their second choice for spouses. Constance Ford, a truly uptight and frigid woman from Buffalo has not kanoodled with Egan for years. You know he's good and ready. As for McGuire's marriage, Kennedy has all the airs of a patrician, but not the money any more. Did he lose it because of his alcohol problem, or is he drinking because the family fortune has gone? It's your choice. So Egan and McGuire discover each other and Sandra Dee discovers Kennedy and McGuire's son, Troy Donahue. Because of her mother, Dee's led a sheltered life and I'm betting the isolation of Pine Isle with its very few inhabitants hasn't improved Donahue's social skills either. The two kids are sadly a textbook case for sex education. Feeling betrayed by their parents, all of them when you come right down to it, the young people feel they have only each other. The passion multiplies exponentially. Right up there with the human cast members in making A Summer Place a big commercial hit for Warner Brothers is Max Steiner's theme, played when Dee and Donahue are together. It's popularity on the radio and jukeboxes sold many a ticket to this film. Egan and McGuire are also appealing in their way to discover their passions are still the same. The odd spouses out are also turning in fine performances. Arthur Kennedy who was never bad in any film he ever did is both arrogant and yet pitiable as the sad sack alcoholic. The villain of A Summer Place is really Ford, she's made life hell for Egan and Dee. Yet you wonder throughout the film what must have she been like back in the day for Egan to fall for her in the first place and what changed her. It's Eisenhower era America and the story is dated somewhat, but not all that much. I can see A Summer Place being a candidate for a remake, who would you cast in a remake among today's players?

  • A Sneaky Tub of Suds


    It's easy to mock this big tub of soap suds. What with the two baby-faced innocents and a ton of Dee's pouty close-ups, it's a generous slice of white bread, 50's style. But beneath all the teen-age angst and adult philandering lies a surprisingly subversive message for that uptight decade. Because, once things get sorted out over the 130 minutes, we find out a number of social rules have not only been broken, but their violation justified. For example: the storyline implies that teen sex may be okay as long as the kids truly love each other— a violation of the teenage abstinence rule; that unwed teen pregnancy need not be punished— a challenge to Production Code insistence; and that adultery may be okay if the spouses are in impossible marriages—a further erosion of that seemingly sacred institution. The overall idea, is that no matter what, true love forgives all. Now, this may seem pretty tame stuff 50-years later in our anything-goes era. But I guarantee, it was cutting edge Hollywood at the time, even if the messages were buried in a load of glossy make-believe. Responding to the slick package were lines of teens stretching around the block, and it wasn't just because of the catchy title tune. Then too, those folks curious about the breakdown of 50's conformity and the youth rebellion of the 60's should include this highly unexpected entry in their thinking. At the same time, writer-director Daves seems an unlikely source for both the message and the genre, with his background in adult Westerns, such as the classic 3:10 to Yuma (1957). Here, he's very shrewd in his casting of Hollywood veterans. There's the likably masculine Egan (Ken) and the saintly maternal McGuire (Sylvia). Between them, they make infidelity seem not only permissible, but required. Then there's the affably tipsy Kennedy (Bart) and the assertively witchy Ford (Helen). Between them, they make cuckolding seem not only permissible, but also required. Taken together, it's almost perfect type casting. My only reservation is with Ford who seems too aggressively mean to make her marriage believable. Daves is also a sneaky filmmaker since he wraps the controversial subtext in irresistible gloss. Few pictures of the era are as gorgeous as this one, and I'm not just talking about Donahue (who's even prettier than his co-star). Those Technicolor shots of the Carmel coastline are mesmerizing, along with the Lloyd Wright cliffside house. For visual contrast, compare this production with the thematically similar but dour-looking Blue Denim of the same year and also with two blonde innocents-- Brandon deWilde and Carol Lynley. The black&white Denim is the more earnest of the two, yet lacks the candy-box covering that giftwraps this production. Thus, for all its seriousness, Denim lacked the same teen drawing power and impact. Anyway, as mentioned, mocking the film is easy, what with all the soapsuds and two Photoplay leads. However, I salute Daves for knowing how to get his humane message across to a popular audience, despite providing grist for generations of smirking critics. Happily, Daves proves here that there was more to his filmmaking than a fast gun, Glenn Ford, and a slow train to Yuma.

  • Unforgettable


    I saw this movie as a teen in January 1960 and was totally mesmerized. So much so that I returned to watch it eight days in a row... It was so incredibly right for me at that time. Sandra Dee became like my goddess. I learned the dialogue practically by heart. I saw it again on DVD after 47 years. Very moving reminiscences. As the scenes unrolled it all came back, word for word. Few people seem to realize BTW(as to the music) that there are really two major themes in the film: the young love theme, which you hear for the first time around minute 15 (when Sandra is shown around the estate and its garden), and which while quite wonderful is relatively muted in comparison to the pop version (which should have somehow been included in the special features). And the quite different, and superb, main theme (slightly less than 2 minutes long) which opens the film. Frankly, in the context of the whole story I prefer the latter. The message of the movie remains as compelling as ever: there is nothing stronger than love, and love conquers all, or should. You bet! I don't know of any film which says it better.

  • There's a reason this one's a classic


    Although it's dated, naive, and more than occasionally melodramatic, this film is still a classic with a message that has a certain timelessness to it. It also boasts gorgeous cinematography, and excellent performances from Richard Egan, Constance Ford, and especially Dorothy McGuire and Sandra Dee. The plot, which is somewhat convoluted, is basically this: Twenty years before the beginning of the movie, Ken (Egan), a struggling college student, takes a summer job as a lifeguard at a resort island off the coast of Maine. While there, he meets and falls in love with Sylvia (McGuire), the daughter of a family staying on the island. Because he has no money, and no social standing, her parents decide against the match, and the two are forced to separate, each going off to an unhappy marriage. Ken weds Helen, the epitome of a frigid wife (played to perfection by Ford), so much so that you wonder how on earth she let him touch her long enough to create their daughter, Molly (Dee). Sylvia has fared little better, marrying Bart Hunter (Arthur Kennedy), a likable lush. They have a son, Johnny (a painfully wooden Troy Donahue), who, it turns out, is about the same age as Molly. Twenty years have brought a sort of reversal of fortunes to the two families, as Ken is now a self made millionaire, while Bart's family has so little money that they are forced to stay on the island year round. Ken has decided that a vacation is long overdue, and writes to Sylvia to see if his family can stay with hers on the island for the summer. Sylvia and Bart agree to this. Molly and Johnny develop an instant affection for each other, much to the chagrin of Molly's mother, while Ken and Sylvia's reunion rekindles their romance, with tragic consequences for all. While the issues of teen sexuality and adultery are hardly shocking to today's audiences, this was pretty daring in 1959, and the film handles them in a forthright way, only occasionally lapsing into melodrama or preaching. The focus on virginity seems especially old fashioned to a modern audience, and gives the film an unintended humorous aspect. Among the leads, the acting is uniformly strong except for Troy Donahue, whose performance is stilted and unsatisfying. Richard Egan manages to infuse enough warmth into his character that you are willing to forgive his sermonizing. Particularly touching is his portrayal of a father whose love and concern for his daughter knows no limits. Arthur Kennedy does a good job of making his drunken character human and sympathetic. Constance Ford zealously plays Helen with such menace and malice that you really enjoy the zingers thrown at her (Sylvia's "You seem to have an infinite capacity for hurt.", the doctor's "Mrs. Jorgenson, you're being less than no help at all," and Bart's response to Helen's "Don't tell me you're on their side!" with "Let's just say I'm not on yours."). Sandra Dee's doe-eyed innocence works beautifully in her portrayal of a young woman learning a few of life's lessons before she should. And Dorothy McGuire is charming as Sylvia, giving us a character we can't help liking even when she falls from grace. The film accurately portrays the attitudes of its time, which may make it less accessible to viewers who weren't around then. In spite of that, you find yourself caring about these characters, and their predicaments. All, in this is a highly enjoyable film, and well worth watching, especially if you're yearning to return to "a simpler time."


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