A Summer Place (film)
|A Summer Place|
|Directed by||Delmer Daves|
|Screenplay by||Delmer Daves|
|Based on||The novel of the same name by
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$2.8 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
A Summer Place is a 1959 romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Sloan Wilson. It was directed by Delmer Daves and stars Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. The film is now remembered mainly for one of its musical themes.
The story examines the adult lives of two onetime teen lovers, Ken (Egan) and Sylvia (McGuire), who were from different social strata. Ken was self-supporting, working as a lifeguard at Pine Island, an exclusive Maine resort, while Sylvia's nouveau riche family stayed as guests of the owners, one summer between years at college. They went on to marry different people – as it transpires, entirely the wrong people. Ken's wife Helen (Constance Ford) turns out to be frigid and shuts him out romantically, while Sylvia's husband Bart (Arthur Kennedy) (a former naval officer in World War II) becomes an alcoholic, gradually costing him the family fortune. Ken buries himself in the research chemist's job he finds after college, while Sylvia devotes herself first to charity work, then motherhood.
The saving grace of each marriage is their children, Sylvia's son Johnny (Troy Donahue) and Ken's daughter Molly (Sandra Dee). Ken and Sylvia meet again on Pine Island after twenty years, with Ken now wealthy through his chemistry work, while Bart has turned his family's mansion (their sole remaining asset) into an inn, which is failing. Johnny and Molly meet and fall in love, while Ken and Sylvia begin to cheat on their spouses with each other.
Helen disapproves of Johnny and Molly's romance and forbids Molly from seeing Johnny. Molly disobeys her mother and sees Johnny anyway. Helen eventually discovers Ken and Sylvia's affairs when Molly runs away. Ken and Sylvia eventually leave their spouses and marry.
Bart gains custody of Johnny to spite Sylvia and sends him to boarding school. Helen sends Molly to boarding school as well. Johnny and Molly reunite over Christmas but Helen finds out. Eventually, Johnny, Molly, Ken, and Sylvia unite as a family at their respective parents' house.
Bart ends up being taken to the Chelsea Naval Hospital for treatment of his alcoholism, but not until Johnny and Molly visit him requesting permission to marry, as Molly is pregnant. The movie ends with Molly and Johnny at Pine Island, happily married.
- Richard Egan as Ken Jorgenson
- Dorothy McGuire as Sylvia Hunter
- Sandra Dee as Molly Jorgenson
- Arthur Kennedy as Bart Hunter
- Troy Donahue as Johnny Hunter
- Constance Ford as Helen Jorgenson
- Beulah Bondi as Mrs. Emily Hamilton Hamble
- Jack Richardson as Claude Andrews
- Martin Eric as Todd Harper
Release and reception
The movie became popular after its release, but had a mixed critical reception. The 1960 hit "Theme from A Summer Place" (composed by Max Steiner), was arranged and recorded by Percy Faith and performed by his Orchestra, enriched and improved on a secondary musical theme of the film; it remains a classic of its era, reaching Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for nine consecutive weeks. An early instrumental version of the song was recorded by the group Los Nómadas but only gained "Top 40" recognition in Mexico, despite Zane Ashton's (also known as Bill Aken) distinctly "teen-pop" flavored arrangement. A vocal version, with lyrics by Mack Discant, was a hit for The Lettermen in 1965. Singer Dean Torrence referenced the song's melody in Jan and Dean's "Like a Summer Rain" in 1966. Recently, Kenneth Brager has done an electronic remake of it entitled "Love Won't Leave Me Alone".
In popular culture
The theme plays as Robert Neville (Charlton Heston) drives his late model car around the deserted streets of Los Angeles in the opening minutes of "The Omega Man" (1971). The theme of the movie was used at the end of the ABC-TV miniseries, Rose Red. The theme was also used during a scene between Tom Hulce (Pinto) and Sarah Holcomb (Clorette DePasto) during the toga party segment of National Lampoon's Animal House.
- A Summer Place at the Internet Movie Database
- A Summer Place at the TCM Movie Database
- A Summer Place theme by Percy Faith
- A Summer Place film trailer at Turner Classic Movies Media Room