Passionate Summer

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Passionate Summer
Passionate Summer (1958 film).jpg
Original British quad poster by Renato Fratini
Directed byRudolph Cartier
Screenplay byJoan Henry
Based onnovel The Shadow and the Peak by Richard Mason
Produced byKenneth Harper
George Willoughby
StarringVirginia McKenna
Bill Travers
Yvonne Mitchell
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byReginald Mills
Music byAngelo Francesco Lavagnino
Muir Mathieson (conductor)
Distributed byRank Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • 25 September 1958 (1958-09-25) (London, UK)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom

Passionate Summer is a 1958 British drama film directed by Rudolph Cartier and starring Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers and Yvonne Mitchell.[2] It is also known by the alternative title Storm Over Jamaica. It was based on a best-selling 1949 novel by Richard Mason called The Shadow and the Peak.[3]


A British schoolteacher moves to Jamaica to teach after a tumultuous divorce, and meets an exciting new woman.



The film was based on Richard Mason's novel The Shadow and the Peak which was published in 1949.[4] It was Mason's second novel, following The Wind Cannot Read, which the Rank Organisation had filmed with Dirk Bogarde. The New York Times called The Shadow and the Peake "diverting, it is humorous, it contains the necessary serious undertones."[5]

In March 1950 it was announced that Alec Guniness was weighing up whether to appear in The Mudlark at 20th Century Fox or The Shadow and the Peak from J. Arthur Rank.[6] Robert Hamer was to write and direct.[7]

Guinness elected to make The Mudlark and there were reportedly issues getting the script approved by the censor. In December 1951 Hamer said producer Michael Truman would be going to the US in January to negotiate changes to the script with the Breen Office (the US censor).[8] Hamer was to make the movie for Ealing and he wanted to star Vivien Leigh. Michael Balon reportedly gave his approval, then changed his mind, worried about the film's erotic content. This led to Hamer leaving Ealing.[9]

In December 1957 it was reported that film rights were owned by Kenneth Harper, who had offered the lead to Van Johnson, who had just made Action of the Tiger with Harper.[10]

In March 1958 it was announced the film would be made in Jamaica and at Pinewood Studios under the title of Passionate Summer starring Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers and Yvonne Mitchell. McKenna was coming off two large hits, A Town Like Alice and Carve Her Name with Pride. Stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers had married in real life in 1957. Filming began shortly after production had started on another Mason adaptation, The Wind Cannot Read.[11]

Director Rudolph Cartier was under contract to the BBC but was released to Rank to make the film.[12]


Variety said It "will do nothing for the reputation of the British film industry".[13]

The Monthly Film Bulletin said "any forebodings roused by the story outline of this film are thorough fulfilled."[14]

In the US, Passionate Summer was the name given to a French film starring Raf Vallone that came out in 1957. So the film was retitled in America as Storm Over Jamaica.

Box Office[edit]

The film was a box office failure. Travers later said that because of this he and McKenna became "less than favourites with the Rank Organisation".[15]


  1. ^ "PASSIONATE SUMMER - British Board of Film Classification".
  2. ^ "Passionate Summer (1958)" Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, BFI.
  3. ^ Goble, Alan (8 September 2011). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110951943 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ New Novels Hale, Lionel. The Observer (1901- 2003); London (UK) [London (UK)]23 Oct 1949: 7.
  5. ^ Among the New Novels: Miracle & Aftermath Queen's Gambit Lion-Killer Jamaica Ginger Mother Knows Best New York Times 26 Feb 1950: BR18.
  6. ^ KINGSLEY TO DIRECT 'DARKNESS AT NOON': Playwright Has Finished Half of Koestler Dramatization, Due Early Next Season New "Tobacco Road" Version By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 6 Mar 1950: 27.
  7. ^ LONDON - PARIS - HOLLYWOOD Morgan, J; Koval, Francis; Leonard, Harold. Sight and Sound; London Vol. 19, Iss. 4, (Jun 1, 1950): 152.
  8. ^ SCREEN SCENE ON THE THAMES: Maugham Mellows Toward Movies--Full SlateAt Ealing--Addenda Boom Fast Work Pot-Pourri By STEPHEN WATTS. New York Times 23 Dec 1951: X5.
  9. ^ The long shadow: Robert Hamer after Ealing Kemp, Philip. Film Comment; New York Vol. 31, Iss. 3, (May 1995): 70.
  10. ^ De Toth Sets Star Musical: 'Best Dancer' May Get Oscar; Scripts Pile Up for Johnson Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 9 Dec 1957: C13.
  11. ^ CURRENT ACTION ON BRITISH SCREEN FRONTS: British Lion's New Blood -- Wartime Heroine's Biography -- Other Items By STEPHEN WATTSLONDON. New York Times 23 Mar 1958: X5.
  12. ^ GOSSIP Filmer, Fay. Picture Show; London Vol. 70, Iss. 1830, (Apr 26, 1958): 3-4.
  13. ^ Review of film at Variety
  14. ^ PASSIONATE SUMMER Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 25, Iss. 288, (Jan 1, 1958): 144.
  15. ^ Shipman, David (1 April 1994). "Obituary: Bill Travers". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.

External links[edit]