A Summer Place (1959)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  18 November 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,040 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 18 critic

A self-made businessman rekindles a romance with a former flame while their two teenage children begin a romance of their own with drastic consequences for both couples.



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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ken Jorgenson
Molly Jorgenson
Bart Hunter
Johnny Hunter
Constance Ford ...
Helen Jorgenson
Mrs. Emily Hamilton Hamble
Jack Richardson ...
Claude Andrews
Martin Eric ...
Todd Harper, Handyman at Pine Island Inn


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 who are 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 ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Sommerinsel  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Initial considerations for the role of Helen Jorgenson included Teresa Wright and Olivia de Havilland. See more »


When Johnny and Molly meet outside church during Christmas break, except for patches of (fake) snow, all foliage and grass is green. See more »


Helen Jorgenson: Très jolie, as the French would say. Très, très jolie!
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Referenced in Ocean's Eleven (2001) See more »


Composed by Franz Liszt
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the first and best teen love stories ever!!!!!
26 September 2000 | by (cincinnati, ohio) – See all my reviews

This is one of the first films to deal with young love, and is by all means one of the best! The story centers primarily on Molly and Johnny, two teenagers who are deeply, madly, and wildly in love, but their parents just won't have it. It seems their parents are willing to do just about everything to keep them apart. Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue are both magnificent as the star-crossed lovers. All right, so Troy seems a little stilted at times, but Sandra is perfection as the beautiful young girl who constantly finds herself at odds with her eagerness to do the right thing, and fulfilling her love for Donahue. Dee hits all the right marks as the emotionally troubled girl, delivering what is possibly her all-time best performance. It was certainly a breakthrough for the gifted young star who proved that she could do more than play smiling, giggling, relentlessly perky teens. It's a magnificent achievement, and anyone who has ever doubted Sandra's acting abilities are in for a big surprise when they see her in this film. Other acting honors go to Richard Egan and Constance Ford as Dee's unhappy parents, and the always marvellous Dorothy McGuire as Egan's old flame. That's not to say that the actors don't stumble at times with some supremely silly dialogue, but their star power and great talent rides rather smoothly over the film's bumpy spots, making this film an enjoyable classic of the teenage-angst genre. It's also one of the most stylishly done films in the genre. The great director Delmer Daves gives the film his full attention, and it's a sleek, colorful production that ranks right up there with other films with similarly-related themes like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS for example. It all may seem rather dated, but truthfully, this film is just as enjoyable now as it was when it was first released in 1959, and that title theme is still hauntingly beautiful and memorable.

26 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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