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Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring (1971)

After finding out that the hippie lifestyle isn't as glamorous as the media makes it look, Dennie comes home to find disapproval and judgment at every turn, and her sister Susie wanting to follow in her footsteps.




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Complete credited cast:
Denise 'Dennie' Miller
Claire Miller
Lane Bradbury ...
Susie Miller
Ed Miller


Dennie has returned from a year among the hippies to her superficial, image-conscious suburban family. She must face their disapproval of her actions. They refuse to even try to understand. She must also deal with an ex-lover, and a beloved young sister who is following in her footsteps, wanting the idealistic hippie life but making some rash decisions in the process. Written by Molly Malloy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

16 February 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deadly Desire  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Claire Miller: [in a split-second flashback] Denise!
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Different Day
Music by Earl Robinson; Lyrics by Bruce Feldman
Performed by Linda Ronstadt
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gidget goes counter culture...
3 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

I, like others, saw this movie during a rebroadcast one afternoon late in 1971. At the time I was in the third grade and apparently impressed enough by this movie to remember it 35 years later. (I especially remembered the scene where Dennie "pretend plays" with her dolls and doll house alone in her bedroom). It turns out this movie was in a bargain bin of DVDs for one dollar and I was finally able to see it again. At the time this movie debuted in 1971, Sally Field had just completed the series "The Flying Nun" which had been canceled. In 1971 TV audiences must've been shocked by this drastic change in character in contrast to the squeaky clean image Ms. Fields had been known for on TV. Audiences in 1971 were not ready to accept her drastic change in character and unfortunately did not recognize her versatility as an actor. I found this movie especially poignant since I had an older teenage brother who left home and went to live with his dad during the same time.

"Maybe I'll Come Home In the Spring" is a first rate TV movie about a then extremely relevant issue with good acting, a good script, and a first rate title song sung by a first rate artist--Linda Ronstadt before she achieved superstar status. Where the movie lags is in its excessive flashbacks and a party scene which is rather ridiculous and unnecessarily dramatic. However, production values and direction are excellent, especially for a TV movie. The movie draws the viewer in immediately and keeps its attention, from its interesting beginning starting with Dennie hitch hiking her way across the country with a narration voice over of her speaking on the telephone as she reestablishes contact with her parents. She gingerly approaches the topic of returning home by casually telling them, "Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring", hence the movie's title. Poignant, right from the start!

Sally Fields plays Dennie, a young woman who returns home after a hippie sojourn which didn't work out. David Carradine plays "Flack", the hippie boyfriend who deserted her and Eleanor Parker is the super image conscious mother Dennie must confront and learn to communicate with again.

The rest of the movie deals with Dennie's adjustment and reintegration into the family while she reflects on her sojourn. Her major problem is being ignored by her parents and a mother who simply hasn't a clue why she left in the first place and doesn't understand her. Meanwhile, her younger sister begins to romanticize Dennie's hippie sojourn and copies it, in spite of the older sister's attempts to dissuade her and warn her of the negative consequences of doing drugs.

The movie bluntly shows the audience the reality and negative consequences of living the hippie lifestyle, vis a vis Dennie's experience which is shown in a series of quick flashbacks. At the time, the public's perception and romance with the hippie lifestyle was being drastically altered and portrayed quite negatively by the media thanks to the Charles Manson trial which was in full swing at the time.

In fact, the film is definitely bias against the counter culture relying heavily on stereotypes promoted by the media while in fact not all hippies are meth addicts and rummage through the garbage, etc. Many held jobs and contributed to society or held jobs and lived on self supporting communes. One scene which I dislike, told in a flashback shows Dennie's boyfriend, Flack high on Meth and crashing through a window in slow motion not once but THREE times while Field's character cries "Flaaaaaack!"

Having stated that, this movie was remarkably realistic. There is a lot of yelling and screaming and door slamming in it, and many teen agers who lived during that era can probably relate to it, especially those who got fed up and ran away from home. Sally Fields is especially good at these types of brooding, nuanced performances. She was around 24 at the time this was filmed but could easily pass for sixteen in this movie. The viewing public was not ready for this type of drastic change from her squeaky clean "good" girl portrayals to this "bad" girl characterization. It would be another four years before she would have the opportunity to prove to the TV watching public her versatility as an actor playing a schizophrenic with multiple personalities in "Sybil". After that, it would be another four years for her to achieve superstar status in her Oscar winning performance as "Norma Jean". When Ms. Field's stated "You like me, you really like me" she was referring to the public's acceptance of her as a versatile actor who could play various roles, not just the squeaky clean ones but complex, nuanced characters as well.

I recently saw Ms. Fields on the "Ellen" show where she talked about being typecast and how much she wanted to play more diverse and interesting characters, but she simply wasn't offered such roles because of "Gidget". Patty Duke would've been good in this type of roll because she already had a "bad" girl reputation at the time.

I give this movie three stars *** out of five.

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