Summer of '42 (1971) Poster


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This movie is better left a pleasant memory than to watch it again.
BobbyT2425 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I remember watching this in high school. It was one of those "wish I was Hermie" moments with one look at Jennifer O'Neill. I think any teenage boy would fall in love/lust with just one look at her. If you would have asked my IMDb score when I was 15, my answer would have been 10 out of 10.

"Nostalgia is one helluva drug," as the saying goes...

The cinematography was exquisite. The settings, magnificent. Of course, the music is still timeless. Jennifer O'Neill... extraordinarily luminous. However... If movies have a shelf life, this one's expired somewhere in the early-80s. What I never considered about this movie was just how poorly written and acted this story really was as a film. My understanding is this was based on a true encounter for the author. I'm sure he had wonderful memories of that lady. I wish those memories would have been translated into a more enjoyable viewing experience.

I don't know who cast this movie in 1971, but the actors acted like an early-'70s beginning actors' workshop. All were stiff, forced and delivered lines like they read the simplistic script off-screen, stepped in front of the camera and regurgitated those basic words or tried to improv the rest. There was no chemistry between Hermie and Dorothy. The three friends were as dopey as they were supposed to be funny and charming. The dialogue delivered throughout could have been written by a horny, male teenager who wanted to impress his WWII-era teacher without studying language truly spoken in 1942. When everyone looks like they are acting in a school play with just beautiful scenery behind them... you get my drift.

The music, however, sets a gorgeous tone. I'd forgotten the theme piece plays throughout. It's beautiful melody weaves a spell over the audience to understand young love and all it's charm. The score most assuredly stands the test of time.

The movie's coming-of-age story is sweet, lovely, full of nostalgia... but not innocent. As other reviewers have stated on this site, this is statutory rape by the stunning female lead. We can't gloss over that fact, as beautiful as the scenery surely is. Sure, Dorothy is exceedingly sad and effervescent. Sure, Hermie has been chasing and dreaming about her since the film's opening shot. Sure, the island is one romantic location after another in a lost time we all reminisce about in our dreams... but she's still a pedophile in her actions. Every underage person has had a crush on an older person. It's unlawful for the older person to act on it. The story also had to only have been written by a male. If this would have been a female's perspective, having a 20-something widower taking advantage of a smitten 15yo girl would have a completely different reaction from the audience, no matter the era this movie was filmed.

The final line in the movie sums up how basic the storyline is: "In the Summer of '42,... Benji broke his watch, Oski gave up the harmonica, and in a very special way, I lost Hermie... forever." The entire movie just felt... basic. I wanted to love this movie again. I NEEDED to love it again. But some things can't catch their original magic once you open the bottle a second time.

I would only recommend this to people who want a sweet look at 1942 New England island life with a haunting melody playing you into a trance. It's very beautiful, serene and worth the trip into our past for that portion of the movie. If you're looking to reminisce about a great story from your childhood, you'll be disappointed. My recommendation: Buy the soundtrack - preferably with a cover featuring Jennifer O'Neill's lovely face. Sit in a quiet room near the ocean with the music playing in the background. And reminisce about lost time and your own lost loves for the soundtrack's entirety. You will be rewarded far more than watching this film. I'm sad this viewing robbed me of a beautiful memory in my youth. Sometimes, nostalgia is better left in the past, much like this movie should have been.
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Good movie
rhawk-509709 September 2017
An enjoyable movie that brings back memories of a more innocent time. In the drug store scene there is a Phillip Morris poster behind Hermie as he stood in front of the counter which says, "Call for Phillip Morris in 1942 and always". I found the exact same poster in like new condition in an old house that I bought years ago for renovation.
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Summer of 42 was perfect for 1971...
calvinnme14 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
...because - outside of the music - the 70s is a decade most of us in America would just as soon forget. There was inflation, an unpopular war, a disgraced president, gas lines, and shag carpet. The thing is, most of the things I just mentioned hadn't even happened yet, but by 1971 there was a feeling that our best days were over and we were in a downhill slide as a country. So it would be natural to look backwards at the 30's - there were lots of A list 70s films set during the Great Depression - and also at the 1940s. Summer of 42 is set at a time when the U.S. didn't know how WWII was all going to turn out, but in 1971 we knew it was our finest hour, and there was a desire to revisit that time.

Summer of '42 is a very well-done and entertaining movie. It certainly presents what I would guess is a pretty accurate view of the time and place and what adolescents were like at the time. That for me is its greatest merit. I wouldn't call it a great movie, but it's certainly a good one. I always feel a little sorry for any kid whose nickname is Hermie. Yikes.

At first glance "Summer of 42" is merely another coming of age film wherein a teenager falls in love with an "older" woman and lives the summer dream of every adolescent boy, but first glances can be wrong. Gary Grimes delivers a strong performance, but the gem in this movie is Jennifer O'Neil. This stunningly beautiful woman delivers a remarkably haunting performance as the "suddenly" widowed young bride who dream walks into one night of sexual searching with a local teen. Her performance is so sensual yet innocent of any feelings of guilt, her one night is a gentle embrace of life, not sexual release or wantonness, a perfect performance from a actress we got to see far to little of.
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Oh,Where Were Girls Like This When We Was Comin' Up ?
John T. Ryan25 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
WELL NOW, HERE'S one that we hadn't seen in some time; even ever since its original release in 1971. We really hadn't given it much thought at all and therefore, weren't planning on screening it. This is, after all, a "women's picture", a "chick flick" and certainly not the sort of fare that would show up on the male oriented cable channel, SPIKE. (Conversely we don't see COPS being screened on THE HALLMARK CHANNEL, right Schultz ?)

IF WE SEEM to be just a tad harsh and unfair on THE SUMMER OF '42, we beg your forgiveness. In actuality, it has a much broader base of varying types whose grading of it would be surprisingly high. When views are taken from all angles, we find it to be a much more complex a film with (believe it or not) a very masculine, if adolescent, bias. The story is, after all, centered on the sighting of a beautiful, young bride on this summer vacation community, by a threesome of healthy, red-blooded American teen-aged boys.

WHILE WE SEE that the point of view is that of some middle class Jewish kids, that is not a limiting factor. The socio-economic stratum as well as the ethnicity represented would not have mattered in the story's rendering. We just don't see that the kids of Blue Collar, proletariat families would be spending the whole Summer at the Oceanside. A week maybe or even ten days, but certainly it wouldn't be longer.

BUT AS WE said before, the reactions and basic nature of the beast (the Male Animal) is universal, hereditary, genetic and unmistakably masculine.

WHAT SEEMS TO be the sealing ingredient here is that it is the telling of a story from author Herman Raucher's own life. In recent years, the story came out that he was contacted by the real life "Dorothy", who then just as quickly returned to her desired anonymity.

IF YOU HAVEN'T seen it do it. Isn't that right, Schultz ?
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He's Fifteen For Goodness Sake
kacarrol-783-57728525 May 2017
Funny how given the right musical score, narration, setting and adult having sex with a child is considered an "awakening" by some. Yes, I liked the movie years ago, but I know better now. Since the 70's, we better monitor such "splendor". The problem is that adults in the same situation can envision themselves in some kind of "Summer of 42", but all it is without the musical score and great criminal activity.
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He's Fifteen For Goodness Sake
kacarrol-783-57728525 May 2017
Funny how given the right musical score, narration, setting and adult having sex with a child is considered an 'awakening by some. Yes, I liked the movie years ago, but I know better now. Since the 70's, we better monitor such "splendor". The problem is that adults in the same situation can envision themselves in some kind of "Summer of 42", but all it is without the musical score and great criminal activity.
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A very different time - not long ago.
john_vance-2080613 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
You can argue forever about the morality/legality of what's portrayed here. You can roll your eyes over the implausibility factor. But I'm ready to set those aside to drink in a world of far greater simplicity and time for reflection. Simplicity and reflection are anathema for a teenager of today, but Summer of '42 suggests they could use more of it.

The combination of Mr Raucher's book and this movie re-creates a societal atmosphere that characterized American life for 200 years and was swept away in a couple of decades. Our lives today are never off the hook. From childhood to senescence we now exist in a whirlwind of activities and communications that go 24/7/365. There are more texts than we can answer, more entertainment than we can experience and more responsibilities than we can meet.

Hermie and his friends travel in a sphere that is hard to imagine for anyone under the age of 70. No television, far fewer phones, slow transportation. No computers, microwaves, air-conditioning, video games. The city streets weren't chock-a-block with McDonald's and the residential streets weren't jammed with McMansions. What they did have was time. And if you were young, you had lots and lots of time to be filled in on your own.

Hermie thinks a lot about a lot of things. He doesn't have much help to sort out the details of his adolescent angst and confusion, but he doesn't have many distractions either. He's experiencing the same pain and fear of growing up as we all do, but he's got the freedom and space to work through them at his own pace. He's very troubled and uncertain but he's not getting blasted with imagery and information that has little connection with the real world he is going to be facing.

Summer of '42 is schmaltzy, even cheesy, but to imagine a time when a quiet empty field, forest or beach was the norm rather than the exception is an experience to savor.
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theoneandonlyjimmypage15 March 2017
Ha!It was the best of times it was the worst of times? Dick Clark had not yet invented teenagers.This is about discovering love and death. It waits for all. In our expectations, secrets, fears ...and our romantic sense of self. Self image when none was present. A film that will catch you up with every baby boomer from the greatest to the least.
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Low-Key Gem
dougdoepke5 March 2017
Hats off to writer Raucher and crew. They've managed to overcome a lack of plot, action, and pizazz with a coming-of-age movie that's about as sensitively told and captivating as any on record. Those coastal vistas and wooden structures reach near poetic levels of time past. Having been young in the late 1940's, there's a lot of nostalgia in the radio programming and ads of the time. And I can certainly testify to the restrictive sexual norms of the period. Going into a drugstore and risking a dressing down was like a rite of passage for many teenage boys. Otherwise, hope lay in some obliging gas station with a coin operated dispenser in the men's room.

Grimes really registers as the sexually naïve Hermie, while O'Neill shines as any boy's dream girl. For Hermie, conflicting signals from his hormones, buddies, and society have left him achingly confused. (Here actor Grimes's subtle staring into the distance speaks volumes.) But instead of Hermie easing his way along with the plain-faced Aggie, he's obsessed with an older woman, Dorothy (O'Neill). Trouble is she's already emotionally wedded to her overseas army boyfriend. So he pines at the same time he manages a helpful relationship with her at her seaside cabin. Just what he's hoping for, we can't be sure. On top of that, his two buddies are no help to his dilemma. Seldom have older movies conveyed the foolish antics of teenage boys as effectively as this, as they push each other around both physically and mentally. More importantly, it's a realistic background on which to frame Hermie's sensitive instincts. At the same time, kudos should go to Houser and Conant as Hermie's unhelpful buddies.

I guess my only reservation's with the seduction scene. I can't figure out Dorothy's motivation coming on top of the heart-wrenching telegram. I would think sex with another guy would be furthest from her mind. But there we are. Maybe if they'd had her tipsy drunk that would have helped. But that would also have compromised the ambiguity of her act. Is she just using Hermie as a comfort object; is she tenderly inducting him into adulthood in a selfless act; or is she just escaping anguish in any way she can. Perhaps it's a mix of them all in some kind of foggy way. But, since the story's factually based, we have to assume the circumstances really happened in some private manner.

(Several minor points- Judging from poor plain Aggie, there's likely a story behind her dilemma as touching as Hermie's. Dorothy's long straight 1970's hair style is definitely not 1940's. Women coiffed their hair in those days. Note that the iconic old movies referenced are all Warner Bros. 40's features. Not surprising since this production is from the same studio.)

Anyway, the film remains a superbly wrought remembrance of a time gone by, as poignantly relevant now as it was then. A big salute to all involved.
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A Unique Place In My Heart
Mike_Yike8 February 2017
The movie is funny, tender and nostalgic. It explicitly refers to the good old days of the 40s, good old days if you were too young for the military and even too young to understand the horror of war. And three of the four main characters were of that age, consequently WWII is not really a factor through almost all of the movie. That's perfectly okay. It was not a war movie. It was a coming-of-age movie, and it pulls that off pretty well.

On the personal side, I saw Summer of '42 at a drive-in when it came out, over 45 years ago. I was 21 years old at the time and the 15 year-old boys who were in the coming-of-age stage of their young lives was something I saw with a bit of humor, and nostalgia. Six or seven years earlier I could have been one of those naive kids making amazing discoveries, sometimes the hard way. I might have even daydreamed about meeting a young, pretty woman and befriending her.

Many decades later I again saw Summer of '42. This time on TCM. I again felt nostalgic as I watched the three pals passing through both a trying, and wonderful time of life, and I remembered too seeing it the first time in a drive-in. I kind of miss those days too. It makes for an odd "double nostalgia" emotion.
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A Summer Begins and a Summer Ends
Hitchcoc26 December 2016
This is such a touching film. It starts out as a kind of slice of life piece with a couple teenage boys goofing around and acting more worldly than they are. They are confined to a seashore that is their restricted place for this time. One is a sensitive kid; his buddy is brash and overbearing. They discuss sex and hope to have some kind of encounters with the girls they meet during their the summer. Hermie, the sensitive one, is dragged beyond his comfort level by Oscie who is ready for anything. They meet some girls and Hermie uncomfortably tries to put moves on one of them, but it is futile. Oscie is successful in a kind of sad, unfulfilled way. Things change when Hermie sees a beautiful young wife who lives on the beach. He is taken with her. She is married to a soldier (it is World War II). He begins to help her whenever he can. She is kind and grateful. She is also not portrayed as anything sordid. She is a young woman who lives on the beach. When Hermie finds her husband has died, he experiences an adult moment. The music and the cinematography are gentle and sentimental. This is a really nice movie.
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"Come on. You KNOW what for."
classicsoncall28 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out and not again till a couple of nights ago. Even with the passing of four decades my reaction to the story's resolution hasn't changed. The way Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill) responds to the news of her husband's death doesn't resonate in any realistic way with this viewer. You can rationalize Dorothy's action to a need for compassion and solace if you want to, but to look to a fifteen year old boy for it just doesn't work for me. Had the film kept it's approach to a light hearted, 'American Graffiti' sort of sensibility it would have been a lot more believable. The movie theater scene and Oscy's (Jerry Houser) breathless exuberance in consummating his first sexual experience were well written and funny scenes, certain to bring back fond memories of one's own 'first time'. Even Hermie's (Gary Grimes) wistful encounters with Dorothy were realistic and dealt with youthful fantasy in a way that most viewers can relate to. Perhaps if the bedroom scene with Hermie and Dorothy had been handled as a dream sequence, their characters would have maintained a certain integrity that was diminished by what actually happened. As tastefully as it was done, I couldn't help thinking that the wrong message was being delivered here.
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Coming of Another Forgotten Age
DKosty12315 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
As we get more and more past the WW2 generation, this film will become a forgotten piece of trivia. It was popular when it was released because of the memories of a time past were still fresh. In reality this one is aging for some very distinct reasons.

It represents the apex of Jennifer O'Neill's career. It is without a doubt her best role. The rest of her career has been a futile pursuit of another role it's equal. So far that has never happened.

This one represented every teenage boys dream when lots of baby boomer's were teens. Attractive woman in early 20's, desperate for attention, offers herself to a 15 year old boy. In this story they are 2 ships passing in the night as they only have one encounter. In the real world, this boy would be like the Energizer Bunny if he scored a beauty like this one. In fact, with this level of maturity, if he did tire of this woman, he would try and introduce his friends to her.

The film has many moments of silence, drama, and the viewer is expected to think of these moments as yearning for another age of the past which no longer happens. Everyone back during the baby boom had these types of moments. Today, with all the distractions away from this kind of stuff, there would be little in common for most folks with what happens here.

One thing this film did glorify is the older woman surrendering to the younger boys physical charms. This movie might have helped create the current generation of women school teachers who have victimized their young male students. As the memories of this film and of the greatest generation fades, I have a feeling the next generation of teachers will have more of an attraction for electronic devices than they will for young boys.

The only interest they will have in young boys will be in finding ones who can master electronic devices at a younger age. The age of romance is over, and the summer of 42 and sequel class of 44 are long ago past.
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Thank You, TCM -- Thank You for bringing Dorothy back to me!
WorthlessKnowledge14 December 2015
A fantastic coming-of-age classic, I saw the first release in a theater in 1971 as a young teenager. It's now been resurrected thanks to TCM, where I saw it aired on Dec. 14, 2015. The film is as great as ever, and Dorothy + the haunting music still tug at my heart - even after 44 years!

Jennifer O'Neill has an almost magical beauty that is simply beyond physical description. And like millions of other starry-eyed teen-age boys, Dorothy was absolutely my first love. One of my favorite movie scenes |of all time| is when she raises up on tiptoe to sweetly kiss Hermie's forehead. ANY boy who doesn't fall for Dorothy at exactly that moment will never really know love or romance.

And even though I still watch it feeling that old familiar pain (and an unspoken kinship with Hermie): God Bless You Dorothy (and Jennifer) for helping me come of age with true love in my heart. I still have it.
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Sweetness and humor disguise it's decadence
snowcpl1 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film when it came out and, coincidentally, was also 15 years old.

I loved it!

But I didn't stay 15. I later joined and eventually retired from the military.

I met and knew hundreds of military spouses, and I am confident that, upon learning of their husband's/wife's death in combat, none of them would have reacted by having sex with a child.

This movie is vile. It insults everyone who lost a loved one fighting for their country. That reviewers rate this movie a 7.3 is a telling indictment of our failing and declining culture.
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Oscy is the star character
SnoopyStyle29 November 2015
Hermie (Gary Grimes) recalls the summer of 42 on Nantucket Island when he was 15 with his family on summer holidays. His best friends are Oscy and Benjie. The boys are sex obsessed and Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill) is Hermie's biggest obsession. New bride Dorothy sends her husband off to war leaving her alone in the beach house. He helps her carry the grocery home. Oscy picks up three girls at the movies. Oscy chooses the pretty blonde Miriam and leaves Hermie with the mousy Aggie. Benjie runs off and Gloria also leaves.

I think every guy has had an Oscy in his life during that age or maybe was the Oscy of the group himself. Oscy gives a nostalgic realism feel to this memory laden movie. Dorothy is a fantasy that is understandable by all men past the teenage years. The young guys fit their roles very well. Jennifer O'Neill is pretty. I wouldn't say anybody acted exceptionally well but they all do their parts. This has the condom buying scene plus other coming-of-age standards. There is a really slow climatic scene which feels odd for the subject matter in the modern sense.
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Timeless Classic Of What All Young Men Dreamed
davidpeters-385468 April 2015
Life was simpler. Love was stronger. And each day was a new adventure. I have the DVD and watch this movie at least once every 2 or 3 years. It never gets old, I always see new things or hear new dialog. No great message or political statement, just makes you feel good to be back in the day. The acting was great because you get so involved with the characters you lose the fact of who they really are. The situations are very real for those of us that lived during that period or even into the 50s and 60s. The dialog may seem a little corny, but that is the way we were when I grew up, clumsy and not very cool. The use of the wind throughout the movie gave it the beach feel that I used to get when I went to the beach on the Gulf coast, so the movie takes you away to a past that could have been.
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Did Dorothy Rape Hermie?
disinterested_spectator13 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
In a way, this movie is a companion piece with "The Way We Were" (1973). As I noted in my review of that movie, the scene where Katie first has sex with Hubbell challenges our attitude about rape and the double standard. In that case, it had to do with having sex with someone too drunk to have given consent. "Summer of '42," on the other hand, challenges our attitude about rape and the double standard when it comes to having sex with someone too young to have given consent.

With both movies, we pretty much have the same three time periods: the 1940s, when the movies were set; the early 1970s, when the movies were made; and today, when we watch them from the perspective of the twenty-first century. In "Summer of '42," a 15-year-old boy named Hermie falls in love with a 22-year-old woman named Dorothy. One evening, she gets word that her husband's plane has been shot down over France, and he is dead. She and Hermie have sex, and the next day she is gone.

I never really cared for this movie, but that is neither here nor there. The sense of it was that Dorothy, in her grief, turns to Hermie for affection, and that what happens is a deeply meaningful and positive experience for him. Now, I don't know what the laws were in Massachusetts in 1942, but I am pretty sure that in most states, if a 22-year-old man had sex with a 15-year-old girl, he would be guilty of statutory rape, and if found out would be sent to prison, especially when the jury was told that he had sex with her on the very night he found out his wife had been killed, for that would make him seem callous. Should we condemn the man but excuse the woman? Did Dorothy deserve to go to prison for rape, just as a man would?

Once again, as with "The Way We Were," we have a situation in which there is consent after the fact, in this case, when the boy becomes a man. Does that matter? And if it does, what would our attitude toward Dorothy be if the adult Hermie was psychologically harmed? And once again we have to distinguish between the attitudes existing when the movie was set, when it was made, and the attitudes we have today.

Even today, the double standard lends itself to late-night humor. Typical was when Jay Leno was discussing a story about a female teacher that had sex with one of her male students, leading Leno to ask in exasperation, "Where were these teachers when I was in Junior High?" Humor aside, could "Summer of '42" be made today? More to the point, could such a story be told in a contemporary setting? Probably not. But I wonder if that represents a genuine change in attitude, or simply a fear that the movie would not be well received. I, for one, would have a hard time condemning Dorothy, even if the story were set in the present, just as I would have a hard time condemning Katie for what she did to Hubbell, even if the story were set in the present.
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Life Altering
joy-106-30751431 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Warning! Spoilers in this review. I was young and naive when I saw this film. About 15 years old I think. It truly both educated me, and changed my life. This was the first time I became aware that others had feelings comparable to the ones that I had. The scene where Hermie has to buy the rubbers is hilarious. The druggist was perfectly casted. It's hard to imagine nowadays that it used to be against the law to sell condoms to people under a certain age. Anyway, I strongly suggest reading the book before seeing the movie. It allows you to know what thoughts are going through Hermie's head throughout the film. For instance, there is one scene where he is holding the ladder as she puts items in the attic. In the film you simply see him smiling and appearing nervous. In the book there are probably two full pages of description of what he is thinking at that moment.
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beautiful scenery, affecting nostalgia, so-so story
daviddaphneredding1 June 2014
In this 1971 Warner Brothers movie, set against the Nantucket Island backdrop of WWII, the nostalgia was great, strongly taking people back to the era of the early 40's. Nantucket was very appealing in this story, the coastal waters being very refreshing as well. As for the acting, Jennifer O'Neill portrayed so well the part of the lady with whom the young teenage boy became so taken. (Gary Grimes acted so well the part of the immature boy taken with her so strongly.) Jerry Houser was definitely an immature boy. But the storyline is not original. In their adolescent years, only a small number of boys do not find themselves fantasizing about some female they come upon and, as in this case, sometimes the women are too "old" for them; Grimes was a high school boy and O'Neill was somewhere in her middle 20's. In short, an adolescent boy meets an attractive older woman, he becomes strongly infatuated with her, and neither knows nor cares how the situation will resolve itself. The ending did and did not surprise me. To recapitulate, I was impressed with the nostalgia, the color and scenery were drawing, but the storyline was mediocre.
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One of the best coming-of-age films
All_Is_Well_In_NJ20 February 2014
The last line of the film says it all... the teenage angst, the melancholia that the movie leaves behind, the longing for something better, more fulfilling, yes, even happiness. For me, it left the same feelings that the last episode of the "Wonder Years" TV show did -- life went on without the two who could have been the loves of their lives. "I was never to see her again. Nor was I ever to learn what became of her. We were different then. Kids were different. It took us longer to understand the things we felt. Life is made up of small comings and goings. And for everything we take with us, there is something that we leave behind. In the summer of '42, we raided the Coast Guard station four times, we saw five movies, and had nine days of rain. Benji broke his watch, Oscy gave up the harmonica, and in a very special way, I lost Hermie forever."
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The summer that changed Hermie forever.
TxMike8 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I recall seeing this movie, probably in the theater, back in the 1970s, but had not seen it since then. So I found the DVD at my public library and popped it in the BD player last night.

I wasn't mature (old) enough the first time to really appreciate this movie. It is a lot funnier than I remember it, but funny in a truthful way, the way it depicts 15-yr-old boys, on summer vacation, and more than a bit obsessed with the female body and sex.

Gary Grimes at 15 played 15-yr-old Hermie, and the movie is shown from his perspective. He is on the vacation east-coast island with his two buddies Oscy and Benjie. Typical of a boy that age (I seem to remember) he caught a glimpse of a lovely woman, Jennifer O'Neill, 22 during filming, as Dorothy who shared a cottage with her husband. He was smitten and of course, being basically a shy boy with no illusions that a lovely 22-yr-old would ever look twice at him, simply lived his fantasy in his mind.

However as young luck ("when preparation and opportunity meet") would have it, Hermie happens upon Dorothy as she is coming out of the local grocery story, arms overladen with bags, and he offers to help and even carry them home for her. On a different day she asks him to help her place some boxes in the attic, all innocent on her part, but for Hermie it was almost like they were dating.

The movie also has a few scenes with Hermie and Oscy meeting up with a couple of local girls, exploring their sexuality, but the main story is Hermie coming of age, so to speak.

It is interesting that neither O'Neill nor Grimes achieved any particular acting fame after this, even though they are great here, in one of the more memorable movies of the 1970s.

SPOILERS: As Dorothy and Hermie get to be better friends and more comfortable with each other, Hermie tells her he will visit one evening. As he gets there he sees a fresh telegram, it was wartime and her husband died in France. She was distraught, she needed some comfort and Hermie was the only one she could reach out to. She escorted him to the bedroom and they shattered his innocence. The next day when he went to the house he found a note on the door, she had left, and in an adult voice-over signifying some years later, Hermie says he never saw her again but that his old self also disappeared that summer.
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Two things come to mind
parky3620 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First off it as someone else pointed out rape. If you like that sort of thing have your head checked. I found it disturbing but does not surprise me from the era of the "me" generation.

The other area that I find very disturbing was the path of the time-line. We were engulfed in a horrific period of time where bloodshed eclipsed anything we ever knew and this movie did one thing it trivialized it. Losing a husband with such a deep bond and thinking it okay to have a sexual relationship during mourning is sickening.

This author is a pervert, is sick, and I for one find this movie nothing but offensive. I am sorry for those of you who liked it, you might want to think about your own mental health to tell you the truth because the theme here is one of a depraved mind. This is as far form a classic that I have ever seen and this is coming form someone with a very healthy view of life, fully Maslow engaged, and stability in every facet. I do not need to see a movie ingratiating sex. This is delusion, it is greed, it is deprivation and packaged in nice clothes, all the elements of wrong headed life.
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All-Time Classic, but wait...
jvk1326 August 2011
This wonderful film is definitely in my top 10 films of all time. I agree with all of the other positive comments on this film. The only thing I could possibly add is that this is one of those special situations where the film is absolutely beautiful, but he book by Herman Raucher is EVEN BETTER.

I saw the film first, totally loved it, and didn't think there would be any way the book would measure up. But when you read it, you realize that it fills in at least another 50% of the thought processes going on in Hermie's head, wonderfully descriptive passages, and commentaries on the 3 boys' attitudes and adventures. It is such a joy to read, I have read it cover to cover about 8 times. If you liked the film, even a little, PLEASE read the book. You can get it on Amazon for $1.49, for God's sake! Highly recommended.
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Atmospheric film, verging on paedo poetry
tieman647 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Director Robert Mulligan developed a wonderful style in the 1970s (best exhibited in "Summer of 42" and "The Other"), which utilised a roaming camera, ethereal images and a tone that might be described as poetic Gothicism. Many directors (Nicholas Roeg, Terrence Malick, Bob Rafelson etc) were adopting a similar style during this time, but Mulligan enjoyed marrying his aesthetic to coming of age tales and cute flicks about lost innocence ("The Man In The Moon", "The Other", "Summer of 42", "Up the Down Staircase").

"Summer of 42" revolves around fifteen year old Gary Grimes, a fresh-faced kid who's spending the summer of 1942 vacationing on Nantucket Island, off the coast of New England. The Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbour and America is in turmoil, but Gary and his friends, Jerry and Benjie, are far removed from the harsh realities of war. In fact, they only have one thing on their minds: sex.

Mulligan's camera watches as the boys discuss sex, go on dates with girls, purchase condoms and leaf through sex-education books, each scene tinged with a mixture of adolescent awkwardness and nostalgia. But it's local woman Dorothy who really gets the boys excited. Wife to a young man recently sent off to serve in World War 2, the boys watch from afar, with rapt fascination, as this beautiful woman glides angelically around their island.

The rest of the film involves a fairly creepy sexual relationship between Dorothy and Gary, which eventually climaxes with the couple having sex. Why they copulate is given very little explanation, other than Gary being perpetually aroused, horny and anxious to enter manhood, and Dorothy being vulnerable because her husband has recently died abroad. The plot is so thin, the characters so cardboard and several scenes so lecherous (the camera focusing on Dorothy's butt, breasts, sunbathing body etc), that it's a surprise the film still works so well.

Of course, swap the gender roles in this flick and audiences would be picketing cinemas and accusing it of promoting paedophilia (how many films are there where wounded grown men are seduced by 15 year old girls?), but Mulligan cons us into accepting this all as art, his poetic fades, gentle touch and relaxing camera work lending class to what is really one big male sex fantasy.

Incidentally, a segment from this film is featured in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining". "The Shining", a film filled with "reflections", number games (42, 21, 12s etc pop up all over the place in Kubrick's film) and "mirrors", seems to reverse several scenes and gender roles in Mulligan's picture, and the oddly shaped mirror before which Dorothy and Gary make illicit love will itself appear in various forms in Kubrick's film, hinting at various dark, horrific avenues.

7.9/10 – Despite its awkward acting and thin, salacious plot, "Summer of 42" possess great atmosphere. A young Steven Spielberg would be heavily influenced by Mulligan, the predatory shark of "Jaws" modelled on Mulligan's "The Stalking Moon" and the lazy seaside atmosphere of Spielberg's coastal town building upon what Mulligan does here.
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