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Patty Bergen is a teenager in a Jewish family living in the American South during World War II. Patty feels like an outcast even in her own family and is unable to understand why her father can't seem to love her. Her town eventually becomes host to a prisoner of war camp. A young german soldier escapes from this camp, and Patty finds him hiding in her secret places in the woods outside of town. After getting to know him she ends up harboring him from his captors, and, in the way of many adolescents, falls in love with him. Patty knows what she is risking to help him, but in his company she feels important, special, and respected as she has never been. In the end, his regard lifts her self-esteem and helps her to face the heartbreaking events to come. Written by
[after finding out Patty is Jewish]
You are Jew, little girl! I am a soldier of the Third Reich; we are enemies, you and I!
Don't you like me, Anton?
I knew you did, right from the first. I knew right then we could be the best of friends. Formidable friends.
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"Summer of My German Soldier" was one of the many TV movies that became a staple of the small screen in the 1970s (others were "Brian's Song", "Sybil" and "Someone's Watching Me!"). It portrays a Jewish girl (Kristy McNichol) befriending a German POW (Bruce Davison) in WWII-era Georgia. One of the things that the movie shows is that many of the German soldiers weren't really Nazis, but were just drafted. Watching the movie, I got a real sense of how things must have been in the South back then; I mean, can you imagine being a Jewish person accused of supporting the enemy?
So, I certainly recommend this movie. I believe that it's always important to show the things portrayed here. Occasional overacting keeps the movie from being a full-scale masterpiece, but they usually do quite well. I hope that the movie eventually comes out on DVD. Also starring Esther Rolle and Michael Constantine (the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" patriarch).
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