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Summer Children (1965)

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A competition erupts between a tormented handsome trust fund baby and his risk taking rival over their feelings for a mysterious and conflicted young beauty throughout a sailing adventure to Catalina Island.


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Title: Summer Children (1965)

Summer Children (1965) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Director: Frank Perry
Stars: Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, Bruce Davison


Credited cast:
Stuart Anderson ...
John Hanek ...
Sandy Gabriel ...
Steve Bobbitt ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Finni Ferrari ...
Alison Julian ...
Christine Kazan ...
Frank Luther ...
William Schrodder ...
Beach Boy
Lee Wainer ...
Neil Westen ...


A competition erupts between a tormented handsome trust fund baby and his risk taking rival over their feelings for a mysterious and conflicted young beauty throughout a sailing adventure to Catalina Island.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Light Obscures...What Shadows Reveal


Music | Romance



Official Sites:




Release Date:

29 October 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hot Summer Game  »

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Did You Know?


This is the digitally restored and preserved 2010 version of the original 1965 film. The film was restored from the negatives, negative optical and original music recordings. The film was a lost film, found and restored and color timed (density balanced) for the first time since 1965 by the original cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC. The Deacons' songs were remastered from the 45's of several of their songs. The film elements were found in several archives and countries, along with the cast and crew by film Restoration Producer Edie Robinette-Petrachi. Restoration of sound and picture produced by Edie Robinette-Petrachi. See more »


West: But everyone looks up to Franky.
Diana: Yes, but looking up to people can be a pain in the neck.
See more »


Featured in Silhouettes in Shadow and Light (2010) See more »


Performed by The Deacons
Lyrics and Music by The Deacons
Copyright © 2007 Robinette Productions
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User Reviews

European new wave style meets American beach culture
16 May 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Long thought lost, this 1965 film from first time director James Bruner was never released due to budget problems but eventually saw the light of day this year after the director recovered the original print and restored it for DVD release. Summer Children tells the story of West, a serious young man and old fashioned romantic at heart who struggles to fit in with the swinging culture of the 60's adopted by his peers. He, along with a group of friends, sets out to sail his father's yacht from the Californian coast to Catalina island for a few nights of partying, but his interest is centred firmly on the aloof and mysterious Diana, who at first appears indifferent to his advances. Into the mix comes West's friend Franky, a daredevil motorbike racer who couldn't differ more in personality from West and exemplifies the new culture West has so much difficulty coping with. Franky already has a girl, but his sights are also set on Diana, who regards him with barely concealed disgust. Yet when Diane gives in to both West and Franky's charms, trouble brews between Franky and the jealous West who can't accept Diana's free-spirited nature towards sex and romance. Ultimately it's a story of old cultural sensibilities failing in the face of the modern era. West represents the increasingly naive ideals of the past, his confusion and social awkwardness stemming from the belief that any women should be more than happy to settle with a handsome, successful young man and his jealousy stemming from his inability to comprehend the new ideas of freedom of love and relationships that the 1960's came to represent.

Like the director and writer, for many of the actors this was their first film and after it's failure none of the cast and main crew went on to star in, write or direct film again. It's easy to see why. The plot is a fairly simple affair, peppered with unnecessarily extended scenes of swinging 60's beach parties full of pop-culture music and lingo, while the dialogue is at times laughably bad and the delivery of many of the actors leaves much to be desired. The character of West comes across as overly forced, while Diana's character switches between the happy-go- lucky embodiment of swinging culture and a distant, brooding character of long pauses and meaningful glances that could have been sliced straight from an Michelagelo Antonioni film. Speaking of Antonioni, it's the cinematography where Summer Children really shines. Heavily influenced by the new wave of European cinema emerging in the 60's, director James Bruner hired cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (whose most notable work includes The Deer Hunter, Deliverance and Close Encounters) to lend his film a distinctly European style. The high contrast black and white film, heavily shadowed with a noir tint, looks spectacular as framed by the masterful Zsigmond. Light and shadow are used to brilliant effect and many techniques, such as shooting a night-time party on the beach in daylight or the way Zsigmond captures the play of light on water and the motion of the yacht, help create a visually stunning piece of cinema that makes up for what it distinctly lacks in narrative and dialogue with it's arresting and beautifully photographed imagery.

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