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Season of Passion (1959)

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 16 December 1961 (USA)
Two Australian sugarcane cutters spend their annual five-month vacations in Sydney with their mistresses.

Director:

Leslie Norman

Writers:

John Dighton (screenplay), Ray Lawler (play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ernest Borgnine ... Roo
Anne Baxter ... Olive
John Mills ... Barney
Angela Lansbury ... Pearl
Ethel Gabriel Ethel Gabriel ... Emma
Vincent Ball Vincent Ball ... Dowd
Janette Craig Janette Craig ... Bubba
Deryck Barnes Deryck Barnes ... Bluey
Frank Wilson ... Vince
Al Garcia Al Garcia ... Dino
Jessica Noad Jessica Noad ... Nancy
Al Thomas Al Thomas ... Spriuker
Tom Lurich Tom Lurich ... The Atom Bomber
Dana Wilson Dana Wilson ... The Bomber's Daughter
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Storyline

Two Australian sugarcane cutters spend their annual five-month vacations in Sydney with their mistresses.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sugarcane | friendship | australia | See All (3) »

Taglines:

That was her great longing... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | Australia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Season of Passion See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book the "Australian Film & TV Companion" by Tony Harrison, "Burt Lancaster, Rita Hayworth, and James Cagney were originally to have starred." See more »

Goofs

An obvious stunt double is thrown through the ropes at the wrestling match. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cane Cutter (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

There's A Goldmine on the Sky
Written by Charles Kenny and Nick Kenny
Sung around the piano on New Year's Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Must have seemed like a good idea at the time
27 April 2006 | by ncammackSee all my reviews

Many years ago I unwisely took part in an amateur production of Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker". I can still hear the mayhem created by those of us who tried, and failed miserably, to achieve an American accent and those (including, bizarrely, a stray Welshman) who just gave up and spoke their native idiom. Luckily out home-town audience was very forgiving and the local rag took pity on us.

This dire experience came back to me when I saw "Summer of the Seventeenth Doll", but even so, not having seen the original stage play by Ray Lawler, I didn't realise how badly it had been butchered until I saw a TV performance by the Melbourne Theatre Company. The first reaction of an Australian audience will be to switch off because of the hilarious mangling of their native speech by an all-star cast who deserved better and would have been more gainfully employed on another project. Maybe that wouldn't matter to a foreign audience, but then again, perhaps the resultant strange mixture of assorted Cockney, Bronx and other sounds would have a subtly disturbing effect on any listener.

Of more concern is the fact that the play's essence can't be divorced from its Australian roots, which include deceptively dry, laconic and understated speech cadences, without making it pretty meaningless. In fact it's the very antithesis of the overwrought, borderline- histrionic style of "serious" Hollywood films of the era. Anyone less like a laconic Queensland canecutter than the furiously emoting Ernest Borgnine would be hard to imagine. And switching the location from Melbourne to more photogenic Sydney settings, while trivial in itself, is symptomatic of the filmmakers' imperfect understanding of their vehicle.

I don't know that "Doll" is a great play, but it is a good one. However, given the need for some audience-pulling names there was no real prospect of doing it properly in 1959. The accent problem, which is just part of the underlying cultural mismatch, is not to be dismissed, and I've never heard an American or British actor come close to a convincing Australian accent - even Meryl Streep. Even nowadays, with many high-visibility Australians in Hollywood, it would be a problematic vehicle because at bottom it's pretty stagy. It's just one of those movies that shouldn't have been made.


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