Summer of '42 (1971) Poster

(1971)

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10/10
Captivating - beyond my expectations
SushilKBirla5 July 2004
This movie captivated me beyond my expectations. Not being a movie-goer or a TV-watcher, I had not yet seen (or read about) the movie, its excerpts, the original book, or the cast, although I had heard references to the summer of '42. After an intense work week, I had tuned into the PBS channel on TV to watch 30 minutes of a business news program, at the end of which, PBS showed that "The Summer of '42" was next. I thought of watching it only for a few minutes - not really being interested in seeing a story from 62 years ago in a movie made 33 years ago. PBS played the movie without a break, and I sat through all of it - totally captivated. I don't think I can explain the reasons with a typical technical analysis. I think it held me in a trance, because it reflected my own coming of age. Even though I grew up in a different era, country, culture and society, there were many parallels to the drugstore episode, the furtive readings of the book, the carrying of the grocery bags, the storing away of the boxes, and the attempted "fooling around" inside the movie theater.

I like a production (movie; theater; music) that reflects the reality one experiences in life. This movie was one of those rare productions. I felt it was quite artistic in its balance - the way it assimilated simple elements from everyday living, with a simple, but enchanting, musical score. The movie did not need any dazzling stage effects - Jennifer O'Neill was enough; and, even in her, the art and beauty was in her being so natural.

In the end, I felt good about spending the time to see the movie.
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One of my all-time favorites.
dhenderson-325 August 2004
This is truly a wonderful film and a classic. It has everything: romance, comedy, sadness and the reminiscence of puberty and coming of age. The dialog between Hermie and his two teenage buddies wile exploring their emerging sexuality is a wonderful and hilarious, i.e., "Do you think I'm in love with Vera Michaels. I hope I'm not in love with her. I hate her." Who couldn't relate to those things in our youth.

Jennifer O'Neill, as Hermie's crush Dorothy, is gorgeous and well suited for her role. The scenes between her and Hermie go from funny and clever to sad and wondrous. One can only guess the emotions going on inside Dorothy's head when she finds out her husband has been killed in the war. I always felt she just wanted to experience closeness with someone during that time and Hermie just happened to be nearby. She also knew he cared about her and it was important for her to be needed . . . by someone.

A glorious film and one I can watch tons of times and discover something different each time. Highly recommended.

P.S. Michele LeGrand's musical score is beautiful. Just another plus for the movie.
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A Cinema Classic
Tommy-56 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Summer of 42

By Tom Fowler

This film touched me in an odd way. Perhaps it is because I waited 30 years to view it and see so much of the young guy I used to be in Hermie that it is sort of frightening. One shouldn't look too deeply into a mirror of any kind. Most people reading this are going to be familiar with this old and well known story. Three young boys, all 15 years of age, are spending a boring summer on a vacation island in the summer of 1942. The lovely Dorothy, 22 years old and her husband away fighting the war, is hauntingly played by Jennifer O'Neill, fresh and very beautiful in the summer of 1972 when this film was enjoying it's impressive run in the nation's theaters. Dorothy lives alone and Hermie injects himself into her life, carrying groceries and performing odd jobs around her home. Director Robert Mulligan was wise not let us get to know Dorothy too well, as this allows us to feel the same mystique regarding her as Hermie feels, and it is through his eyes the key parts of this fine film are presented.

Hermie was smitten with Dorothy from the beginning, but we are never allowed to think the feelings were reciprocated, much to Mulligan's credit, for Summer of 42 could very easily have been turned into something sleazy without his skillful and understated direction. Throughout the film, we see a view of the world through 15 year old male eyes. Life and love are overwhelming mysteries at that age and we are somewhat comforted by the fact that it is not until deep into the film that Dorothy, shocked and grief stricken by the telegram informing of her soldier husband's death, succumbs to a temporary but very intense emotion and introduces Hermie to a world he has only dreamt about. Everything comes with cost and we see Hermie and his buddies, themselves introduced to the world of females and relationships during this long summer, at film's end retreating back, for the precious time they have left for it, into the safety of childhood and teenage concerns. Perhaps this film worked as well as it did because of the presence of Ms. O'Neill. Her personal problems and anguish are well documented, and one wonders if some of this did not show up onscreen at this very early time in her life? An element of sadness hangs over Summer of 42 to this day. Robert Mulligan could not sustain the promise of this film and The Others, a little known but wonderful film made during the same general time period,. Gary Grimes never had another Hermie role and certainly Ms. O'Neill never realized her vast potential nor ever again reached the excellence she did as Dorothy. Who knows, perhaps art did imitate life to come and that is what gives Summer of 42 its well deserved reputation.
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8/10
The summer knows
johno-2127 February 2006
I saw this movie in the theater during it's initial release and several times on TV since then but it's been many years since I've seen it last and would like to see it again. This is a classic coming of age movie. A great story and script with a wonderful cast. Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser and Oliver Conant as the the three teenage boys and Jennifer O'Neil as the war bride. Robert Mulligan certainly had a diverse directorial career with such varied memorable films as To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Imposter, The Man in the Moon and The Other and quite a few forgettable films as well. He certainly made a memorable one with Summer of 42. Mulligan brought Harper Lee's words to life in his wonderful adaptation of her novel in Mockingbird and he brings Herman Raucher's screenplay to life in 42. Two examples of very personal semi-autobiographical remembrances of growing up successfully brought to the big screen. Michel Legrand's music couldn't be any more perfect for this film. I was the exact age of the boys depicted in this movie when it was released so I could relate to this and the ethereal beauty as represented by O'Neil. Maybe today I would classify this under guilty pleasure like something on the Lifetime channel but movie has stayed with me over time and I would like to see it again on the big screen. I would recommend this and give it a 8.5 on a scale of 10.
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10/10
It spans the emotions and captures the minds of yesterday's boys
johnharrison-112 March 2006
Benjie was the nerd, Oscy was the tough guy, and Hermie was like most of us guys - confused, inquisitive, and deep in thought about a love he couldn't have. One of them was interested in a little rubber ball, one owned a rubber and was dying to use it, and one was somewhere in between. At least one of them would look back upon their adventures during the summer of '42 and recall it with the vivid detail that many of us have about our own childhood

For those adults who were once a fifteen-year-old boy or ever wanted to understand them, this is the movie that will touch you. To children who ever wanted to understand male adolescence before the digital world, this movie is a must. Other movies have come close but it remains my favorite flick and I am deeply grateful for Herman Raucher.
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10/10
Summer of 42, a Timeless Classic of true Love
angelsunchained20 March 2005
I saw this film with my dad at the long-gone Surf Theater on 74th Street and Collins Avenue on Miami Beach as a sneak preview. The theater was packed and I was 13 years old and three girls in their early 20s sat next to us, and I was a little red-faced about the movie. But, what a truly beautiful and romantic film. I always thought that my "first" love would be like the Summer of 42. Unfortunately in my case it wasn't. I joined the Army and had my "first" experience with a B-girl(bar-girl) overseas. It wasn't until I was 25 that I think I really had the "love feelings" that were shown in this timeless classic. A great film with outstanding performances by all involved. Really a shame that Gary Grimes and Jerry Houser never achieved the super stardom they deserved. And Jennier O'Neal was so beautiful. She was all-natural, so fresh, so down-to-earth. The Summer of 42 is great.
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8/10
Classic, timeless
rams_lakers28 September 2004
I first saw this movie on TV as a teenager in the 70s. One or two of my sisters may have been watching too, and it was somewhat embarrassing when the intimate scene with Hermie and Dorothy came out, but I wasn't about to turn my head as I enjoyed the movie as a whole. My parents were never that strict on us so I didn't have that worry.

This movie tugs at the emotions. The impossible relationship with the beautiful older woman. The camaraderie with friends during that age. It's also interesting how 15 year old girls were made to appear so immature and unsexy, like when the 3 boys had dates and were standing in a movie line. Everything points to the thrill of that older woman relationship. I was just wanting that to happen for Herbie, and when it did... wow. Some of the situations were humorous, like when Herbie tries to buy rubbers at the dime store. Just all in all a great story, one I can watch again and again. I give it 8 out of 10 stars. This one is easily in my top 250.
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10/10
A special film...
jv-58 September 1999
"The Summer of '42" is an exceptional and touching film, one that holds a special place in American film history. It is not a film to be forgotten. And the musical score by Michel Legrand is easily one of the most beautiful ever produced. See this film!
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10/10
A True Classic
GOWBTW31 January 2003
I have seen a classic that was indeed a keeper. Summer of '42 is a monster of a hit. Strong, gripping story of coming of age of three mischief makers wanting to know about love during the times of war. The setting was magnificent, Gary Grimes role of dreamer Hermie was outstanding, Jennifer O'Neal as Dorothy was fantastic! Lots of nostalgia, talking about sex was mainly the theme. But when it comes to love it all shows. I felt a lot of wonder and awe when Hermie spent a lot of time with Dorothy with each level: Comedy,it's when he helped store some items, and feeling her moves with every glance he made. Drama, when she lost her husband in the war; Romance, when Hermie got his wish. Losing your innocence is nothing to be ashamed of, when it's caused by curiosity. This one encounter I think that Hermie will NEVER forget in his lifetime. The other two would have to find out themselves about their buddy. Hermie was the risk taker, and it made its payoff. He has more maturity than the other two ruffians. I enjoyed the 10 minutes of silence between Hermie and Dorothy. If you like that try the sequel "Class of '44" and "Stealing Home". This movie gets the 100% grade of A+
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9/10
A work of art that seems to grow only finer with the passing of time.
HoldenSpark11 July 2004
Oh. My. God.

What a stunning piece of craftsmanship. A masterpiece. Such innocence. Such humanity. Such wisdom. Such truth. Such is the need to touch the soul of another, and such is the need to seek comfort. Yet tenderness risks so much. Oh to be tender again. Yet who could bear it again?

I remember when I was eight years old and I remember what a splash this movie made. I don't really recall that I was told or even understood why, and of course I wasn't taken to see it at that age, at that time, when it was common to keep children ignorant of much they are not today. I'm not sure now that it wasn't the craving of the parents to let themselves drown in the strangeness that is naivety prolonged too long for the sake of innocence itself rather than some strange desire to protect their children from things the children could already begin to feel within themselves but were not allowed to mention or ask about.

Though the latter is, even today, what is trumpeted about as the reason for shielding children from things they might not be ready for, I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't really the parents who are just protecting themselves, trying to squeeze out more childhood days from their children for the parents to enjoy before they must finally release their darling children into the fray that tides upon the whims of nature and destiny.

This movie came out in 1971. Tonight they played it late on our local PBS station here in Dallas. I'd never seen it and not thought about renting it and watching it in all these 33 years since then.

One might say it is simply about a couple of 15 year old boys coming of age. But it is more than that. So much more. In fact, without question, it is about the human condition itself.

This is a movie about sex, no doubt about that either. But a movie of a kind that I don't think I've ever seen before. Everyone should see this film. Everyone.

If you live alone, see it and feel your own soul's needs. If you live with someone, see it together and draw him or her close.

Above all, when it is over, you will find yourself remembering and feeling that rarest of all feelings, true tenderness.

The young men should have received acclaim for their performances , and without question so too should have the woman.

For she was woman, every woman.
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One of the great movie endings
inkslave15 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
"Hermie" plays the last 10 minutes of this movie in silence, as his buddy Oscy talks to him about boy things like raiding the Coast Guard Station, and then as he walks through the gathering late-summer wind to the house where his first lover no longer waits. He finds her note, walks away from the little clapboard house as the wind whips the long grass around, reminding you that summer is all but over, and a voice-over tells us that Hermie never saw her again or even heard about her (until after the movie came out, when apparently she made contact: She had remarried and lived a long, full life).

I can't think of another movie ending that I have found so touching, so evocative. What an artistic triumph.
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well done
Ajtlawyer19 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Probably every teenage male has wished he had an experience with an older woman like Hermie has with his beloved Dorothy in this movie. The film's look and mood are totally authentic and there is the juxtaposition of the boys' care-free summer life while, thousands of miles away World War II is raging. The war's influence is throughout the movie---Hermie's brother is an Army Ranger overseas, Hermie has a chart of military aircraft silhouettes in his bedroom and of course Dorothy's husband is at war and she is devastated when she learns of his death Here's a trivia item---take a close look at the actor that Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill) is saying good bye to at dock side. Recognize him? It's Harrison Ford.

A great coming of age story of boys caught between childhood and adulthood, desperate for anything exciting and aching to act on their sexual feelings but terrified of taking that step.
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9/10
I just saw this movie again after almost 30 years and wow the memories it brought back.
Havan_IronOak16 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Caution May contain Spoilers

I don't recall how I found out about this film back then, but I recall walking all the way across campus to see it (almost three miles.) It was somehow important that I see it, and see it alone where I wouldn't be recognized. At the time I had not yet had sex and it was almost as big a mystery to me as it was to the boys in the film. My then small-town raised, innocent self would've paid good money to see what was in that book they found…

So many of the scenes from this movie still ring true and have become part of my personal iconology. Hermie manfully struggling under the weight of Dorothy's groceries as they walk home, Hermie trying to buy rubbers from the local druggist, Hermie trying to seem so grown up taking his coffee black and burning himself in the process, Dorothy and Hermie dancing after she has received that fateful news.

As I rewatched this film, all these years later, I was struck again by the scene at the end. Hermie is standing by that fence, a powerful symbol of boundaries, that which separates one place from another. We see how sex, and events have changed him. He is now a sadder and wiser, somehow older, soul. We hear Oscy droning on about his troubles with Marylyn. We feel Hermie's sense of commingled joy and pain and we truly realize the difference between trivial lust and life altering love.
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10/10
A heartwarming coming of age film that is timeless.
FOCKLERRC12 August 2002
No boy who suffers the pangs of adolescence should go unarmed into young manhood without the comfort and the solace that this film provides. If for no other reason, see the film only to establish every mixed up emotion and confusion was for all accounts, normal. This film will also hold a special place in my heart. I saw if first at 17. Then again at 35, and once more at 45. I daresay I shall watch it again at 55, 65 and 80 as long as my eyes hold out and can shed a romantic tear for the love of Hermie and Dorothy.
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10/10
A Wonderful Movie
budoinst@aol.com12 February 2005
I was 25 when I first saw this movie with a group of friends. We all left the theater with a sense of "we have been there". The movie was wonderful, exact in feelings of the day, humorous, sad, and bewildering. It was a true case of boys vis a vis girls at the time.

To this day, I still believe it to be one of the best ten movies I have ever seen.

The sense of emotions and feelings of all types and manner was beautifully captured for all times and generations. "Hermie" was seen again in "Red Sky at Morning", but never quite in the same light of emotion.

For those who wish true capture of a far and distant time, this is the movie to see it from.
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10/10
Summer of nostalgia
bama11113 August 2000
One of the best "coming of age" movies, ever. The three teen musketeers, the horny guy, the geek and the sensitive guy. Even though I was 27 when I first saw this movie I could identify with Hermie, played by Gary Grimes... and what boy, or man, could not be in love with the beautiful Dorothy as played by Jennifer O'Neill. I never try to look deep into images on the screen but, given the setting of World War II I did wonder about the significance, if any, of Jennifer O'Neill dressed in the white pants and blue sweater holding the red flowers. The scene in the drugstore has to be one of the funniest on film especially if you have your own bumbling experience as a point of reference. And then there's the beautiful music, by Michel LeGrand. This movie is, at times, funny, poignant, nostalgic and, finally, bittersweet. Having seen it numerous times over the years, I would recommend it very highly, especially to guys who grew up prior to the 70's.
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10/10
This film is not about true love... it's about human emotion, how we all go through some things in life that follow with us forever!
ptitchien26 July 2005
I just finished viewing this film... all I can say is that this story is so beautiful and so haunting at the same time, as if it happened and so it may have. For everything we get in life, a part of us we lose forever! Someone said this film is about true love, to me... This film is not about true love... it's about human emotion, how we all go through some things in life that follow with us forever! What amazes me about this film is that narration at the beginning of the film truly is felt once the movie is over. This is truly cinematic emotion. ....For no person I've ever known has ever done more to make me feel more sure, more insecure, more important, and less significant.
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10/10
A sensitive and poignant film that you will never forget
richievee24 November 2008
I first saw this movie during its initial release, in 1971, while I was serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It affected me to such an extent that I (a "tough guy" G.I., mind you) left the theater in tears and had to walk along the train tracks of Fayetteville, North Carolina, for half an hour before I finally regained my composure. It is a poignant film, wonderfully written, acted, directed, and photographed. The interplay among the Terrible Trio (Hermie, Oscy, Benjie) is quite funny indeed, and most men will relate to the boys' curiosity about sex. But the scenes between Hermie and Dorothy raise this film into an exalted realm of the cinema, capturing the human spirit with rare insight. Among bittersweet, nostalgic, coming-of-age movies, only this one and the brilliant (but sadly neglected) "A Summer Story" strike me as achieving such a remarkable level of honesty. The sequence after the War Department telegram arrives is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful, sweet, sensitive scenes ever to be filmed. To those of you who accuse the bereaved Dorothy of committing statutory rape, of being a pedophile, and other such stupidly nonsensical allegations, I say take your politically correct crap and stick it up your... (Sorry, I got carried away there.) It's just that I resent dirty-minded morons who try to ruin a sweet, poignant scene by calling it something that it is not. Dorothy is no predator. She certainly has not been lying in wait for Hermie. She is shattered by the news, she has turned to the bottle for solace, and Hermie only happens along, offering physical comfort and a husband-figure in her time of need. I find nothing at all offensive about it. In fact, it is a lovely scene that is handled by director Robert Mulligan with great taste and sensitivity. It could hardly even be described as sexual. Please make it a point to see this film. You will never forget it.
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10/10
Wonderful film.
Lionel M.5 December 2000
This is a wonderful film. Gary Grimes played the geeky and sensitive Hermie rather well. He reminded me of a very young Anthony Perkins. Jerry Houser and Oliver Courant did rather fine as Hermie's friends, Oscy and Benji. Oscy was tough while Benji was a coward. A rather nice contrast. Hermie was in the middle of the tough-weak spectrum. He was not afraid of girls like Benji was and yet he was not crude like Oscy.

I thought Jennifer O'Neill was dazzling in this film. Her pretty blue eyes, bright white smile, and dark brown hair lit up against the gritty and pastel scenery of the film. I liked how her character was nice to young Hermie. While watching the film, I wanted Dorothy and Hermie to "get together."

Michael Legrand's Oscar-winning musical score gave the film its nostalgic feel. I loved how gritty and pastel the film was. The forties were a gritty and pastel time, the picture should reflect that. And it did.

I recommend this film to anyone who likes a nice quiet drama with simple characters and simple plots. I give this film a 10/10.
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9/10
In a Shingled House by the Seashore
wes-connors6 September 2010
Cute fifteen-year-old Gary Grimes (as "Hermie") spends the "Summer of '42" playing on New England's sand dunes, with pals Jerry Houser (as "Oscy") and Oliver Conant (as "Benjie"). Naturally, the lads' discourse revolves around sex, especially after they acquire a manual on the topic. Horny Mr. Houser is ready for action, and carries a "rubber" in his shorts. Nerdy and boyish, Mr. Conant is waiting for a future summer. The story focuses on sensitive Mr. Grimes, who becomes infatuated with beautiful Jennifer O'Neill (as Dorothy). When her husband goes off to serve in World War II, Ms. O'Neill allows an innocent friendship to develop with young Grimes. He helps O'Neill carry groceries and lift boxes, but is interested in something else…

Cue the billowing curtains…

This "coming of age" drama is beautifully produced and, despite the very definitive setting, surpasses its nostalgic tone by successfully conveying the timeless emotions associated with teenage sexual awakenings. The scene featuring young Grimes' "Hermie" buying his first condom says it all. And, an "Oscy" advised me and many other boys, through the generations... I can still hear him... The story, based on writer Herman "Hermie" Raucher's own "Summer of '42" experience, is idealized but eloquent. It would not have worked without the obviously smart casting of the teenagers. Robert Mulligan's direction, Robert Surtees' photography, and Michel Legrand's soundtrack music are all gorgeous. So are the legs.

********* Summer of '42 (4/9/71) Robert Mulligan ~ Gary Grimes, Jennifer O'Neill, Jerry Houser, Oliver Conant
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8/10
Another winner from director Mulligan
rj-2727 February 2001
A precursor to a film (The Man In The Moon) he would direct 20 years later with much the same flavor, sentiment, and stark reality of teenagers at various stages of development.

Gary Grimes performance may very well be the most realistic portrayal of a teen-age boy on the verge of manhood ever put on screen. Likewise, Jennifer O'Neill may be about the most desirable object of a young man's affection in recent memory.

I saw this on the big screen when it first came out. Very well done, without a lot of over-sentimentality, and humorous as well, it will resonate with those who yearn for a simpler time in life when everything made sense but the opposite sex.
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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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10/10
Incredible Music , Nostalgic Innocence
sushe125 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was haunting. The music combined with a realistic display of what life used to be stays with you if you loved it as I did.

I had never considered Dorothy a child molester but technically speaking, she was. There is a difference: this was 1942 and she had no evil feelings about Hermie; Dorothy had been drinking and crying having just received the note telling of her husband's death. She was not "herself" ; she seemed to be in a trance barely knowing her surroundings in her despair. I believe she felt , at that moment, compelled to pretend that Hermie was her husband; she almost made herself believe it. Wanting so badly to feel his presence once again she created a magical experience no man could ever forget. One that no man would ever wish to forget.

Shall we condemn acts that are done while the person is in deep suffering? We all know that Hermie was not harmed by what Dorothy did with him.
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Absolutely great coming of age movie.
michaelRokeefe14 June 2000
Three young boys spend their summers on a vacation spot on the New England coast. They share their tribulations and fascinations while partaking of the lazy summers. The summer of '42, they discover sex and exchange yearnings. One of the boys finds a book, with pictures no less. Now their desires are really getting fired up.

One of the boys, Hermie, played by Gary Grimes, has to deal with a strong infatuation with a young wife staying in a house on the beach. The finale is tender and bittersweet. My favorite scene is the drug store scene. It is a real hoot; trying to buy "protection" along with needless items as a decoy.

The other two boys are played by Jerry Houser and Oliver Conant. The object of Hermie's infatuation is the alluring Jennifer O'Neill. She plays the part so effortlessly and so easily the object of any young boy's dream.

This is an enjoyable human drama about daydreams,sexual awareness and coming of age. Beautiful music supplied by Michel Legrand.
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