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Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973)

PG | | Drama | 30 August 1974 (Ireland)
Rita, a middle aged New York City homemaker, finds herself in an emotional crisis which forces her to re-examine her life, as well as her relationships with her mother, her eye doctor ... See full summary »


Gilbert Cates


Stewart Stern

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanne Woodward ... Rita Walden
Martin Balsam ... Dr. Harry Walden
Sylvia Sidney ... Mrs. Pritchard - Rita's Mother
Tresa Hughes ... Betty Goody
Dori Brenner Dori Brenner ... Anna
Ron Rickards Ron Rickards ... Bobby Walden
Win Forman Win Forman ... Fred Goody
Peter Marklin Peter Marklin ... Joel
Nancy Andrews Nancy Andrews ... Mrs. Pat Hungerford (voice)
Minerva Pious Minerva Pious ... Woman in Theatre
Sol Frieder Sol Frieder ... Man in Theatre
Helen Ludlam Helen Ludlam ... Rita's Grandmother
Grant Code Grant Code ... Rita's Grandfather
Gaetano Lisi Gaetano Lisi ... Student in Theatre
Lee Jackson Lee Jackson ... Carl Hurlcutt


Rita, a middle aged New York City homemaker, finds herself in an emotional crisis which forces her to re-examine her life, as well as her relationships with her mother, her eye doctor husband, her alienated daughter and estranged son. Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's beautiful...but frigid. See more »




PG | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

30 August 1974 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Carnival See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Color (Technicolor)
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Did You Know?


Features Sylvia Sidney's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »


Featured in Oscars, Actors and The Exorcist (1974) See more »


It's April Again
Music by Georges Auric
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User Reviews

Intimate strangers, unfamiliar relations...
24 February 2008 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Uptight, possibly frigid, panic-stricken middle-aged New York housewife has to learn to let go of the past, a refuge which doesn't necessarily bring her happiness but does provide her life with some kind of stability. Joanne Woodward gives a good performance here; not at all vain, and unafraid to let herself be pinchy, selfish, or even annoyingly helpless, Woodward overcomes this rather dreary "woman's picture" material with thoughtful touches and nuances. It's a heavy load however, and she doesn't have much help until the final reel when her needling, provoking matron takes a European trip with her husband (Martin Balsam, also doing fine work) and she comes to see her humanity as something she can work with as opposed to frittering it away. Screenwriter Stewart Stern's dialogue is heavy with a writer's pretensions, and often the chit-chat is pedantic, forced and unreal. Near the beginning, Woodward gets a phone call from her mother and asks, "Who is this?" A few scenes later, Woodward becomes exasperated with her husband and asks, "How many years have we been married?" These moldy exchanges are lazy outs for a writer wanting to introduce us to the characters; instead of letting us discover these people and their hang-ups for ourselves, everything is spelled out (and poorly so). We are to understand that Joanne's estranged son is gay after she has a dream in which a male dancer is caught in the boy's bedroom--in ballet tights! The 'colorless' color cinematography is a mix of putrid browns and greens, and director Gilbert Cates begins each new sequence with a big wind-up, as if the movie were starting all over again. The rhythm is off, and with lines like "You approach every new relationship like you would a toll-booth, Mrs. Santa Claus!", one doesn't know how to respond to the characters. It's possible that some of Woodward's jaunts to her past, both real and imaginary, will strike some viewers as very personal, but the film isn't especially moving, at least not until the final third. **1/2 from ****

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