Frank and Eleanor Perry smash it out the park, again. That’s now three out of three I’ve watched recently and each have blown me away. The Swimmer, David and Lisa and now Last Summer. Still can’t believe I’d never heard of this amazing partnership. Frank on directing duties and his wife Eleanor doing the screenplay. What a pairing.
Last Summer, made in 1969, is a coming of age story about two guys who meet a beautiful and slightly quirky girl whilst they are on holiday at Fire Island, a beach and dunes vacation destination for upper class families.
Tagline – Last summer was too beautiful to forget. And too painful to remember.
Both boys have one thing on their minds and the flirtatious girl enjoys having the attention, friendship and sexual power over them. The three become inseparable until a young “uncool” girl arrives at the beach and things start to change.
All in their late teens you have Peter who is more sensitive and forgiving, Dan who seems a little older and more confident and Sandy who is intelligent and very aware of her sexuality and how to use it. Rhoda comes across as standoffish and anxious of new experiences and rightly so.
What grows out of this friendship on this summer holiday is something that will stay with them. From swimming to drinking and weed smoking to sexual desire and hair washing to secrets and a random seagull.
Tagline – It was a summer of shared friendship… and lost innocence.
Sandy is played by the beautiful Barbara Hershey who starred in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters and played test pilot Chuck Yeager’s wife in the NASA classic The Right Stuff.
Peter is played by Richard Thomas who will never really get away from his John Boy Walton role but has a ridiculous amount of work behind him. With one being the B-Movie classic Battle Beyond the Stars and a TV movie I want to see called All Quiet on the Western Front.
Bruce Davison plays Dan, Bruce has played Willard the rat boy to slimey Senator Kelly in X-Men to the Dad in Harry and the Hendersons the TV show. He has been relentless in work and pops up in so many things.
And little Rhoda is played by Catherine Burns, giving such a strong performance in her debut role that she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She went off and did a ton of work in TV roles and did get to work with Richard Thomas again, once on a film called Red Sky At Night (I want to see this) and popping up in The Waltons.
The film is an adaptation of a novel by Evan Hunter of the same name, who incidentally wrote a sequel called Come Winter, it was never made into a film from what I have read.
On reading an article on wikipedia it says that all the 35mm print versions of the film where lost and all what remains is a 16mm version. It has never been released on DVD. The version I saw must be a copy of a VHS version. Hopefully one day something might appear alongside a good sized extras package. Unfortunately I can’t see that happening.
I so love discovering new movies, makes Wolfie happy. This film was most excellent and another reason why i’m enjoying this blog so much.
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