Haunted Summer (1988)

R | 115 mins | Drama, Romance, Biography | 16 December 1988

Director:

Ivan Passer

Producer:

Martin Poll

Cinematographer:

Giuseppe Rotunno

Editor:

Steve Peck

Production Designer:

Stephen Grimes

Production Company:

Cannon Films
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HISTORY

The film ends with a shot of a boat floating across a glassy lake, accompanied by voice-over narration from Eric Stoltz reciting the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem, “The Sensitive Plant.” An epilogue states: “A year after the summer of 1816, Mary published the story of the monster, Frankenstein. In 1821, John William Polidori committed suicide, in London, by taking Prussic Acid. A year later, Percy Bysshe Shelley, at the age of twenty-nine, drowned in a storm off the coast of Italy. The boat in which he sailed was christened Ariel. Two years later, George Gordon, Lord Byron died in Missolonghi, Greece, of fever, while fighting to free Greece from Turkey. Mary died at the age of fifty-three, in England, and Claire, in Italy, a spinster, at the age of eighty-one.”
       An additional statement in end credits reads: “This film is a dramatization of certain events in the lives of the characters depicted in this photoplay. The main events and incidents in this film actually occurred.”
       According to the 10 Jan 1977 Publishers Weekly, Anne Edwards and her friend, Vera Caspary, originally developed the story of Haunted Summer as a twelve-page outline, which was optioned for a film. A 4 Aug 1971 DV item reported that British producer Raymond Stross was attached to the project, but the option was eventually dropped. Edwards went on to rewrite the story as a young adult novel, which was published in 1972. On 11 Mar 1976, DV announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had purchased the property for producers Robert Kaplan and Burt Weissbourd, which was to be adapted by Frederic Raphael and directed by Martin ... More Less

The film ends with a shot of a boat floating across a glassy lake, accompanied by voice-over narration from Eric Stoltz reciting the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem, “The Sensitive Plant.” An epilogue states: “A year after the summer of 1816, Mary published the story of the monster, Frankenstein. In 1821, John William Polidori committed suicide, in London, by taking Prussic Acid. A year later, Percy Bysshe Shelley, at the age of twenty-nine, drowned in a storm off the coast of Italy. The boat in which he sailed was christened Ariel. Two years later, George Gordon, Lord Byron died in Missolonghi, Greece, of fever, while fighting to free Greece from Turkey. Mary died at the age of fifty-three, in England, and Claire, in Italy, a spinster, at the age of eighty-one.”
       An additional statement in end credits reads: “This film is a dramatization of certain events in the lives of the characters depicted in this photoplay. The main events and incidents in this film actually occurred.”
       According to the 10 Jan 1977 Publishers Weekly, Anne Edwards and her friend, Vera Caspary, originally developed the story of Haunted Summer as a twelve-page outline, which was optioned for a film. A 4 Aug 1971 DV item reported that British producer Raymond Stross was attached to the project, but the option was eventually dropped. Edwards went on to rewrite the story as a young adult novel, which was published in 1972. On 11 Mar 1976, DV announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had purchased the property for producers Robert Kaplan and Burt Weissbourd, which was to be adapted by Frederic Raphael and directed by Martin Scorsese. However, the film never went into production.
       According to materials in AMPAS library files, producer Martin Poll picked up the rights in 1984, once the previous option expired. Lewis John Carlino, who had collaborated with Poll on the 1976 British film, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea, was hired to write the script. Assisted by Shelley scholar Gerrold Hogle, Carlino researched the famous literary figures at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.
       A 14 May 1986 Var item announced that John Huston had agreed to direct. Huston was reportedly adamant about casting “relatively obscure” British actors. Those chosen were selected from a list of twelve finalists that included South African-born Alice Krige, who played “Mary Godwin.” Erroneously referring to the film as The Haunted Summer, the 7 Jun 1986 Screen International stated that the project was among six features to be produced with a $37-million investment from Cannon Italy. Filming was expected to take place at Elstree Studios in England and Rome, Italy. The following month, however, Huston was forced to withdraw from the project due to his worsening emphysema, which prevented him from traveling.
       A few days after Huston dropped out, executive producer Menahem Golan held a meeting with filmmaker Ivan Passer concerning another project. Passer, who had expressed interest in the Haunted Summer script prior to Huston’s involvement, offered his advice about the film’s casting. Impressed with his input, Poll hired Passer to step in as Huston’s replacement.
       Although principal photography was originally scheduled for Sep 1986, Passer requested more time to re-cast the roles of “Percy Shelley,” “Lord Byron,” “Claire Clairmont,” and “John Polidori” with American actors who could perform convincing mid-Atlantic accents. Keen to hire Eric Stoltz to play Shelley, Passer decided to postpone production until late Apr 1987 to allow the actor sufficient time to leave his role in the off-Broadway play, The Widow Claire. Although a Cannon pre-production announcement in a 21 Oct 1986 HR advertisement pictured Rupert Everett alongside Stoltz, Krige, and Laura Dern, production notes indicate that he was replaced by Philip Anglim shortly before filming began.
       Following two weeks of rehearsals, principal photography was finally underway on 4 May 1987 in Rome. After three days at De Paolis Studios, production moved to Lake Como, which doubled as Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, the real-life location of Byron’s Villa Diodati. After a brief return to Rome, the remainder of filming took place on a sound stage in Malta. The rainstorm sequence was shot in a large water tank on 7 Jul 1987, the final day of production. A 10 Mar 1988 HR article listed the final cost as $6 million.
       During the repeated production delays, a 21 Jan 1987 Var item reported that Martin Poll had sued Cannon Films for failing to honor the terms of his “pay or play” contract, which stipulated he be paid his full $350,000 salary by 31 Dec 1986. After receiving only $35,000, Poll demanded the remaining $315,000. No additional sources referenced this lawsuit, and Poll remained with the project.
       According to a 3 Jun 1988 HR brief, Haunted Summer played in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Although it opened in Los Angeles, CA, on 16 Dec 1988, the film’s New York City release was limited to a two-day engagement the following summer at the Cinema Village theater, where it screened as part of a double feature with Ivan Passer’s 1981 picture, Cutter’s Way (see entry).
       The name of additional sound editor Godfrey Marks is misspelled onscreen as “Godfry.”
       End credits include the acknowledgment: “J. M. W. Turner paintings reproduced by courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1971.
---
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1987
p. 1, 26.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1988
p. 1, 24.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 1988
p. 4, 14.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1988
Calendar, p. 21.
New York Times
5 Jul 1989.
---
Publishers Weekly
10 Jan 1977.
---
Screen International
7 Jun 1986
p. 26.
Variety
14 May 1986.
---
Variety
23 Jul 1986.
---
Variety
21 Jan 1987.
---
Variety
14 Sep 1988
p. 23, 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Cannon Group, Inc. Presents
a Golan-Globus Production
Martin Poll, Producer
an Ivan Passer Film
A Cannon™ Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Post prod supv
Post prod coord
Film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst props
Const mgr
Head painter
Painter
Props by
Florence
Props by
Rome
Props by
Rome
Lamps by
Rome
COSTUMES
Asst cost des
Seamstress
Cost
Rome
Shoes by
Rome
MUSIC
Mus coord
Asst mus ed
Mus rec and mixed by
Synthesizer sequencing and programming by
Synthesizer sequencing and programming by
Alphorn player
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
1st sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd mixer
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Foley walker
Foley walker
Re-rec at
Los Angeles
Re-rec mixer
Re--rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title des
Title des
Main titles and opticals
Eff opticals
MAKEUP
Spec eff makeup
Makeup artist
Asst makeup artist
Hairstylist
Asst hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Cannon prod supv
Prod assoc
Unit mgr
Unit pub
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Animal trainer
Horse man
Horse man
Horse man
Animals by
Transportation by
STAND INS
Stunt and fencing coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Haunted Summer by Anne Edwards (New York, 1972).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Andante From String Quartet Op. 3 No. 5 ('The Serenade')," by Josef Haydn
"Presto From String Quartet Op. 3 No. 5 ('The Serenade')," by Josef Haydn
"Presto From String Quartet Op. 33 No. 2 ('The Joke')," by Josef Haydn
+
SONGS
"Andante From String Quartet Op. 3 No. 5 ('The Serenade')," by Josef Haydn
"Presto From String Quartet Op. 3 No. 5 ('The Serenade')," by Josef Haydn
"Presto From String Quartet Op. 33 No. 2 ('The Joke')," by Josef Haydn
"Mon Coeur Se Recommande A Vous," written by Orlando di Lasso, Soprano: Evalon Witt, Guitar: Gregg Nestor.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 December 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 December 1988
New York opening: 5 July 1989
Production Date:
4 May--7 July 1987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28816
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the summer of 1816, romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley vacations in Switzerland with his devoted fiancée, writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and her stepsister, Claire Clairmont, who also shares the couple’s bed. One afternoon, the famously tortured poet, Lord George Gordon Byron, arrives at their hotel accompanied by his physician and companion, Dr. John William Polidori. Having been previously acquainted with Lord Byron in London, England, Claire rushes to greet him and the two rekindle their passionate affair. Impressed by Percy and Mary’s work, Lord Byron asks them to lunch, where they discuss rebellion against the British upper classes and debate the virtues of “free love.” Although Mary appears unmoved by Lord Byron’s overt and seductive charms, she, Percy, and Claire accept an invitation to stay in a cottage on the grounds of his country villa. There, they while away the hours on a boat playing music, singing, and exchanging poems about the ladies’ beauty. During lunch, Percy and Lord Byron spar over the nature of good and evil. While Percy believes that men are responsible for evil in the world, Lord Byron believes that evil is innate, and must exist to balance the duality of the universe. Later, Lord Byron introduces Percy to opium. After inhaling the substance, Lord Byron demands Mary and Claire’s opinions about a painting that features a woman being raped by a grotesque creature tormented by unrequited love. Although she remains silent, Mary is fascinated and haunted by the figure. As Dr. Polidori excuses himself from the room, Lord Byron follows him upstairs and reprimands him for being rude. Bursting into tears, Dr. Polidori admits he is jealous of the attention Lord Byron has ... +


In the summer of 1816, romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley vacations in Switzerland with his devoted fiancée, writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and her stepsister, Claire Clairmont, who also shares the couple’s bed. One afternoon, the famously tortured poet, Lord George Gordon Byron, arrives at their hotel accompanied by his physician and companion, Dr. John William Polidori. Having been previously acquainted with Lord Byron in London, England, Claire rushes to greet him and the two rekindle their passionate affair. Impressed by Percy and Mary’s work, Lord Byron asks them to lunch, where they discuss rebellion against the British upper classes and debate the virtues of “free love.” Although Mary appears unmoved by Lord Byron’s overt and seductive charms, she, Percy, and Claire accept an invitation to stay in a cottage on the grounds of his country villa. There, they while away the hours on a boat playing music, singing, and exchanging poems about the ladies’ beauty. During lunch, Percy and Lord Byron spar over the nature of good and evil. While Percy believes that men are responsible for evil in the world, Lord Byron believes that evil is innate, and must exist to balance the duality of the universe. Later, Lord Byron introduces Percy to opium. After inhaling the substance, Lord Byron demands Mary and Claire’s opinions about a painting that features a woman being raped by a grotesque creature tormented by unrequited love. Although she remains silent, Mary is fascinated and haunted by the figure. As Dr. Polidori excuses himself from the room, Lord Byron follows him upstairs and reprimands him for being rude. Bursting into tears, Dr. Polidori admits he is jealous of the attention Lord Byron has shown to his new friends. Asking his forgiveness, Lord Byron embraces Dr. Polidori, and the two fall into bed together. From the garden below, Claire watches their silhouettes in the bedroom window. The next day, Lord Byron renews the debate about good and evil by inviting Percy to smoke opium to see if the substance will expose a darker side to his virtuous fiancée. Once high, Percy looks upon Mary’s blurred, shadowy face and becomes frightened as the image of her “inner demon” emerges, just as Lord Byron expected. That night, Mary confronts Lord Byron about his attempts to come between her and Percy. Lord Byron declares his intention to uncover her true, mysterious nature by seducing her. Although she is tempted by the baron’s advances, Mary returns to Percy’s bed for a passionate rendezvous. Over breakfast, Mary voices her concern that Lord Byron has wielded too strong an influence over them, but Percy encourages her to act on her feelings if she desires to sleep with him in the spirit of “free love.” Claire reveals that she is pregnant, and assures Lord Byron that he is the father. Ignoring her, Lord Byron becomes preoccupied ranting about a twisted future in which men learn to create life without conception and instead use laboratories and chemicals to attain immortality. Upset by his negligence, Claire calls him a madman, and he storms out. That night, Mary dreams she is alone in the house with a lumbering creature based on Lord Byron’s description of a man-made human. The next morning, Dr. Polidori tells Mary about Lord Byron’s childhood struggle to correct a crippled foot, for which he was cruelly ridiculed. Refusing to accept his role as a father, Lord Byron tells Claire she must give up the child if she wishes to stay with him. Claire opts to keep the baby, and grows to despise Lord Byron for making her choose. Meanwhile, Lord Byron uncovers Dr. Polidori’s plan to sell his secret journals and expose him as a madman, taking revenge for Byron's refusal to foster his literary endeavors. Angered by his companion’s breach of trust, Lord Byron banishes him from the house. That night, Mary imagines hearing the heavy footsteps of the monster and is inspired to write. Sometime after Dr. Polidori’s departure, a servant finds one of his bags containing Lord Byron’s supply of opium. Suggesting she is finally willing to indulge, Mary requests that Percy and Claire watch while she and Lord Byron recreate the same drug-induced test Percy performed. As the drug takes effect, the companions see the golem from Mary’s dream emerge from the shadows. The monster kisses Lord Byron on the mouth, prompting him to flee in fear. The next morning, Mary reveals that she did not inhale the opium and that the monster was actually Dr. Polidori in disguise. Although it was a trick, Lord Byron admits he believes the creature was a manifestation of the evil inside himself. Mary kisses him, and they make love. At the end of the summer, Percy, Mary, and Claire prepare to return to England. As they depart, Mary holds Lord Byron’s gaze while the carriage pulls away. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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