Echoes of a Summer (1976)

PG | 98 mins | Comedy-drama, Drama | 19 May 1976

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HISTORY

The viewed print was a commercial broadcast, and some scenes or portions of scenes may have been altered or deleted.
       The end credits include the following acknowledgement: With special appreciation to Eastern Provincial Airlines; Nova Scotia Department of Tourism; and the citizens of Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.
       Photography for Echoes of a Summer began on 16 Sep 1974 under it’s original title, The Last Castle, as reported in the 12 Sep 1974 DV. The 6 Oct 1974 NYT cited Chester, Nova Scotia, as the film’s location. According to an article on Joseph in the 21 May 1975 Var, the story was inspired by the writer’s memories of being an eight-year-old boy in love with a 12-year-old girl. The article also mentioned that Joseph had a small cameo part in the film. In his 3 Nov 1975 DV column, Army Archerd reported that Richard Harris acquired rights to the property in 1970. Harris called it “one of the most treasurable things in my possession.” A news item from the 9 Sep 1974 DV named Bryanston Pictures as the film’s distributor for the U.S. The budget for Echoes of a Summer was first reported in the 7 Apr 1974 DV as $1.65 million, but was later revised to $900,000 in the 27 Nov 1974 DV.
       Barbara Harris was announced for the part of Ruth Striden in the 13 Sep 1974 HR, with her departure from the cast reported in the 27 Sep 1974 HR. Lois Nettleton was named as her replacement. ... More Less

The viewed print was a commercial broadcast, and some scenes or portions of scenes may have been altered or deleted.
       The end credits include the following acknowledgement: With special appreciation to Eastern Provincial Airlines; Nova Scotia Department of Tourism; and the citizens of Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.
       Photography for Echoes of a Summer began on 16 Sep 1974 under it’s original title, The Last Castle, as reported in the 12 Sep 1974 DV. The 6 Oct 1974 NYT cited Chester, Nova Scotia, as the film’s location. According to an article on Joseph in the 21 May 1975 Var, the story was inspired by the writer’s memories of being an eight-year-old boy in love with a 12-year-old girl. The article also mentioned that Joseph had a small cameo part in the film. In his 3 Nov 1975 DV column, Army Archerd reported that Richard Harris acquired rights to the property in 1970. Harris called it “one of the most treasurable things in my possession.” A news item from the 9 Sep 1974 DV named Bryanston Pictures as the film’s distributor for the U.S. The budget for Echoes of a Summer was first reported in the 7 Apr 1974 DV as $1.65 million, but was later revised to $900,000 in the 27 Nov 1974 DV.
       Barbara Harris was announced for the part of Ruth Striden in the 13 Sep 1974 HR, with her departure from the cast reported in the 27 Sep 1974 HR. Lois Nettleton was named as her replacement.
       An advertisement in the 8 Jan 1975 Var announced the planned Easter 1975 release of The Last Castle. The title change to Echoes of a Summer appeared in the 17 Jan 1975 Var, though no mention was made of a planned release date. A news item in the 21 Feb 1975 DV reported that the film was scheduled for a summer release. Echoes of a Summer was slated to premiere on 24 Oct 1975 at the San Francisco International Film Festival, according to a story in the 26 Sep 1975 DV. However, as reported in the 14 Oct 1975 DV, the premiere was canceled because the film’s new distributor, which Howard declined to name, decided it required further editing. News items in the 16 Oct HR, the 27 Oct Box and the 27 Nov 1975 Var all reported that Echoes of a Summer would be the first release by the newly-formed Cine-Artists Pictures, with a premiere in late Feb 1976.
       The 5 Apr 1976 Box reported that Echoes of a Summer premiered at the Hyland Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 6 Feb 1976. Profits from the screening benefited Bonny Lea Farm, a school for disabled children in Chester, Nova Scotia. According to the article, more than six hundred guests attended, including military, political and religious leaders, as well as Robert L. Joseph, Lois Nettleton, and financier Harry Greenberg of Astral Bellevue Pathé.
       Reviews for Echoes of a Summer were mixed. It received praise from Var and the LAT, although the NYT singled out Richard Harris as the film’s biggest liability. The 10 May 1976 Box announced the film as a Blue Ribbon Award winner.
       A trade advertisement for Cine-Artists touted high box office receipts for its Jan 1976 test engagement of Echoes of a Summer at a Cineplex in Little Rock, AR. According to the 5 Apr 1976 Box, the film also attracted large audiences in Halifax, Nova Scotia, following its premiere.
       A news item in the 16 June 1975 Box reported that Sandy Howard arranged with Ballantine Books to publish the screenplay in paperback form.
       Robert L. Joseph hosted the film on a promotional tour of Canada, followed by a tour of Europe, which included London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam, according to the 3 Aug 1976 HR.
       The film has a copyright of 1975, Beta Filmco. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Jun 1975.
---
Box Office
5 Apr 1976.
---
Box Office
10 May 1976
p. 26.
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1974.
---
Daily Variety
9 Sep 1974.
---
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1974.
---
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1975.
---
Daily Variety
26 Sep 1975
p.1 - 2.
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1974
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1976.
---
New York Times
6 Oct 1974.
---
New York Times
15 May 1976.
---
Variety
27 Oct 1975.
---
Variety
27 Nov 1974.
---
Variety
17 Jan 1975.
---
Variety
21 May 1975.
---
Variety
4 Feb 1976
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Sandy Howard and Richard Harris production
A Castle Service Company Feature
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
SOUND
Rerec mixer
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
In charge of prod
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Isle of Children by Robert L. Joseph (New York, 16 May 1962).
SONGS
"Original Theme Song 'The Last Castle'," words and music by Richard Harris.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Last Castle
Release Date:
19 May 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 May 1976
Production Date:
began 16 September 1974 in Chester, Novembera Scotia
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed with Panavision® equipment
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Nine-year-old Phillip Anding runs along a beach and sees a castle on top of a hill, then climbs a flight of wooden stairs that lead to a large white house. Inside, Deirdre Striden practices a ballet move as her father, writer Eugene “Gene” Striden, enters the room. Father and daughter engage in witty banter that reveals Deirdre’s intelligence and precocity. They then follow a wooded path down to a docked motorboat, which they drive around on the water. Inside the house, Ruth Striden enters the kitchen, while Sara, Deirdre’s tutor, builds a miniature structure for her pupil. Ruth expresses regret for Sara’s isolation on their small island, but Sara accepts it as part of her job. The tutor also admits that Deirdre has a superior intellect, but needs motivation from her parents. After their boat ride, father and daughter walk toward the house where they spy Phillip hiding behind a tree. He emerges wearing a headband with feathers, describing himself as a prehistoric chicken before running away. Deirdre’s face is briefly contorted in pain while her father looks on helplessly. Ruth greets them on the porch and tries to participate in their banter, which Deirdre perceives as disingenuous. Gene and Deidre go to the castle and find Phillip hiding inside. Gene is amused by the boy, but Deirdre is only annoyed by him. Phillip asks to be involved in planning her twelfth birthday, which is two days away. Gene is preparing a pageant, as he does every year, although Phillip’s main concern is whether potato salad will be served. Deirdre is exasperated, but invites Phillip to her history lesson after dinner. As the boy leaves, Gene reminds Deirdre that ... +


Nine-year-old Phillip Anding runs along a beach and sees a castle on top of a hill, then climbs a flight of wooden stairs that lead to a large white house. Inside, Deirdre Striden practices a ballet move as her father, writer Eugene “Gene” Striden, enters the room. Father and daughter engage in witty banter that reveals Deirdre’s intelligence and precocity. They then follow a wooded path down to a docked motorboat, which they drive around on the water. Inside the house, Ruth Striden enters the kitchen, while Sara, Deirdre’s tutor, builds a miniature structure for her pupil. Ruth expresses regret for Sara’s isolation on their small island, but Sara accepts it as part of her job. The tutor also admits that Deirdre has a superior intellect, but needs motivation from her parents. After their boat ride, father and daughter walk toward the house where they spy Phillip hiding behind a tree. He emerges wearing a headband with feathers, describing himself as a prehistoric chicken before running away. Deirdre’s face is briefly contorted in pain while her father looks on helplessly. Ruth greets them on the porch and tries to participate in their banter, which Deirdre perceives as disingenuous. Gene and Deidre go to the castle and find Phillip hiding inside. Gene is amused by the boy, but Deirdre is only annoyed by him. Phillip asks to be involved in planning her twelfth birthday, which is two days away. Gene is preparing a pageant, as he does every year, although Phillip’s main concern is whether potato salad will be served. Deirdre is exasperated, but invites Phillip to her history lesson after dinner. As the boy leaves, Gene reminds Deirdre that Phillip gets little attention from his parents. Gene promises her a very special birthday, but she somberly offers to release him from his promise. Inside the house, Ruth tells Sara that she is going out, and is obviously lying about her destination. Outside, Deirdre admonishes Phillip for his habit of fabricating elaborate lies. Deirdre breaks the news that she is dying, and Phillip accepts it stoically, insisting that she continue her lessons for the sake of her reputation. They go upstairs to her room, where Deirdre talks cynically about the useless visits to European doctors who have offered no hope, and expects the same from the doctor whom Ruth is currently visiting. Later, in the kitchen, Sara scolds Deirdre for her lack of interest in her lessons, and Phillip, upset over Deirdre’s illness, leaves on the verge of tears. Deirdre goes up to her room and sneaks back down carrying a suitcase. Returning home, Ruth enters the kitchen, complaining to Sara about the doctor’s refusal to see Deirdre, but also sounding optimistic about another doctor named Hallett, who "won’t sit around waiting for God’s other shoe to drop." This offends Sara’s religious sensibilities. Ruth enters Gene’s office, where he is looking at medical bills, and asks him if they could spend time together like a normal couple. They argue about the state of their family: how Gene sold everything to live on their island, how he has abandoned his work, and how Ruth refuses to accept Deirdre’s mortality. Meanwhile, Phillip opens the castle door and finds Deirdre inside, made up as an old woman. Worried that her parents have discovered her missing, they run to the house as Phillip tries to concoct an excuse. Deirdre goes back inside while Phillip ditches his backpack on the porch to run freely around the yard. Returning to the porch, Phillip encounters Gene, who asks if the boy, who has been carrying a backpack, is leaving home. Phillip asks to move in with the Stridens, so that he can look after Deirdre and protect her reputation after she dies. Gene tells him, "Reputation is a very grown up word." Phillip replies, "So is dying," before running home. Upstairs, Gene hears Deirdre groaning in pain. After taking her medication, she rides him piggyback down to the shore, where they reminisce about her ballet lessons. Gene imagines Deirdre as a young woman while she dances, but is shocked back to reality when she falls to the ground. Ruth appears and scolds Gene for allowing Deirdre to dance. The next morning, Dr. Hallett examines Deirdre; both understand that nothing can be done. Downstairs, Ruth presses Hallett for good news, but he dismisses her. He writes a prescription and informs Gene that Deirdre is trying to die with dignity. While Gene is at the drugstore, Ruth visits Deirdre in her room. Sara follows, and then Phillip, who upsets Ruth by mentioning Deirdre’s impending death. After Sara escorts the boy out, Deirdre asks Ruth about her courtship with Gene, and muses on what it would be like to grow up. Deirdre has a sudden chest pain and Ruth, coming to her aid, accidentally drops a bottle of pills on the floor. She cries in frustration as Deirdre desperately tries to comfort her. Ruth meets Gene outside upon his return, and they have another heated argument about Deirdre’s fate and that of their marriage. Later, Gene overhears Sara criticize the Stridens’ disinterest in religion, followed by Deirdre’s cynical retorts. Afterward, Gene tries to cheer her up, but she feels hateful, and asks that she not be remembered as a witch. The next day, Phillip visits Deirdre in the castle. He kisses her on the cheek, telling her it is from his imaginary friend, Sgt. Kutcher, but Deirdre wants a real kiss, which frightens Phillip. She asks Phillip to lie beside her on the beach, just for the experience of being with a man. He is uneasy with the idea, but obliges. As they lay on the beach holding hands, Phillip says, "I hope sex is as nice as this." Meanwhile, Gene and Ruth are converting their front porch into a pagoda using crepe paper, painted cardboard and Chinese lanterns. Sara offers to help, but Gene politely excludes her. As they finish, Ruth at last admits that this will be Deirdre’s final birthday. Deirdre and Phillip walk back to the house and discuss the concept of reputation, but when Deirdre changes the subject to death, Phillip is frightened and runs to Gene in the backyard. Phillip tells Gene an allegorical story about a dead girl who was grateful for the short life she had, which convinces Gene to celebrate Deirdre’s life instead of preparing for her death. After an exchange of ideas, they choose "reputation" as the theme of the birthday play. Gene begins tearing down the pagoda, drawing Ruth and Sara outside. Sara tries to take Deirdre inside and send Phillip away, but when Ruth joins in on the demolition, Sara angrily returns to the kitchen. Gene then offers Sara’s part in the play to Phillip. Later, a group of children arrive at the dock, with Phillip leading them up to the house as a surprise for Deirdre. Once the children are all seated on the lawn, the play begins. It tells the story of an aging emperor who wasted time worrying about his health and reputation, with Phillip as narrator, and Gene and Ruth playing the other roles. At the end, the emperor decrees that no one is allowed to whine and mope about unimportant matters. Gene introduces Deirdre, who makes a life-affirming speech. When everyone else goes inside, Phillip and Deirdre express their respect and admiration for each other. Phillip runs toward home in tears, claiming to have a date with Sgt. Kutcher, and Deirdre goes inside to join the party. On the beach, Phillip looks up at the castle and runs home. +

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

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