Summer of '42 (1971)

R | 102-103 mins | Drama | April 1971

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writer:

Herman Raucher

Producer:

Richard A. Roth

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Production Designer:

Albert Brenner

Production Companies:

Mulligan-Roth Productions, Warner Bros., Inc.
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HISTORY

At the beginning and end of the film, voice-over narration by the adult “Hermie” reminisces about the summer of 1942 and describes the contradictory emotions he felt after meeting "Dorothy," which he has continued to feel throughout his life. As noted in Filmfacts , director Robert Mulligan was the voice of the mature Hermie. Although the CBCS listed Ken Clayton as “Hermie the Man,” an adult Hermie does not appear in the film. Near the end of the film, as Hermie reads the letter, its contents are heard in voice-over narration by Jennifer O'Neill, as "Dorothy." “The druggist” and Dorothy are the only major adult characters to appear in the film. The voice of “Hermie’s mother,” who is never seen, was provided by Maureen Stapleton. Katherine Allentuck, who portrayed “Aggie,” is Stapleton’s daughter. The onscreen cast credits, which provide the name of each actor superimposed over his picture, appear only at the end of the film. The CBCS reported that the voices of Gene Hackman and Cliff Robertson were used in the film, but they were not discernable in the print viewed. The full copyright statement for the film reads: "Warner Bros., Inc. and Mulligan-Roth Productions, a joint venture of Park Place Productions, Inc. and Richard Alan Roth Productions, Inc."
       The nostalgic tone set by the narrator at the beginning of the film is enhanced by the diffused, warm brown Technicolor photography of the coastal setting, which, as described in the HR review, is “full of slow pans” and “something like those overexposed snapshots that never seem to stay glued in scrapbooks.” According to Jul 1970 ... More Less

At the beginning and end of the film, voice-over narration by the adult “Hermie” reminisces about the summer of 1942 and describes the contradictory emotions he felt after meeting "Dorothy," which he has continued to feel throughout his life. As noted in Filmfacts , director Robert Mulligan was the voice of the mature Hermie. Although the CBCS listed Ken Clayton as “Hermie the Man,” an adult Hermie does not appear in the film. Near the end of the film, as Hermie reads the letter, its contents are heard in voice-over narration by Jennifer O'Neill, as "Dorothy." “The druggist” and Dorothy are the only major adult characters to appear in the film. The voice of “Hermie’s mother,” who is never seen, was provided by Maureen Stapleton. Katherine Allentuck, who portrayed “Aggie,” is Stapleton’s daughter. The onscreen cast credits, which provide the name of each actor superimposed over his picture, appear only at the end of the film. The CBCS reported that the voices of Gene Hackman and Cliff Robertson were used in the film, but they were not discernable in the print viewed. The full copyright statement for the film reads: "Warner Bros., Inc. and Mulligan-Roth Productions, a joint venture of Park Place Productions, Inc. and Richard Alan Roth Productions, Inc."
       The nostalgic tone set by the narrator at the beginning of the film is enhanced by the diffused, warm brown Technicolor photography of the coastal setting, which, as described in the HR review, is “full of slow pans” and “something like those overexposed snapshots that never seem to stay glued in scrapbooks.” According to Jul 1970 HR news items and the Var review, portions of the film were shot at Fort Bragg, CA, and the NYT review mentioned that the Mendocino area of California was used to portray the Long Island setting of the story.
       According to Filmfacts , Herman Raucher wrote the screenplay for Summer of ‘42 in ten days, then turned it into a novel, which was published in 1971 and bears the same title. As noted in Filmfacts , Raucher stated that the story was autobiographical and that all the names of the characters were the actual names of real people. “The Summer Knows,” Michel Legrand's critically acclaimed, haunting theme heard throughout the soundtrack of the film, is reprised near the end of the story as a recording played on Dorothy's phonograph. Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman wrote lyrics for the melody, but they are not in the film. In the movie house sequence, the film attended by Hermie, Aggie, “Oscy,” and “Miriam” was Warner Bros.’ Now, Voyager , which, in actuality opened in Oct 1942 (see above). Now, Voyager 's famous quote, “Don’t let's ask for the moon. We have the stars,” is heard in the sequence while Hermie is holding Aggie’s elbow. During the sequence, the movie house’s posters advertised The Wagons Roll at Night and Sergeant York , two Warner Bros. films released in 1941.
       As noted in the Var review, the film was "the first ‘story’ film from the new [Warner Bros.] management since taking over 21 months ago.” A May 1971 NYT article discussing two films about teenagers growing up during World War II claimed that Summer of ‘42 and Universal’s 1971 Red Sky at Morning were "two of the first period films to treat the drab forties as an exotic, nostalgic wonderland.” The NYT review commended Mulligan’s direction of 15-year-old Gary Grimes (Hermie) and seventeen-year-old Jerry Hauser (Oscy), both of whom made their screen debut in the film, saying that “neither [performer] betrays the mystery of his youthful status with the perfunctory mannerisms of child actors." Also making their film debuts were fifteen-year-old actors Allentuck and Oliver Conant (Benjie).
       About Hermie’s sexual initiation by a beautiful, older woman, the LAHExam reviewer felt that the film appealed “not to our sense of reality, or even our ideal version of reality, but to idle fantasy.” The film marked Robert A. Roth's debut as a producer. Summer of ‘42 received three Academy Award nominations: Best Writing—Story and Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. Legrand won an Academy Award for Best Music for Original Dramatic Score. Although the film was originally rated R, the designation was later changed to PG. Grimes, Houser and Conant reprised their roles in the 1973 Warner Bros. sequel, titled Class of '44 , which was written by Raucher and directed by Paul Bogart. In 2002, a musical play by Hunter Foster and David Kirshenbaum, which was based on the film, had a brief run in New York. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Beverly Hills Citizen
7 May 1971.
---
Chicago Sun-Times
5 May 1971.
---
Cosmopolitan
Jul 1971.
---
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 133-36.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1970
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1970
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1971.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
24 Aug 1970.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
30 Apr 1971.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
2 May 1971
p. F1, F4.
Los Angeles Times
28 Apr 1971
Part IV, p. 1, 14.
Motion Picture Herald
19 May 1971.
---
New Republic
29 May 1971.
---
New York
7 Jan 2002.
---
New York Times
19 Apr 1971
p. 51.
New York Times
23 May 1971
p. 15.
Newsweek
26 Apr 1971.
---
Playboy
Jul 1971.
---
Time
10 May 1971.
---
TV Guide
2 Mar 2002.
---
Variety
21 Apr 1971
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Mulligan--Richard A. Roth Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Stills
Key grip
Best boy
Elec gaffer
Transportation gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
2d prop
Propmaster gang boss, const
Propmaker
Propmaker
Const coord
Painter
Painter
Leadman
Swing gang
COSTUMES
Men's cost
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd mixer/rec
Boom op
Sd cable
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Casting, Ft. Bragg
Scr supv
Prod secy
Prod-dir secy
Loc auditor
Unit pub
Social worker
Chaperone
Chaperone
Prod asst
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Summer Knows" by Michel Legrand.
SONGS
"Hold Tight, Hold Tight," music and lyrics by Kent Brandow and Robinson Ware Spotswood, performed by The Andrews Sisters.
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 Apr 1971; Los Angeles opening: 29 Apr 1971
Production Date:
28 Jul--mid Sep 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc. and Mulligan-Roth Productions
Copyright Date:
18 April 1971
Copyright Number:
LP41791
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
102-103
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Revisiting Long Island, New York after almost thirty years, a middle-aged man recalls that when he was fifteen years old, his family spent the summer of 1942 there. A war was going on, but it seemed far from the antics of the teenaged Hermie and his best friends, Oscy and Benjie. Despite the boys’ juvenile pranks, Hermie was on the verge of manhood, and that summer, he met a woman who changed his life in a way from which he never recovered. He recalls how it was for him: Oscy, Benjie and Hermie spy on a young, happily married couple who are renting a summer cottage. As sex is on the boys’ minds, Oscy speculates about what the couple does inside the cottage, but Hermie is simply mesmerized by the woman. At the beach, brash Oscy crudely strategizes ways to get his hands on a girl, but Hermie thoughtfully suggests that before getting physical, one should talk and surmises there is a mysterious order for “doing things.” Benjie, who is less mature than his friends, offers to show them a medical book his mother owns. Looking through the book full of Latin terms and explanatory photographs, Benjie doubts that his parents do anything that “stupid.” Although surprised to learn that what he has heard about sex is true, Hermie admits that it may look dumb in the book, but it is apparently “pleasurable.” Hermie again sees the couple at the ferry, where the man, in uniform, is leaving for the war. Entranced, Hermie watches how the woman kisses him goodbye, and then tearfully heads back alone to her cottage. When the boys see ... +


Revisiting Long Island, New York after almost thirty years, a middle-aged man recalls that when he was fifteen years old, his family spent the summer of 1942 there. A war was going on, but it seemed far from the antics of the teenaged Hermie and his best friends, Oscy and Benjie. Despite the boys’ juvenile pranks, Hermie was on the verge of manhood, and that summer, he met a woman who changed his life in a way from which he never recovered. He recalls how it was for him: Oscy, Benjie and Hermie spy on a young, happily married couple who are renting a summer cottage. As sex is on the boys’ minds, Oscy speculates about what the couple does inside the cottage, but Hermie is simply mesmerized by the woman. At the beach, brash Oscy crudely strategizes ways to get his hands on a girl, but Hermie thoughtfully suggests that before getting physical, one should talk and surmises there is a mysterious order for “doing things.” Benjie, who is less mature than his friends, offers to show them a medical book his mother owns. Looking through the book full of Latin terms and explanatory photographs, Benjie doubts that his parents do anything that “stupid.” Although surprised to learn that what he has heard about sex is true, Hermie admits that it may look dumb in the book, but it is apparently “pleasurable.” Hermie again sees the couple at the ferry, where the man, in uniform, is leaving for the war. Entranced, Hermie watches how the woman kisses him goodbye, and then tearfully heads back alone to her cottage. When the boys see her later at the beach, sunning with her eyes closed, Oscy teases Hermie into trying to talk to her. Hermie approaches the woman, but hesitates to speak. In fun, Oscy and Benjie, shout out warnings that Hermie is a “rapist,” causing Hermie to flee in embarrassment. When he reunites with his friends, Hermie furiously fights them, until Oscy, unable to comprehend Hermie’s annoyance at their joke, subdues him. Oscy cannot understand Hermie’s attraction to the “ancient woman” in her early twenties, but Benjie suggests that they have a “meeting of the minds.” Later in town, Hermie offers his assistance when he sees the woman struggle with several bags of groceries. She accepts his help gratefully and tells him about a twelve-page letter from her husband. At her cottage, she offers to pay Hermie for helping her and, when he refuses, offers him a cup of coffee. Wanting to seem older, he accepts the coffee, pretending to like it black, and makes awkward, though well-mannered attempts at conversation. As he leaves, he warns her about the danger of getting a hernia from carrying heavy objects. Outside, Oscy and Benjie wait to hear about his adventure, but, feeling foolish for his last remark to her, Hermie provides few details and goes home to think. That evening, at the movie theater, Oscy spots three girls and attempts to set up a triple date. Too immature to be interested, Benjie runs off, and Gloria, the unattractive girl he abandons, also leaves. Self-confident Miriam, whom Oscy has chosen for himself, negotiates that she and her friend Aggie will join them, if the boys buy a candy for each of them. During the movie, while Oscy tries to grope Miriam, Hermie tentatively puts his arm around Aggie and, touching skin, believes he is holding her breast. Looking over and seeing that Hermie is fondling Aggie’s elbow, Oscy tries unsuccessfully to redirect Hermie’s hand. On another day, Hermie, at the invitation of the woman who has asked for help moving boxes, walks to her cottage. The sight of her dressed in shorts almost makes him swoon, but he manages to lift the boxes through a ceiling door that leads into the attic. Afterward, he awkwardly tries to say that he likes her and, unaware of the depth of his painful infatuation, she gives him a kiss on the forehead. When he shows the lipstick mark to Oscy and Benjie, Oscy believes that Hermie has “struck gold” and asks Benjie to retrieve the sex manual, suggesting that if they make a list of what to do, they can keep it with them at all times. When Hermie expresses concern about making a baby, which he cannot afford, Oscy, relying on information supplied by an older brother, tells him that he needs a “rubber.” Pressured by Oscy, Hermie enters the drugstore, but, too embarrassed to ask outright for a prophylactic, stalls by ordering a strawberry ice cream cone. When he finally gets the courage to ask for condoms, the druggist, pretending to take him seriously, asks what brand and how many he would like to have, which causes Hermie increasing distress, until the druggist asks if he knows what prophylactics are used for. Taking refuge in innocence, Hermie says they are filled with water and dropped from a rooftop, which amuses the druggist into selling him three. That night Hermie and Oscy have dates with Aggie and Miriam at the beach. While Hermie and Aggie spend the evening roasting marshmallows and saying little, Oscy and Miriam go off into the darkness alone. Soon, Oscy asks to see his notes, and later, for one of Hermie’s condoms. When Aggie discovers what Miriam and Oscy are doing, she runs off. Another day, Hermie sees the woman writing a letter on the bluff near her house and awkwardly makes conversation. Although friendly, she is preoccupied with her letter. When he asks if he can visit her that evening and she agrees, he asks her name, which she says is Dorothy. At home he polishes his saddle oxfords and dons a suit for his big night. As Hermie is leaving his house, he sees the well-meaning Oscy, who asks if he has rubbers, but Hermie tells him that it will not be “that kind of evening.” At Dorothy’s house, Hermie’s knocks are unanswered, so he gently enters, calling to her. Inside he sees crushed-out cigarettes, an empty wine bottle and a silent, spinning phonograph turntable. On the coffee table is a telegram informing Dorothy that her husband was killed in action. When she enters the room with eyes red and puffy from crying, she attempts to clean up, slowly and distractedly, and puts on a record. In grief, she leans on Hermie and they soon begin a slow dance. Long after the music stops, trance-like, she kisses him and leads him to the bedroom, where they slowly take off their clothes and get into bed. Later, after she gets up and walks to the porch, Hermie dresses and follows her and they say goodnight on the porch. The next day, Oscy complains that, as Miriam was taken to a hospital for appendicitis, his “first lay is gone with the wind.” Presuming that Hermie’s evening with Dorothy was disappointing, Oscy tries to console him and suggests they wreak mayhem on the Coast Guard station. Ignoring Oscy, Hermie returns to Dorothy’s house, where a letter from her is attached to the door. She has returned home, the letter states, and will not try to explain what happened, trusting that Hermie will find “a proper way to remember it.” She closes by wishing that he is spared senseless tragedy. In the present, the middle-aged man says that he never saw her again or learned what became of her. He reasons that for everything we take, we leave something behind and in the summer of 1942, he concludes, he lost “Hermie” forever. +

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

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