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A Summer Place (1959)


Web50
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Notice how when TCM shows A Summer Place they always show Palm Springs Weekend next to it?  And they show them a lot.  Do they think there's a great demand for these two mediocre movies that they have to show them bi-monthly, or maybe monthly?  (Just griping.) 

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5 minutes ago, Web50 said:

Notice how when TCM shows A Summer Place they always show Palm Springs Weekend next to it?  And they show them a lot.  Do they think there's a great demand for these two mediocre movies that they have to show them bi-monthly, or maybe monthly?  (Just griping.) 

Palm Springs Weekend is a mediocre movie,  but A Summer Place is good,  and it has a solid cast with McGuire,  Kennedy,  and Constance Ford.

I like Sandra Dee but for her screen persona more so than her acting chops.

Now Troy Donahue is one of those very handsome but boring actors.    I assume TCM shows these films back-to-back because of him.

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30 minutes ago, Shank Asu said:

IMO the best thing about A Summer Place is the song.  I think it's a decent enough film, but feels like a soap opera.

Feels like a soap opera is a good description.     That is one reason I mentioned the solid cast of  McGuire,  Kennedy,  and Constance Ford.    For me they are  still able to shine and make the most out of a soap opera material given to them.     (the two young leads are not able to do that).

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21 minutes ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

Feels like a soap opera is a good description.     That is one reason I mentioned the solid cast of  McGuire,  Kennedy,  and Constance Ford.    For me they are  still able to shine and make the most out of a soap opera material given to them.     (the two young leads are not able to do that).

It's a soap opera, but a good one. It crams in a lot issues to keep things interesting. There is the extra marital affair between Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire, the young forbidden love of Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, later teen pregnancy, divorce, alcoholism all make their way into it.

The best thing to me was Constance Ford, she plays a nasty, cold, vindictive prude and she does it really well. The Christmas scene between her and Sandra Dee is a classic.

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Yep, gotta admit the best thing about Palm Springs Weekend is all the cool cars in it, and like this '63 T-Bird Roadster that Robert Conrad, who plays a real jerk in the movie, drives around the Coachella Valley...

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Oh wait! AND of course, the OTHER cool thing in it is the cute as all hell Stefanie here...

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(...how could I forget THIS?!!!)  ;)

 

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I'm a Zeme North fan, so gotta go with "Palm Springs Weekend."   That and the crackin' of the whip of the ox-drivers, sung in full folk earnestness of the Modern Folk Quartet! Can't beat that.

I've seen "A Summer Place" a couple of times, and it seems sort of ok.  I agree, the cast with Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire is a pleasure to watch.  The melodrama just doesn't work for me as it does in some of those pot-boiling glossy production pictures of the time.  Still, if it's on, I'll go ahead and watch to the end -- so it's got that going for it.  

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2 hours ago, Web50 said:

Notice how when TCM shows A Summer Place they always show Palm Springs Weekend next to it?  And they show them a lot.  Do they think there's a great demand for these two mediocre movies that they have to show them bi-monthly, or maybe monthly?  (Just griping.) 

No Disrespect Is Meant in saying its Always a (Viewing) PLEASURE Watching Dorothy McGuire in Any and All of her roles.

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1 hour ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

Feels like a soap opera is a good description.     That is one reason I mentioned the solid cast of  McGuire,  Kennedy,  and Constance Ford.    For me they are  still able to shine and make the most out of a soap opera material given to them.     (the two young leads are not able to do that).

Beulah Bondi too, though her relevance to the story itself is limited. And I think Richard Egan deserves equal mention with the others; he's at kind of a low boil throughout but puts in a really solid performance. I think A Summer Place was aimed at a general audience and it definitely found one, adults and minors alike. Palm Springs Weekend aimed lower and succeeded less. It followed closely on the success of American-International's Beach Party and also had MGM's big hit Where the Boys Are as a reference point, so it seems like Warner's decided to put their stable of hot "youngsters" to good use and crank out their own. But it's glossy and silly and is fun in its own terms. As to why the two movies seem to be paired, I agree that Troy Donahue probably accounts for that. Interestingly, in the four DVD box set of Warner Donahue-helmed "romance" films, Palm Springs Weekend is paired with Parrish, Rome Adventure and Susan Slade. They released A Summer Place separately, which is probably a testament to its longevity and broader appeal.

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Every time I think of A Summer Place I think of another movie, Diner.   It's the bit where Mickey Rourke's character takes some beautiful rich unattainable girl out for a date.  He's made some unseemly bet with his friends that he can get the girl to --not sure I want to describe it further, let's just say,  get the girl to do something she'd never knowingly do, certainly not on their first date.

Anyway,  he takes her to see A Summer Place.  It involves a box of popcorn,  and the girl being shocked by something Mickey does with the box.  Anyone who's seen it will know what I'm talking about.   It's disgusting,  and also,  by the standards of today's culture,  offensive and inappropriate, to say the least. But it's also pretty funny.  Mickey tells his date that it was all because of a scene in the movie, something to do with Sandra Dee's dress getting torn or whatever.

I have to say,  I like Diner a lot more than I like A Summer Place.  I actually really dislike all those late '50s / early '60s melodramas, they just go on and on, and as someone else here mentioned,  they seem to cram just about every possible "issue" that was on the cultural radar at that time into the story. As I recall A Summer Place,  it's mostly about Johnny and Molly's angsting about wanting to have sex and yet feeling they shouldn't.  I know it was 1959, when it was a big deal for teen lovers to decide to have sex,  but honestly,  I got pretty tired of the angsting.  Ok,  either have sex or move on, already !    

Diner was made in 1982 but was set the same year as A Summer Place,  1959.  In my opinion,  Diner's a lot more fun.

ps:  I have to revise what I said above about 1950s melodramas,  I make an exception with Douglas Sirk, whose films I really enjoy.

 

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I will occasionally watch Palm Springs Weekend, but not very often.  Like much about it except Robert Conrad and Troy Donahue.  Never have liked either one of them actually.

As for A Summer Place, the only good thing about to me is the song.  Part of it has I have little use for Donahue or Sandra Dee.  While other actors are good, they cannot make up for D & D.

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I must confess  a guilty fondness for A Summer Place. Even though the story gets a little fraught and troubling at times, it still feels comforting to watch it.  Must be the wide screen, bright colors, Nelson Riddle music etc--a '50's soapy vibe that is nostalgic. I also love watching the '50's Douglas Sirk melodramas. I guess, in general, the big sweeping '50's dramas are a secret pleasure of mine.

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42 minutes ago, Twokeets said:

I must confess  a guilty fondness for A Summer Place. Even though the story gets a little fraught and troubling at times, it still feels comforting to watch it.  Must be the wide screen, bright colors, Nelson Riddle music etc--a '50's soapy vibe that is nostalgic. I also love watching the '50's Douglas Sirk melodramas. I guess, in general, the big sweeping '50's dramas are a secret pleasure of mine.

Max Steiner (Now Voyager, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind) did the score. Percy Faith had a hit single of the theme song that dominated AM radio at the time. I totally agree that the overall combo of the wide screen, bright colors, standout music and "soapy vibe" make for a very appealing package.

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I only watch Palm Springs Weekend for the few location shots, as it's vintage mid-century Palm Springs.    I like Carole Cook's turn in it too.

A Summer Place goes on a bit too long for me.  The teen angst/sexual frustration reminds me of the same territory covered in Splendor in the Grass (or vice versa, I guess, since Summer came before Splendor...)  At least Sandra Dee's character wasn't institutionalized...

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

Max Steiner (Now Voyager, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind) did the score. Percy Faith had a hit single of the theme song that dominated AM radio at the time. I totally agree that the overall combo of the wide screen, bright colors, standout music and "soapy vibe" make for a very appealing package.

Percy Faith! Makes me think of my parent's hi-fi set, how they'd drink Manhattans and discuss the latest Broadway plays....

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For those of you who fancy seeing a bit of "latter day" Dorothy McGuire and Beulah Bondi there is the movie SHE WAITS (1971-Tvm).  Only 74 minutes; one of those TVM's made to fill those long-gone 90-minute network time slots.  Directed by Delbert Mann. 

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1 hour ago, txfilmfan said:

I only watch Palm Springs Weekend for the few location shots, as it's vintage mid-century Palm Springs.    I like Carole Cook's turn in it too.

A Summer Place goes on a bit too long for me.  The teen angst/sexual frustration reminds me of the same territory covered in Splendor in the Grass (or vice versa, I guess, since Summer came before Splendor...)  At least Sandra Dee's character wasn't institutionalized...

That's a good comparison;  Splendour in the Grass is indeed another film, made around the same time  ( ok, a couple of years later), about a young couple torn between wanting to have sex, and yet worrying about breaking what was a very strict convention at that time. Actually, although Splendour in the Grass was made two years after A Summer Place, it's set in the 1920s, when pre-marital sex was even more verboten than it was in the '50s.

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We released the complete soundtrack score to A SUMMER PLACE. It's officially out of print but I still have a few copies.

Great cast. Arthur Kennedy has a terrific monologue later in the film. 

My wife and I attended an AMC-sponsored screening years ago at which Troy and Sandra appeared. Before the film some female comic - Kate something or other - did a routine basically telling how corny the film was, reading off "cheesy" lines of dialogue. Then Troy and Sandra came out looking embarrassed as hell.  Anyway, the woman from AMC announced they were showing a restored print.  After the intros there was an ugly splice into the Warner logo, then a few splices in the titles. I leaned over to my wife and said "this is NOT a restored print - but enjoy it. It's a vintage dye-transfer original". And it was gorgeous. Not in great shape, but stunning.

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On 11/17/2021 at 10:49 AM, JamesJazGuitar said:

Feels like a soap opera is a good description.     That is one reason I mentioned the solid cast of  McGuire,  Kennedy,  and Constance Ford.    For me they are  still able to shine and make the most out of a soap opera material given to them.     (the two young leads are not able to do that).

 

On 11/17/2021 at 11:16 AM, Det Jim McLeod said:

It's a soap opera, but a good one. It crams in a lot issues to keep things interesting. There is the extra marital affair between Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire, the young forbidden love of Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, later teen pregnancy, divorce, alcoholism all make their way into it.

The best thing to me was Constance Ford, she plays a nasty, cold, vindictive prude and she does it really well. The Christmas scene between her and Sandra Dee is a classic.

I guess as a male, the only soap opera-ish TV i like are Mad Men or wrestling.  🤣

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OK.  I'm 45 minutes into this thing, and I have to go pick up my wife from work.  But y'all have convinced me, this is one to watch!  I'll get back to it on Demand, probably.

Yeesh! You don't even need any big old waves crashing on the rocky coast to be clued in to what's going on here.  

But don't anyone tell me how it ends -- I want to be surprised.

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I enjoy A Summer Place because it try to deal with a taboo topic (teenagers and sex, adultry, alcholism, divorce) and does a decent job. Kudos to Arthur Kennedy a favorite of mines. I've watched him in films over the years where the other actor was a huge star, but he  held his own and made me notice him.

He played Cagney's younger brother in City for Conquest

He played the arrogant greedy calvary officer in They Died with Their Boots On opposite Errol Flynn

He played the rapist in Peyton Place with a great cast - Lloyd Nolan, Lana Turner, Leon Ames

He played a newspaper reporter in Elmer Gantry with Burt Lancaster and Jean Simmons

 

 

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23 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

I only watch Palm Springs Weekend for the few location shots, as it's vintage mid-century Palm Springs.    I like Carole Cook's turn in it too.

A Summer Place goes on a bit too long for me.  The teen angst/sexual frustration reminds me of the same territory covered in Splendor in the Grass (or vice versa, I guess, since Summer came before Splendor...)  At least Sandra Dee's character wasn't institutionalized...

I’m sure if A Summer Place had gone on a little longer, Constance Ford would have had Sandra Dee institutionalized. It was pretty much the only thing that hadn’t happened to her yet. With that said, much like “Written on the Wind,” I love everything that happens to everyone in that film. I love it. I also love Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, while wooden (I agree) has some weird charm to him that makes me like him. My favorite parts of “A Summer Place” is Richard Egan’s  glorious speech condemning his wife’s hatred and prejudice (makes you wonder how they married in the first place, much less had Sandra Dee) and later when Constance Ford slaps Sandra Dee and she very dramatically falls onto the Christmas tree. 

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1 hour ago, Oneeyeopen said:

I enjoy A Summer Place because it try to deal with a taboo topic (teenagers and sex, adultry, alcholism, divorce) and does a decent job. Kudos to Arthur Kennedy a favorite of mines. I've watched him in films over the years where the other actor was a huge star, but he  held his own and made me notice him.

He played Cagney's younger brother in City for Conquest

He played the arrogant greedy calvary officer in They Died with Their Boots On opposite Errol Flynn

He played the rapist in Peyton Place with a great cast - Lloyd Nolan, Lana Turner, Leon Ames

He played a newspaper reporter in Elmer Gantry with Burt Lancaster and Jean Simmons

 

And, he played a fictionalized version of famed 20th century American journalist Lowell Thomas named Jackson Bentley in Lawrence of Arabia, and in a manner of  speaking this film's narrative is a recollection of his characters impressions of the film's titual character.

(...another of my favorite Arthur Kennedy roles)

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