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Summer of '42

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Robert Mulligan

Gently nostalgic, Robert Mulligan's tender and insightful look at three teenage boys' approach to the mysteries of love and sex takes place on the coast of New England during World War II. While his two friends devote their time to investigating the … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Cast: Lou Frizzell
Director: Robert Mulligan
Release Date: 1971
MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about Summer of '42

Summer of ‘42 ~ Becoming Sexually Alive?

  • Oct 9, 2000
Pros: Good clean performances, music wistfully catching

Cons: None

I've never been a 15 year old male teetering on the edge of sexual awakenings, so I can't verify the truths of this movie. I have been a war widow, though, so I can justify the truth of O'Neills lonely searching character. I wasn't alive in the Summer of ‘42, but one could only imagine that as each person reaches that point in their lives where they stumble from a boy/girl into a man/woman ~ the summers are pretty much universal. The added poignancy to this story was of course World War II, flirting with your emotions, in the background.

The boys in this movie were already much more advanced than the group in Stand by Me but their general ‘boyness' was the same. That insatiable curiosity of all things unknown. The end result of what caused the boys, in both of these movies, to ‘come of age' or ‘become a man' were quite different but both movies deal with that kissing of innocence goodbye and realizing your own mortality.

Perhaps there is nothing as painful as that first love, no matter the age, but I found the scenes between Jennifer O'Neill and Gary Grimes particularly well done and tasteful. The visuals in this movie are very beautiful and the music well adapted. While there are no ‘true' sex scenes in the movie, I still found it highly sexual in its' portrayal.

The overt teenage sexual angst between the boys was funny as could be, although I know it isn't funny in real life. Especially the scenes where poor Gary has to go to the druggist (Lou Frizzell) to procure his condoms, for his upcoming - he hopes - first sexual encounter. Added to that is the ever present sexual Bible these boys are living by, losing the pages to, and having the girls far outdistance them in practice, and the hysterical ‘make out' scene in the movie theater where poor mislead Gary believes he is caressing the darling Katherine Allentuck's breast, only to find out it was her arm, later.

I took great pleasure in watching these budding actors and actresses fumble and stumble through their lives on screen and thoroughly enjoyed the music. The step backward through the teenage years was, though, a little painful. While I normally don't care for narrations or over voicing, I found Robert Mulligan (director) handled it quite well, actually adding to the story.


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