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Summer Place
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A Summer Place

4.6 8
Director: Delmer Daves, Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Sandra Dee

Cast: Delmer Daves, Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Sandra Dee


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Considering the amount of money it made for the studio at the time, A Summer Place has gotten very little respect in the home video market. The laserdisc, as this reviewer recalls, wasn't even letterboxed, and had no extras to speak of. The Warner Home Video DVD is a modest improvement in that department, at least including the original trailer and offering a


Considering the amount of money it made for the studio at the time, A Summer Place has gotten very little respect in the home video market. The laserdisc, as this reviewer recalls, wasn't even letterboxed, and had no extras to speak of. The Warner Home Video DVD is a modest improvement in that department, at least including the original trailer and offering a letterboxed (about 1.85-to-1) image that's so crisp that it actually defeats some of the studio-generated reality -- the picture and sound are so sharp that you can spot when the action moves from a location to a set with barely a glance. The sharpness also gives full play to Max Steiner's lush, romantic score (of which the well-known "Theme From 'A Summer Place'" is just a small virtue), which is another good reason for buying this DVD. The 36 chapter markers are well-selected, and their mere presence indicates that someone spent some time on this release, even if they didn't exactly load it up with bonus features. This was one of Sandra Dee's better movies, and it's unfortunate that she didn't live long enough to have the chance to do a commentary -- she was genuinely proud of her work here, and it was a sad moment when, a few years before her death, she and co-star Troy Donahue were invited to speak at an anniversary showing of the film, only to discover that most of the audience was there to mock the movie. As the trailer reminds us, at the time in 1959, the plot -- involving illicit romance between married couples and their children -- was groundbreaking subject matter for American movies, and not the easiest kind of material to present on screen; and perhaps younger viewers should look at the trailer before looking at the movie, to get some perspective on what they're seeing.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Although critically savaged, this 1959 adaptation of a bestselling novel by Sloan Wilson hit a receptive chord with mass audiences, making it a touchstone film of the decade. A cinematic soap opera populated by familiar '50s players, A Summer Place centers on vacationing millionaire Ken (Richard Egan) and his wife, Helen (Constance Ford), who bring teenage daughter Molly (Sandra Dee) to a small island off the coast of Maine. There, some 20 years before, Dad had embarked on a torrid affair with sensitive Sylvia (Dorothy McGuire), who has since married impoverished landowner Bart (Arthur Kennedy). Old passions reignite, one thing leads to another, and divorces ensue. But the real problem is the budding romance between Dee and Sylvia’s son, Johnny, played by Troy Donahue. Their relationship lies at the heart of this twisted tale, which has all the corny complications one expects from such glossy tear-jerkers. Guilty pleasures abound: Dee and Donahue make a beautiful couple, McGuire is appropriately sorrowful as the long-suffering mother, and there’s always that haunting theme song by Max Steiner, still a ubiquitous presence on oldies collections.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Propelled by a certain degree of infamy (due to its stand on sexual matters), an attractive pair of young lovers and a theme song that for a while was pretty near inescapable, A Summer Place was a big hit upon its initial release. Seen today, it's pretty tame stuff, and modern audiences will laugh at some of the soapier moments (as well as some of sappier moments, usually given to Troy Donahue and/or Sandra Dee). Still, there's enough to A Summer Place to make it consistently enjoyable. Delmer Daves has directed slickly and stylishly, and there's some good over-the-top fun from the wicked Constance Ford. Indeed, the cast in general makes the film worth watching. Donahue can't really overcome a great deal of his material, but Dee does very well and in her centerpiece "examination" scene is exceptional. Richard Egan also does a fine job, even making the bluntly written "this is what the film is really all about" speeches work as well as can be expected. Even better are Arthur Kennedy and a gorgeous Dorothy McGuire who bring much more skill to their roles than is necessary, and Beulah Bondi, who seems to relish the rare opportunity of playing a member of the upper class. They're all shown off to their best visual advantage via Harry Stradling's yummy cinematography, which by itself is almost enough to make the viewer forgive the screenplay for its strained stretches.

Product Details

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Original Release:
Warner Home Video
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Special Features

Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English (feature film only)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Egan Ken Jorgenson
Dorothy McGuire Sylvia Hunter
Sandra Dee Molly Jorgenson
Arthur Kennedy Bart Hunter
Troy Donahue John Hunter
Constance Ford Helen Jorgenson
Beulah Bondi Mrs. Hamilton Hamble
Jack Richardson Claude Andrews
Martin Eric Todd Hasper
Eleanor Audley Mrs. Harrington
Richard Deacon Pawnbroker
Bonnie Franklin Young Girl in Dormitory
Everett Glass Dean
Howard Hoffman Alvin Frost
Lewis Martin Doctor
Junius Matthews Mr. Hamble
Susan Odin Actor
Roberta Shore Anne Talbert
Arthur Space Ken's Attorney
George Taylor Bart's Attorney
Helen Wallace Wife
Marshall Bradford Dr. Matthias
Phil Chambers Sheriff
Peter Constanti Captain
Ann Doran Mrs. Talbert
Gertrude Flynn Mrs. Carter
Robert Griffin Englehardt

Technical Credits
Delmer Daves Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Stan Jones Sound/Sound Designer
William L. Kuehl Set Decoration/Design
Leo K. Kuter Art Director
Russell Llewellyn Asst. Director
Owen Marks Editor
Howard Shoup Costumes/Costume Designer
Max Steiner Score Composer
Harry Stradling Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Summer Place
1. Credits [1:43]
2. Hard Times on Pine Island [4:25]
3. The Jorgensens at Sea [5:17]
4. Exquisite, Separate Rooms [5:04]
5. Dishing at Dinner [3:01]
6. Molly and Johnny [3:30]
7. Must You? [2:12]
8. Parental Advice [5:10]
9. Half-Lives [7:07]
10. Mrs. Hamble Intervenes [3:17]
11. Boathouse Liaison [4:01]
12. Divorce Scheme [3:49]
13. Capsized and Swept Ashore [4:13]
14. Molly and the Doctor [3:06]
15. Don't You Hurt Her [3:35]
16. Infinite Capacity for Hurt [4:05]
17. Simple Divorce [5:34]
18. Separate Schools [5:51]
19. Merry Christmas, Mama [4:38]
20. Enough of Hating [4:10]
21. Frank Lloyd Wright Home [5:34]
22. Alone Together on the Beach [7:19]
23. Dinner and No Movie [2:20]
24. From King Kong to Kissing [3:40]
25. Learned Love [4:34]
26. Pregnancy Confirmed [4:10]
27. Money for Her Milk [2:44]
28. Bottomed-Out Bart [3:46]
29. The Word That Counts [5:54]
30. Young Unmarrieds [3:31]
31. Love on Your Side [2:26]

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A Summer Place 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was only a little kid when this movie first came out, however, I watched it over and over when it came on television. I bought it later when it came out on VHS, but now, on DVD, it will be much more enjoyable to watch. The romance was not just between Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue's character, remember, her father and his mother had been in love with each other before...It's very romantic. Arthur Kennedy, he played Troy Donahue's father, was a really magnificent actor. I just love this movie, you will too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with so many other reviews. This movie is classic romance with the top teen stars of their time, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. I was a young girl when this movie came out. I connected with the teen romance in the movie. As I got older I started connecting with the adult actors in the movie. New & seasoned love, revenge, family bonding and more is the substance of this movie and its great. I LOVE Sandra Dee in this movie and had a real crush on Richard Egan after hearing is heartfelt line in the movie, "I love you too much to speak" hmmmmm. Its about time it came out on DVD. Check out "Imitation of Life"(my absolute favorite movie with Sandra Dee, Lana Turner, John Gavnin, & excellent performances by Juanita Moore),
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie! Great movies like this, that don't need to show everything in order for you to understand and know what they are all doing...It's terrific...I never thought Troy Donahue could act, but in spite of him, the movie is very entertaining. And, of course, who can forget the wonderful music!! That is probably the most recognized and loved movie theme in this movie genre...
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's rare to feel such compassion for a character, but poor Sandra Dee's character is cursed with a mother so evil that you'd kill her yourself if you had access! This was a classic study of how screwed up parents can selfishly screw up their kids' lives, and how their own ''screwed-up-ness'' started when they were, most likely, the children of screwed up parents themselves. The cast (other than the malignantly evil Constance Ford) are lovable and well cast, especially Arthur Kennedy, as Troy Donahue's drunken father -- one of my favorite characters in any film! His wit and timing are brilliant. And, if you love blond hunks as much as I do, you'll salivate over the compassionate, smoldery John Hunter, played by Troy Donahue. It's no wonder the film was such a huge hit when it came out. The cinematography and and the musical score are unforgettable. I'm an aspiring screenwriter, and this is one of my all-time favorite films (and believe me, that's saying something because I've probably seen thousands!).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I own vhs copy have waited forever for dvd. Do not understand why Sandra's movies are so hard to get on dvd. At least 6 or 8 more should be Romanoff,Portrait Black, Take her she's mine all her Tammy movies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago