Summer of '42 [1971]

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser, Oliver Conant, Katherine Allentuck
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 103 minutes

Herman Raucher's autobiographical (or first person, anyway) coming-of-age tale is set, as the title suggests, among sand dunes and departing GIs. Hermie (Gary Grimes) and his two buddies Oscar (Jerry Hauser) and the nerdy Benjie (Oliver Conant) are spending the summer doing the things preadolescents do: hanging out, eating ice cream, stealing "dirty" books from their parents, and trying unsuccessfully to act manly around the gawky girls they take to the movies. Then Hermie spoils everything by really falling in love, this time with the adorable older woman Dorothy, played by Jennifer O'Neill. Dorothy's husband conveniently leaves for duty overseas, and then, even more conveniently, becomes one of those "we regret" telegrams. Dorothy, desperate for comfort and sweetness, turns to Hermie--and surely makes his summer. The setting and the date give this movie a double helping of nostalgia for anyone who was once an adolescent boy desperately trying to get rid of both his callowness and his virginity. But the slow pace and dreamy atmosphere, courtesy of Robert Mulligan's direction and Michael Legrand's famous score, may give it less appeal to anyone who is still in that situation. --Richard Farr

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