Summer Place, A [1959]

Think A Summer Place, and you'll probably be humming Max Steiner's wonderfully romantic instrumental theme song, a hand-holding hit in 1959. The movie itself is similarly irresistible, a colorful soap opera about the passions of a pair of dewy-eyed teens and their straying parents. At an island resort in Maine, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue (the reigning teen idols of the day) fall hard for each other. What they don't know is that her father (Richard Egan) and his mother (Dorothy McGuire), lovers 20 years earlier, have rekindled their affair. Both, inconveniently, have spouses, which is what makes this a soap opera. Lovers of camp will find much to savor in the incredible '50s attitudes, and in the innocence of supervirgin Dee ("Johnny, have you been bad with girls?"). Yet the sincerity of writer-director Delmer Daves, cowriter of An Affair to Remember, comes shining through the corn; and the grown-up affair anticipates The Bridges of Madison County by 30 years. --Robert Horton

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