Young Gary Grimes (aged 15) falls for older Jennifer O’Neill (22), who is a war bride, on the holiday resort of Nantucket Island off New England during World War Two.
Day-dreaming virginal youth Hermie, spending the summer of ’42 with his friends Oscy (Jerry Houser) and Benjie (Oliver Conant) and their parents, falls in love with Dorothy, who awaits news of her army pilot husband who has returned to the front.
Beautifully written by Herman Raucher, producer-director Robert Mulligan’s impactful 1971 heart-tugging movie is a lush and lovely summer rites of passage romance — nostalgic, bitter-sweet, sad and quite beautiful.
Michel Legrand’s gorgeously syrupy music won an Oscar and a Bafta for Best Original Score, and Herman Raucher was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Robert Surtees for Best Cinematography and Folmar Blangsted for Best Film Editing.
Perhaps mercifully, it does not have anything deep to say about love and pain and the whole damned thing, but the pain and passion of young love and the wartime mood and forties atmosphere are sharply and emotionally conjured up. Surtees’s photography is just as glossy as Legrand’s famous score.
Also in the cast are Lou Frizell, Katherine Allentuck and Christopher Norris.
In his first major role, Grimes was nominated in 1972 for a Golden Globe Award as Most Promising Newcomer, as well as a Bafta Award as Best Newcomer.
It was a big hit and a sequel, Class of ’44 (1973), followed, with Grimes starring in a story that follows his character to college. Grimes appeared in only six films and retired from show business in the late Seventies. His other films are The Culpepper Cattle Co (1972), Cahill US Marshal (1973) with John Wayne, The Spikes Gang (1974) with Lee Marvin and Ron Howard, and the Disney film Gus (1976).
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4252
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