Watch Summer of '42
- 1 hr 44 min
The movie Summer of '42 is a coming-of-age tale set in the summer of 1942, during World War II. The film follows the story of three teenage boys; Hermie (Gary Grimes), Oscy (Jerry Houser), and Benjie (Oliver Conant), who spend their days on a small island called Nantucket. Hermie is the lead character and narrator of the film, and his story centers around his growing infatuation with an older woman named Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill).
The film starts with a series of idyllic scenes, as the three boys seem to be living carefree lives during their summer break. They are seen goofing around, playing pranks, and sneaking around the island to catch a glimpse of the women who are visiting Nantucket for the summer. However, amid this joyous summer vibe, there is an underlying sense of tension caused by the war that is happening across the ocean.
One day, Hermie and Oscy spot Dorothy on the beach, and they are both immediately taken with her beauty. They decide to follow her to a movie theater, where they get the chance to talk to her. From then on, Hermie becomes more and more captivated by her, eventually developing a crush on her.
As the plot progresses, we get to see the young men struggle with their own feelings and emotions as they face difficult situations. Hermie, in particular, has to learn how to deal with his infatuation for Dorothy, who is twenty years his senior and married to a soldier who is fighting in the war. Hermie tries to win Dorothy's affections by performing various acts of kindness, including washing her windows, mowing her lawn, and running errands for her.
There are other themes that the film touches upon, such as the impact of war on the home front, coming to terms with loss and heartbreak, growing up, and learning to face life's hard realities. In one poignant scene, the young men visit a candy store for some treats, where they encounter a woman who has lost her son in the war. Watching her break down in tears, the boys are reminded that their summer of fun and games is a stark contrast to the realities of the world outside their small island.
The film also tackles topics such as puberty, sexual desire, and sexual awakening. Hermie, who is still a virgin, receives advice from Oscy and Benjie on how to proceed with Dorothy, but he finds out that love and sex are not as simple as they seem. Despite his innocent intentions, Hermie discovers the complexities of love and desire when he finally gets the chance to spend time alone with Dorothy.
The cinematography is breathtaking, with shots of the ocean, sand dunes, and Nantucket's quaint streets. The film's mood is set with the help of Michel Legrand's score, which complements the tone of the film perfectly. The acting is excellent, with Jennifer O'Neill delivering a nuanced performance as the object of Hermie's affection. Gary Grimes, in his debut role, gives an emotionally resonant portrayal of a young man grappling with the complexities of life.
Overall, Summer of '42 is a timeless coming-of-age story that explores universal themes of love, loss, and growing up, all set against the backdrop of a historical event that changed the world forever. The film invites viewers to look back at a simpler, more innocent time and recall their own experiences of first love and heartbreak. It is a poignant, heartwarming, and nostalgic film that remains a classic in the genre.
Summer of '42 is a 1971 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 59.