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Summer Children

DVD

3.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Aug 01, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Film Reviews: Summer Children (1965) - By Josh Samford Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 With Rogue Cinema, I am more often than not inundated with contemporary independent cinema to review. It is not often that I am fortunate enough to dig through the relics of our past, but Summer Children offers just that opportunity. A lost film from the past, it is only now making its debut in the home video marketplace. Considered lost by the filmmakers for many years, within the past few years the producers, Jack Robinette and Edie Robinette-Petrachi, cast and crew have been working on restoring the print to a pristine shape and they have done a fine job. Showcasing the naivite of youth and the earth shattering realities that all maturing adults have to come to realize, Summer Children is often cited for its lush cinematography delivered by Vilmos Zsigmond but aside from the absolutely breathtaking visuals I am here to say that this feature has more than just that going for it. A wealth of depth and style, Summer Children has been hidden from the public for many years at this point but this is something that will hopefully change very soon West is a young man on the verge of discovery. He sets off on a sailing trip, using his dad's boat, with a group of five friends. He is taking this trip with the lovely Diana, who is elusive and yet so striking that he can not stop thinking about her. He also has his good friend Franky to contend with who has eyes for every female that he runs across. Franky is older than the rest and has self-appointed himself the leader of the group and is earnest in searching out a good time. Whether the rest of the group wants to go along peaceably or not. When the group comes upon a big party, Franky sees this as an opportunity to fall into lust and gluttony while West simply wants to spend time with Diana. However, Diana isn't as naive or simplistic as poor West thinks she is. During the course of this one night, this group of young people will have their lives changed forever. Stumbling across Summer Children at the time that I have, it almost seems as if the stars have aligned just perfectly. Recently I have been going through the works of John Cassavetes and with Summer Children I have found something similar to his work. The film reminds me a lot of Cassavetes and his style of rehearsed-improvisational performances. The best comparison I can make for the dialogue and performances would be a mix of Cassavetes and a little bit of the intellectual wit of earlier Woody Allen. It invokes that feeling of sixties experimentation and comes across as an attempt at deconstructionism in order to find something real within this very theatrical medium. The use of handheld cameras at times helps to further this atmosphere and it is overall a surprisingly cerebral character study. Everything is set up in order to get inside the mind and motives of these various characters. The character of West in particular is interesting to me. Summer Children comes across as a talking point of the sexual revolution, with the character of West being the character having to adjust and change to this new climate. I think the film shows the liberation of free love, but it also shows the de-valuing of love in the face of such cultural change. The character of West is a old fashioned romantic and forcing him to deal with this new wave of sexual expressions, he is essentially forced to adapt and let loose of his preconceived notions of actual love in comparison to the needs of the flesh. Director James Bruner and writer Norman Handelsman crafted a very interesting project. Although it is certainly a work of genuine entertainment, I would say it is a intellectually stimulating film without a doubt. ... --Rogue Cinema

A Never-before-released Vintage Film brought back to Life... Wednesday, 12 May 2010 By Frederic Germay Now although I watch an unhealthy amount of movies, my knowledge of pre-2K films is rather limited. Thanks to Netflix, I m beginning to fully explore the gigantic repertoire of films that existed before the millennial leap into CGI and hundred-million-plus dollar budgets. However, there are legions of those noir classic films that predate even the 1970 s that I have absolutely no knowledge of. So when I was presented with the screener for the never-released 1965 noir film, Summer Children, I leapt at the opportunity to examine a historically preserved piece of art. Summer Children follows a small group of young adults who depart on a cruise during the summer. Each one of them has a rather unique and intriguing personality, which ultimately stirs up some fascinating tension. Eventually tempers rise, romantic passion flames up, all resulting in a shockingly violent and poetic finish leaving this particular group of Summer Children changed forever.... All while watching Summer Children, I was constantly reminded of what a truly unique experience this film was. Given that this film was shot during the 60s, some of the characters have a certain degree of generational cockiness, while others exhibit a more significantly reserved personality in stark contrast of many of the characters you d experience in a film today. Even if a film showcasing the mannerisms and behavioral patterns of individual in the 60s were shot today, it simply couldn t compare to a movie like this one. The difference the acting was genuine, 1960 s style acting, and that s just something you don t see any more and it s not easily replicated. However, once the novelty of that experience wore off, the film s positives began to slim down noticeably. There doesn t seem to be much of a narrative here, not that a good movie needs an established narrative to survive, but this film could have used a more definable plot. I couldn t really discern what the point of the movie was or what the objectives of many of the characters were, and by the time the climax arrived I was taken aback by how quickly things unraveled. Although it does seem that I appear to be arguing that the movie should have been predictable, but what I m really trying to say is that it should have built the suspension up to the actual climax, which would have then made the experience that much more enjoyable. As far as the acting goes, I mentioned how genuine it was earlier, and that much is true. That said, there were some lines that came off as wooden, but as genuinely wooden, as if the actors/directors were going for exactly that. Since I don t know specifically how the attenuation of verbal discussion sounded like back in the 1960 s, I could also argue that the film is just being loyal to the time period in which it was shot. At any rate, if some of these performances were placed in the context of a modern film, they would have been critically lambasted. Yet they seem to work well enough within Summer Children, and the performances aren t entirely without merit. Valora Noland and Stuart Anderson, in particular, steal their scenes with their haunting gazes or brooding performances. Truly a sight worth witnessing... Concerning the visual aspects of the film, this is where the movie soars. Director of Photography, Vilmos Zsigmond, masterfully crafts such beautiful and vivid imagery to the point where the viewer becomes immediately nostalgic after watching this film. He rightfully won an Academy Award for his prowess at his art, and the evidence shines through every single scene of this film. Literally every single scene gleams of artistic significance. --Media Blvd

Beautiful restoration ... Tony Mann, Producer NOT your mother s Beach movie! ... Tom Lisanti, 60s Cinema Author Exquisite cinematography, Vilmos work is wonderful to see in this early phase ... George Litto, Executive Producer McCabe & Mrs. Miller Valora had some nuances, some rare beauty ... Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC& Vilmos use of natural light is breathtaking. I couldn t stop watching it. ... Bruce McDonough, restoration artist SUMMER CHILDREN Movie making has come a long way in the past 40 years. Or has it? Computer generated comic book heroes, explosions and unbridled mayhem reign supreme. Sometimes the human element the spirit and soul of flesh and blood is overwhelmed by the special effects. Back in the day, films told a story, a story that was supported by a great script, fine acting and great camera work. If you long for truth in film, you re not alone. SUMMER CHILDREN is a refreshing reminder of days gone by, when alluring images fueled your imagination. It is a story of human weakness and vulnerabilities, joy, lust and disappointment. Created in stunning black and white, SUMMER CHILDREN is a story well told, filling the heart with intense human drama, leaving behind artificial ingredients If you love story telling, human reaction and purity of spirit, SUMMER CHILDREN carries you back to a time when sensuality was set free . . Tom Madigan, Author --George Litto, Producer, Tom Madigan Author, Tom Lisanti, Author, Vilmos Zsigmond, DP

About the Actor

Stuart Anderson (West) Stuart s handsome chiseled features were often compared to a young Burt Lancaster or the 1940s Italian neo-realism star Raffaele Vallone. Sensitive, reclusive and very reserved, Stuart often portrayed characters of stability, who offered strength. Stuart had leading roles in the feature, Texas Across the River, and popular TV shows: Bonanza, Laredo, The Virginian, Cimarron Strip, and Run For Your Life. To learn more about Stuart Anderson s Credits by visiting the Internet Movie Database: Valora Noland (Diana) A native Californian, Noland began her acting career studying at the Pasadena Playhouse. Often cast as a beach beauty, her wish to create dramatic roles was realized in The War Wagon, Passionate Strangers, Sex and The College Girl. She is well known for her roles in the beach movies Muscle Beach Party and Beach Party. Noland appeared in several popular television series, including Star Trek, Mannix, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Burkes s Law, Wagon Train, Dr. Kildare and The Donna Reed Show. To learn more about Valora Noland s credits visit the Internet Movie Database: John Kalhanek (aka John Hanek) (Frankie) Hanek attended Northwestern University and was a fraternity brother of Gary Marshall s. Other classmates included Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin. Kalhanek appeared in Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Period of Adjustment and Two for the Seesaw before SUMMER CHILDREN. To learn more about John Kulhanek s credits visit the Internet Movie Sandra Gabriel (aka Sandra Cohen) (Candy) Sandy was studying at UCLA when she was cast by director Jim Bruner. Sandy went on to enjoy a career acting in the roles of Edna Thornton Ferguson in All My Children and the part of Christine Venest on Ryan s Hope. Sandy is married to actor John Gabriel and together they have raised their 2 talented daughters. For additional information on Sandy Gabriel s Film career visit the Internet Movie Database David Arkin (Cord) David Arkin went on to work on several films directed by Robert Altman, including MASH, A Perfect Couple, The Long Goodbye, Nashville and Popeye. For additional information on David Arkin s Film career visit the Internet Movie Database: Neil J. Westen (Roxy) Westen worked as a stage actor and teacher until his retirement in 1999. Neil was a life-long actor from his early roles in the Our Gang and Little Rascals comedies, to his later years on stage in Ashland, OR, in the 1990s. He was also a music producer and writer.

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Special features

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Product details

  • Actors: Valora Noland, Stuart Anderson, John Kulhanek, Sandy Gabriel, David Arkin
  • Directors: James N. Bruner, Vilmos Zsigmond Director of Photography
  • Format: Multiple Formats, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Independent Film - Robinette Productions, LLC
  • DVD Release Date: August 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B003XO65EU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,325 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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