Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Summer views: more summer madness ...

We reviewed A SUMMER PLACE and SUMMER AND SMOKE here last year (see Troy Donahue, Geraldine Page labels), but here are two more 'summer' titles: SUMMER OF THE 17TH DOLL and THE GREENGAGE SUMMER ... which feature several favourites of ours, like Anne Baxter, Angela Lansbury and Susannah York, not to mention Danielle Darrieux and a young Jane Asher ! (more on these at labels). 

SUMMER OF THE 17TH DOLL (or SEASON OF PASSION, hopefully to make it sound more risque - and as the poster says 'not suitable for children'!) is a raucous 1959 comedy/drama about two Australian sugarcane cutters spend their annual five-month vacations in Sydney with their mistresses.        
This is oddly amusing now, its a daft premise that John Mills and Ernest Borgnine spend 7 months of the year labouring cutting sugar cane in remote Australia and then hit Sydney for the remaining 5 months, with their regular gals. This has got on for 16 years, but Mills' girl has had enough and married someone else. So this, 17th summer, a new gal is required. 
One does not quite see Angela Lansbury as a party girl, but she starts off as a fastidious widow, who soon starts to let her hair down. Anne Baxter though is saddled with Borgnine .... it was filmed in Australia (where Baxter had moved to for some years, during a marriage, which caused a hiatus in her career (detailed in her memoir "Intermission" - on her return she was accepting smaller parts as in CIMARRON and WALK ON THE WILD SIDE).  It is from a play (by Ray Lawler) and directed by Leslie Norman (father of tv critic Philip). The title refers to the dolls Baxter's character collects, one for each summer ... 

THE GREENGAGE SUMMER, 1961 - also provocatively described as "Adult Entertainment".
Pauline Kael in her splendid essay on ‘Movies on TV’ makes the point about how watching old movies allows us to see the career trajectory of actors’ careers as we see them young and old and in between with their hits and misses through the decades all jumbled up on tv. 

Susannah York died in 2011 aged 72, but here she is young and radiant in her first major film in 1961. THE GREENGAGE SUMMER from Rumer Godden’s novel (she also wrote BLACK NARCISSUS among others) is a delight from Lewis Gilbert, and also seems to be known as LOSS OF INNOCENCE – maybe for those who do not know what greengages are! 
This is what I wrote about it, some years ago on here: 
THE GREENGAGE SUMMER – this 1961 film from a Rumer Godden novel ("Loss of Innocence") is rarely seen now, but is an engaging drama by Ronald Neame, with Kenneth More and Danielle Darrieux as the adults, and a trio of youngsters left on their own at Darrieux’s hotel in a lush part of France while their mother is ill in hospital. Teenager Susannah York becomes involved with the mysterious (is he a jewel thief?) More who is involved with Darrieux who also seems to be involved with her (female) hotel partner. Young Jane Asher is terrific as York’s younger sister, and its intriguingly resolved. York is engaging here in her first role after her debut in TUNES OF GLORY.
I actually saw some greengages in the stores when shopping yesterday, will have to try some again this season - like gooseberries, they are not in season for long ...

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