Thursday, September 8, 2011
A SUMMER STORY
Just before the war two young men are hiking in the area of Devon and Somerset (where A Summer Story was filmed), when the nicer of the two, Frank Ashton (James Wilby), badly sprains his ankle. The two men find a farm that lets rooms, but when his friend gets bored and leaves, Frank stays on and on and on all summer -- drifting into an intense love affair with orphaned Megan (Imogene Stubbs) and promising her his undying devotion and indeed the world. Unfortunately, things don't quite work out that way in this deeply affecting, beautifully done picture that delineates the tragic aspects of romance. A Summer Story also shows in unflinching terms that even supposedly "nice" people can be unspeakably weak and cruel. This is based on the story "The Apple Tree" by John Galsworthy and has been very well dramatized by Penelope Mortimer. Georges Delerue has crafted a memorable score and the countryside is expertly photographed by Kenneth McMillan. Wilby, Stubbs, Jerome Flynn as Joe (who also loves Megan), Susannah York, and the rest of the cast are excellent. Director Haggard, who has done mostly television work, also directed the wretched Blood on Satan's Claw, but is clearly much more inspired by the material this time around. A Summer Story is a decided tearjerker but by no means is it a soap opera. Beautifully done on all levels.
Verdict: This has been known to make grown men blubber. ****.