Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Summer of '42 (1971)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Summer of '42 (1971)

In director Robert Mulligan's war-time, New England beachside summer romance and coming-of-age tale with Michel Legrand's famous score:

  • the nostalgic atmosphere of 1940s Nantucket Island, the three young teenagers:
    - Oscy (Jerry Houser)
    - nerdy Benjie (Oliver Conant)
    - Hermie (Gary Grimes)
  • their sexual awkwardness and discussions
  • the scene of nervously purchasing a condom from an unsympathetic storeowner
  • the touching scene of teenaged Hermie's sexual initiation and coming-of-age with a lonely, 22 year-old neighboring war bride Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill) after she learned by telegram that her husband had been killed in action
  • with tears in her eyes and slightly drunk, she put her head on Hermie's shoulder, slowly danced (barefooted) with him to the tune (the film's theme song) playing on a phonograph record, and tenderly kissed him a few times
  • clasping his hand in hers, she led him to her bedroom, where she removed her outer slip (and her undergarments) and beckoned him to join her in bed
  • the next day, her note explaining that perhaps the meaning of the event would come in time to him
  • the final bitter-sweet voice-over from the Narrator, middle-aged Herman Raucher (voice of Robert Mulligan): "I was never to see her again. Nor was I ever to learn what became of her. We were different then. Kids were different. It took us longer to understand the things we felt. Life is made up of small comings and goings. And for everything we take with us, there is something that we leave behind. In the summer of '42, we raided the Coast Guard station four times, we saw five movies, and had nine days of rain. Benji broke his watch, Oscy gave up the harmonica, and in a very special way, I lost Hermie forever"


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