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 tearjerking romance and sexual awakening by young 14 year-old teenager Hermie with lonely, beautiful 22 year-old neighboring war bride Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill) after she had 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

Tender Kisses
  • after kissing him a few times (as the phonograph needle reached the end of the record) she beckoned him; she took him by the hand, and led him to her bedroom for comfort; she slowly removed her white slip over her head, prepared the bed, and then removed her bra and panties before they gently entered her bed naked together
In the Bedroom
  • when Hermie left her later that evening, she was outside on the porch in a robe, smoking a cigarette; she gave him a simple "Good night, Hermie" - and that was the last time he saw her
  • the next day, she left a note for Hermie (on her beach house door); he sat down on the porch to read it; she explained (in voice-over) that perhaps the meaning of the event would come to him in time: ("Dear Hermie: I must go home now. I'm sure you'll understand. There's much I have to do. I won't try and explain what happened last night because I know that, in time, you'll find a proper way in which to remember it. What I will do is remember you. And I pray that you be spared all senseless tragedies. I wish you good things, Hermie. Only good things. Always, Dorothy"), to the swelling sounds of Michel Legrande's theme music
  • the final bitter-sweet voice-over came 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"


"Good night, Hermie"


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