Birthday for Lovers
Two of the three Summer Lovers (1982) share today as their birthday. The fetching female sides of this memorable ménage à trois – Valérie Quennessen (1957-1989) and Daryl Hannah, now turning 55 – were born three years apart but generated an up-close-and-personal on-screen heat with co-star Peter Gallagher in writer/director Randal Kleiser’s erotic idyll that didn’t make much of an impression in theatres but certainly made up for that as a pay-cable programming favorite in the years since. Filmed on stunning Greek island locations, this tale of casual love and the pesky problems that can result is very much of its uninhibited pre-AIDS era, but its depiction of convention-flouting and dress-abandoning lifestyles still has a certain nostalgic pull. And it serves to preserve the memory of the lovely Quennessen in her prime, as she opted for family-raising and not acting pursuits after prominent roles in French Postcards (1979), Conan the Barbarian (1982, opening just six weeks prior) and this, then tragically dying just seven years later in an auto accident. Beyond her film appearances, Quennessen also left another legacy: when shooting at an actual Akrotiri dig site as part of her role as an archaeologist, she herself unearthed several pieces of 3,500-year-old pottery. As famously reported, Hannah’s character has this line of dialogue: “I used to dream I was a mermaid.” Two years later came her star-making mermaid role in director Ron Howard’s Splash (1984) and her career continues on swimmingly, with three other Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray titles on her resumé: the sold-out The Fury (1978) and Steel Magnolias (1989) as well as a brief appearance in the still-available Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). As the autumn chill gives way to the wintry deep-freeze, there are far worse ways to generate warmth than by revisiting the scenically captivating splendors and sheer physical beauty of the sultry birthday sirens of Summer Lovers on TT hi-def Blu-ray.