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    Summer Memories

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Still on the subject of scenic romantic screen rendezvous between travelers exploring their sexual urges comes another opus opening the same day as Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy 34 years ago: writer/director Randal Kleiser’s tantalizing and evocative Summer Lovers (1982), which went to the Greek islands of Santorini, Crete, Delos and Mykonos for its bewitching background splendors shot by cinematographer Timothy Galfas (Ralph Bakshi’s animated 1978 The Lord of the Rings). Examining, as with his previous feature The Blue Lagoon (1980, a Twilight Time title), the effect a sun-drenched and naturally beautiful environment has on those who fall under its spell, Kleiser presents three beautiful people – rich American vacationers Daryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher, and French archaeologist (Valérie Quennessen) – who become a ménage à trois, and whose individual reactions run the gamut from amusement to bewilderment to intoxication to disillusionment. Reinforced by the plot element of archaeological excavations and the juxtaposition of evanescent history and hedonism, it can now be viewed as a film of its rapturous moment, full of unblemished young flesh on display and shimmering with a soundtrack of pop/disco favorites and Basil Poledouris music to express its themes of exploratory freedom and ultimate day-after commitment. Summer Lovers would not catch the same box-office lightning as The Blue Lagoon; it was the summer of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Poltergeist, Blade Runner (also a showcase for rising star Hannah) and The Thing, so beautiful bods were not the foremost concern of seasonal moviegoers. Where its provocative premise would pay off is in the film’s pay-cable afterlife, as uncensored movies fueled the rising tide of new movie-service outlets, transforming many an unsuccessful theatrical release like Summer Lovers into home-viewing phenomena that fused themselves fondly in viewers’ memories. With three significant summer movies, Grease (1978), The Blue Lagoon and Summer Lovers, Kleiser proved himself a preeminent creator of persuasive and idealized wish-fulfillment fantasies. You’ve got to admire that. And you can also admire the splendid sights and sounds of Summer Lovers anytime on TT’s hi-def Blu-ray. For Kleiser’s reflections on the making of the movie, check out Jim Hemphill’s August 2015 Filmmaker interview on The Ultimate ’80s Guilty Pleasure Movie here: