This film is based on a true story and Herman Raucher wrote a novel after this movie was released. Hermie Raucher, Oscy Seltzer and Benjie are the best of friends and they spend summers on Nantucket Island. WWII is in full force but the boys and their families are not affected by this immense event. Hermie meets Dorothy Walker on the beach. Later, he sees her saying goodbye to her army pilot husband Pete Walker at the dock. He runs into her downtown and helps her with her grocery bags. She asks him to come by one morning to put some boxes in the attic. Hermie is drawn to her even though she is older than he is. He has deep feelings that he doesn’t understand for her. He will be a sophomore in high school when classes start again.
This is a coming of age story about three boys spending summer vacation on the island. Their concentration is focused on girls and women and the age of the boys is about 15-16. It’s a carefree time despite America being involved in a war. It seems far away except for a Coast Guard Station nearby. They spend a lot of time at the beach and at the local movie theater. They can get ice cream at the drug store. 1942 was a totally different world during this time period than life is now. Kids played outside all day and their parents didn’t worry about them or their safety. Still, adolescence is usually difficult for anyone going through this life stage. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
103 min, Drama directed by Robert Mulligan with Jennifer O’Neill, Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser, Oliver Conant, Katherine Allentuck, Christopher Norris, Lou Frizzell.
Note: Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 77% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.6 out of 5* with 348 reviews, TV Guide 3* out of 5*.
Special Note: Filmed in Montecito, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, California; Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Herman Raucher was interviewed on The Mike Douglas Show in 1961. After the show aired, several women wrote to Herman claiming to be Dorothy. One of the letters was really from Dorothy and she wanted to know how their relationship affected him as a teen. She was in her 20’s at the time of filming and she is now happily married and a grandmother. Some of the actual dialogue has been changed and the order of some events has been moved. Originally, he wrote the screenplay as a tribute to Oscy and he was killed in the Korean War. During the writing, he changed his focus to make the story about Dorothy. Herman was asked to write the book to publicize the film and he wrote the novel in about 3-4 weeks. To continue the story after the film ending, Hermie was depressed because he didn’t hear anything from Dorothy. He had sadness in his life too. Hermie’s sister’s finance died in 1944. Hermie’s Father passed away when Hermie was 20. Oscy died on Hermie’s 24th birthday. Hermie didn’t celebrate any other birthdays after Oscy’s death.