Tuesday, 20 March 2012


It took me three long decades to finally catch the 1982 camp classic SUMMER LOVERS; 30 years; and it wasn’t because of a lack of interest on my part, trust me (Of course I could have rented it many times over but I much rather own it). The film just came and went when it was first released onto the big screens here in Montreal. I swear, I didn’t even have time to check the listings. That’s how fast the film disappeared. Or so it seemed at the time. But I remember thinking while looking at the poster add in the newspapers how fetching the stars looked. I still do.

And the film? Well, now that I have seen it, let’s just say that the wait was definitely worth it. Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah play a young couple vacationing at a seaside villa in Greece who more than befriend (hence the title of the film, of course) French neighbor Valerie Quennessen. Before long, they’re frolicking in the nude, experiencing bliss in a series of ménage à trois positions, even lips-synching for their lives to the beat of Your Love by Lime—until one of them develops herpes… huh… second thoughts. One of them develops second thoughts. Oui. Oui.

GREASE and BLUE LAGOON director Randall Kleiser spares no expense in delivering eye-catching camera movements (with the help of cinematographer Timothy Galfas), whether of the Greek Islands or of the beautiful people in action who, by the way, only have sex and sun on their minds. And why shouldn’t they? What’s to talk about besides one’s over-saturated libido in this type of flicks? Better stick to his or her partying ways and hear things like: “You have beautiful tits—pull them back,” in reference to Hanna’s hunched shoulders.

Cheesy moments aside, SUMMER LOVERS still manages to work to its advantage, due mostly to the strong performances of the trio. I’ll go even further and say that SUMMER LOVERS sparkles because it reminds me of those little French films (like Claude Pinoteau LA BOUM, for instance) that look like nothing at first glance but pack a big punch when everything’s said and done. I dare anyone not to feel a tad envious of these characters when the end credits start rolling (to the sound of  The Pointer Sisters  I’m So Excited, no less).

On a sad note, French actress Valerie Quennessen is no longer with us, having fallen victim to a car accident in the late ‘80s. FRENCH POSTCARDS (1979) was her first foray into American films. CONAN THE BARBARIAN was another one. SUMMER LOVERS was the last movie she made before heading back to France to raise a family. To me, this Kleiser flick will always be the epiphany of her short career. It may be imperfect in many ways but highly deserves its cult film status—even if it took me 30 years to confirm this.

Until next post—Martin


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