From Grease to The Go-Between, summer romance heats up the screen

Tell me about it, stud: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease. Picture: Supplied
Tell me about it, stud: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease. Picture: Supplied

Romance can take place any time, but summer is the perfect season for many movie couples. Here are some memorable examples.

Grease(1978): The film, based on the musical set in the 1950s, is bookended by summer lovin'. In the unlikely event you didn't know, it begins with Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) frolicking on the beach to the strains of Love is a Many Splendored Thing and ends at a carnival with the last day of high school, with plenty of joy and sorrow and shenanigans and transformation in between. Tell me about it, stud.

Summer of '42 (1971): Herman Rauch's autobiographical script tells the bittersweet story of Hermie (Gary Grimes), a teenager who is spending the summer hanging out with his friends on Nantucket Island during World War II. Hermie has a crush on a young war bride (Jennifer O'Neill) whose soldier husband is away. While this has elements similar to later teenage sex comedies, director Robert Mulligan handles this story of first love sensitively. The Oscar-winning score by Michel Legrand is haunting and had lyrics added to become a hit song, The Summer Knows.

High Society (1956): This is a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story (1940), set during what was then the recently established Newport Jazz Festival. A successful jazz musician (Bing Crosby) wants to win back his socialite ex-wife (Grace Kelly, in her final film before marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco) but her dull fiance and a reporter (Frank Sinatra) are obstacles. Louis Armstrong and his band appear, adding a touch of authenticity. The Cole Porter score includes True Love and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

The Go-Between (1971): The hot English summer parallels the passionate but forbidden relationship between a wealthy young woman (Julie Christie) and her lover (Alan Bates), a tenant farmer, when she is promised to an aristocrat (Edward Fox) by her socially ambitious parents. When she enlists her younger brother's friend (Domic Guard) to carry messages to arrange trysts, things do not end well. This is a haunting story in which class - and childhood innocence - play major parts.

This story Summer loving turns up the heat first appeared on The Canberra Times.