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Sunday, October 25, 2009

10:30 P.M. SUMMER (1966)

Melina Mercouri & Peter Finch are Madrid-bound with their young daughter & best pal Romy Schneider, but life gets complicated in the small, crowded town they overnight in. Not only is Melina binge-drinking, but Peter & Romy only have eyes for each other. Worse yet, a parallel story is the talk of the town: A young husband is being hunted down after murdering his wife & her young lover. It’s all high-flown literary nonsense from author Marguerite (HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR/’59) Duras who co-scripted with helmer Jules Dassin. At least, Dassin makes things visually striking, even sumptuous, but in a manner that cuts completely against any particle of believability coming thru. Still, there’s something fascinating in watching someone as ill-suited as Dassin attempt territory well-tilled at the time by Alain Resnais & Michelangelo Antonioni. (Actually, the film this calls to mind, is Roberto Rossellini’s masterful VIAGGIO IN ITALIA / VOYAGE TO ITALY/’53.) Dassin made this right after his delightful and wildly successful TOPKAPI/’64, yet couldn’t muster a Stateside release. Perhaps the nudity scared off distributors. Melina & Romy even take a shower together. How steamy! Or, maybe not steamy enough!

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