Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Twilight Time - SUMMER LOVERS on Blu-ray ""

Monday, August 24, 2015

Twilight Time - SUMMER LOVERS on Blu-ray

SUMMER LOVERS (1982; Randal Kleiser)
SUMMER LOVERS is a film that has an interesting duality about it. On one hand, it is simply a sex dramedy with two attractive women, one guy and a nearly wall-to-wall rockin' 80s soundtrack. On the other hand, it does attempt to illustrate a less common (especially in films) relationship dynamic whilst attempting to ground it in some sort of reality. We are more accustomed to seeing two guys going after the same girl than the reverse. SUMMER LOVERS is undeniably a male fantasy movie, but respect can be afforded it based on most notably the performances of the two female leads (Daryl Hannah and Valerie Quennessen). Peter Gallagher is not bad here either, though I think the ladies are better. Both are delightful actresses and stunningly lovely to boot. SUMMER LOVERS has developed a cult following over the years based on the cast and the soundtrack as well as its very R-rated approach to nudity (which is quite rampant in the movie). I think a lot of young boys caught this film on cable at some point in the 1980s and were immediately captivated by it.

I find it especially interesting that this film was made by Randal Kleiser, the director most fondly remembered for GREASE. GREASE, to me, is one of the most wholesome romantic films out there and SUMMER LOVERS is quite a bit more risqué. First off, there's a ton of nudity from both genders and they you have the tricky sexual dynamic between the three leads. I mean, imagine if GREASE 2 instead featured Danny and Sandy running off to an island together to experiment with their sexuality ... And deciding to bring Rizzo along. It just wouldn't go over well with fans of the original I don't think. So Kleiser definitely moved out of the GREASE comfort zone, but he had done that even before SUMMER LOVERS he made THE BLUE LAGOON. See a pattern developing here? Males and females on exotic islands, working through sexual scenarios. It was definitely a thing for Kleiser back then. He brings a lot from BLUE LAGOON to SUMMER LOVERS, but he advances some of the ideas. I like to think of SUMMER LOVERS as BLUE LAGOON: THE COLLEGE YEARS. It is a coming of age story like LAGOON in some ways, but one taking place later in life and with a couple (Hannah and Gallagher) that's been together for five years. SUMMER LOVERS obviously comes from a much more civilized place than LAGOON, but both films are gorgeous travelogues unto themselves. I must give Kleiser credit in that he has a great eye for exotic locations. The villas, beaches and caves of the Greek (& other ) islands that he has chosen are remarkably captivating and give the whole movie an air of fantasy. I mean the whole movie is already male-wish fulfillment as far as the story goes, but the setting elevates it above that. I will say this, it is an interesting movie to watch with your wife. Mine was not a fan and I completely understand that point of view. I have problems with it myself, especially with the Peter Gallagher character and his rather sleazy ways approach to the whole relationship with the Valerie Quennessen character. I do have a fondness for the movie though I must admit. The locales and the soundtrack are enough to keep my interest. I should briefly mention that the soundtrack starts with a Michael Sembello title track (composed for the movie) and is followed by songs from Elton John, Depeche Mode, Prince, Tina Turner, The Pointer Sisters and Chicago among others. It's a lively mix of popular music from the time and it really helps propel the movie along in a great way. The great Basil Poledouris did the score and that helps the film too.

The transfer here looks good and the film is finally being presented in widescreen for the first time (the old DVD was cropped). It is always nice to see a movie restored to its original aspect ratio. Especially a film like this with so much beauty on display.

Special Features:
-An newly recorded audio commentary with director Randal Kleiser has been included here. It's a solid track and it consists of Kleiser recalling anectdotes, locations and bits of trivia. He's clearly reading from some prepared notes, but that's not too distracting and the track covers a lot overall. Kleiser seems to have a good amount of affection for this movie and it comes through.
-The Making Of SUMMER LOVERS - this vintage press featurette runs about 12 mins or so and includes feature footage, behind the scenes and interviews with cast and crew.
-"Basil Poledouros - His Life and Music" - This is a very cool inclusion from Twilight Time. It is a 48-minute documentary on the composer Poledouris done by Film Score Monthly. Lots of time is spent one on one with the man himself and he has lots of stories of his process and so forth.
-Screen Tests - This 15 minute segment includes video screen tests from Hart Bochner, Patrick Swayze, and Valerie Quennessen.

Below is the International Trailer for the movie which would be a Red Band trailer by today's standards:

SUMMER LOVERS can be purchased on Blu-ray from Twilight Time's recently launched website:

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