Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A Summer Story

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    C.D. Workman
    Senior Member

  • A Summer Story



    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: August 12, 2014
    Director: Piers Haggard
    Cast: James Wilby, Imogen Stubbs, Susannah York, Jerome Flynn, Sophie Ward
    Year: 1988
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Ashton, a young lawyer from London, is hiking with his friend Jim through the Devon countryside when he slips and sprains his ankle. In need of help, the two men appeal to the first person they see, a beautiful young girl in simple clothes, carrying a sheaf of wheat. She takes the men to her home, a farmhouse presided over by her aunt, Mrs. Narracombe. Unable to make another long hike, Ashton is forced to rent a room there while he recuperates. While taking in the sights, doing some light reading, and engaging in fireside chats with Megan, Ashton becomes smitten with the girl, so much so that he throws himself into her lifestyle, attending sheep-shearing festivals and helping out around the farm. In due time, they consummate their relationship, after which Ashton determines to marry the girl. Upon his return to London, however, he becomes smitten with another girl. When he returns years later to the little farmhouse in Devon, he finds that in his absence things have changed dramatically.

    After the major commercial and critical success of Merchant Ivory's Room with a View (it was nominated for eight Academy Awards), other British studios jumped into the fray, hoping to repeat that film's success. ITC was one such company, hiring Penelope Mortimer to adapt John Galsworthy's short story “The Apple Tree” into a feature-length, stuffed-shirt melodrama. But while Room with a View was a romantic comedy based on a classic novel by E.M. Forster, A Summer Story is mostly straight romance with little but the most predictable of intrigues (will he/won't he?) to engage viewers. Mortimer isn't content to simply ape what Gore Vidal called “the ruthless good taste” of Merchant Ivory; she also draws upon Roman Polanski's far superior Tess for inspiration in a tale about a country girl wronged by the upper class man with whom she's fallen in love.

    Selected to direct the film was Piers Haggard, fresh from his 1978 success with the BBC serial Pennies from Heaven. Best known to Rock! Shock! Pop! readers as the director of cult horror favorites The Blood on Satan's Claw and Venom, Haggard, who was a distant relative of famed novelist H. Rider Haggard, lends the film the touch of class it deserves, but despite beautiful camerawork from veteran Kenneth MacMillan (Henry V, Of Mice and Men, and Circle of Friends), he cannot overcome Mortimer's ho-hum script, which panders to the lowest common art-house denominator: talky domestication.

    In an attempt to replicate the film's Merchant Ivory-like ambience, James Wilby was hired to star as Ashton. The previous year, Wilby had played the lead in Merchant Ivory's Maurice, another Forster adaptation, this one about the perils faced by homosexuals in the Edwardian Era. (He later played an important role in the duo's award-winning adaptation of Forster's Howard's End.) He's certainly up to the task, bringing charm and an appropriate sense of naí¯veté to the role of an upper-middle-class city boy not quite prepared for a romance with a lower-class country girl. There are times, however, when he displays an uncomfortable rigidity, particularly in later scenes when emotion is called for but undelivered. Imogene Stubbs as Megan, on the other hand, deftly underplays her part, while Susannah York is perfect as Mrs. Narracombe, a hard-as-nails farm wife intent on marrying her course and ill-mannered son to the hard-working girl.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    A Summer Story is one of a slew of titles released by Scorpion as part a multi-year/multi-film deal with distributor Kino. It is presented in standard definition 480p, with an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that has seen better days. Colors are a little drabber than they ought to be, and detail is hampered by the less-than-stellar transfer. It doesn't look terrible; it just doesn't look good, making the film appear older than it actually is.

    The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. The film is a quiet one. The actors are rarely required to raise their voices, the score is practically nonexistent, and there are few sound effects. The DD 2.0 mix has little to work with, but it does a fine job by it regardless.

    There are no extras related to the film itself. The DVD does feature a number of trailers for other films held by Scorpion, including Quest for Love, Wombling Free, Blood Feud, The Dirt Bike Kid, Say Hello to Yesterday, and Fools.

    The Final Word:

    A Summer Story isn't a bad film, per se. In some respects, it's actually quite good. The problem is that it contains an unwarranted degree of gravitas. A heavy-handed, dour approach lacking any sense of wit makes for dry viewing. It doesn't help that the transfer is even more lifeless, or that there are no extras related to the film itself, not even a trailer or audio commentary. Fans of Merchant Ivory might want to invest 90-minutes into the film just to see how their favorite producer/director team influenced British art cinema. Everyone else would do better rewatching Roman Polanski's Tess.




















      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • Lux Aeterna (Yellow Veil) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Yellow Veil
      Released on: July 28th, 2022.
      Director: Gaspar Noé
      Cast: Béatrice Dalle, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Félix Maritaud, Clara Deshayes
      Year: 2019
      Purchase From Amazon

      Lux Aeterna – Movie Review:

      Meant as an expression of his thoughts on filmmaking and a tribute to both his two leading ladies and the filmmakers that inspired him, Gaspar Noé’s 2019 picture, Lux Aeterna, opens with clips opens with some clips from
      ...
      08-04-2022, 02:17 PM
    • Shriek Of The Mutilated (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: January 26th, 2022.
      Director: Michael Findlay
      Cast: Alan Brock, Jennifer Stock, Tawm Ellis, Ed Adlum
      Year: 1974
      Purchase From Amazon

      Shriek Of The Mutilated – Movie Review:

      Directed by Michael Findlay (who has a quick cameo in the opening scene) from a screenplay co-written by Ed Adlum and Ed Kelleher (the duo that brought Invasion Of The Blood Farmers), 1974’s Shriek Of The Mutilated
      ...
      08-01-2022, 04:29 PM
    • Righting Wrongs (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: July 26th, 2022.
      Director: Cory Yuen
      Cast: Yuen Biao, Cynthia Rothrock, Melvin Wong, Karen Sheperd, Peter Cunningham, Corey Yuen
      Year: 1986
      Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

      Righting Wrongs – Movie Review:

      Righting Wrongs, which was released by the Weinstein Corporation on DVD in 2007 as Above The Law (not to be confused with the Steven Seagal movie of the same name), was directed by Cory
      ...
      08-01-2022, 03:37 PM
    • Naked Over The Fence (Cult Epics) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Cult Epics
      Released on: August 23rd, 2022.
      Director: Frans Weisz
      Cast: Rijk de Gooyer, Sylvia Kristel, Jon Bluming, Jennifer Willems
      Year: 1973
      Purchase From Amazon

      Naked Over The Fence – Movie Review:

      Known in its native Holland as Naakt over de Schutting, Frans Weisz’s 1973 film Naked Over The Fence tells the story of a man named Rick Lemming (Rijk de Gooyer) who leads a pretty decent life and does very well for
      ...
      07-31-2022, 05:56 PM
    • Dr. Lamb (Unearthed Films) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Unearthed Films
      Released on: August 9th, 2022.
      Director: Danny LeeBilly, Hin-Shing Tang
      Cast: Simon Yam, Danny Lee, Kent Cheng, Pik Yu Chung, Si-Man Hui, Eric Kei, Emily Kwan
      Year: 1992
      Purchase From Amazon

      Dr. Lamb – Movie Review:

      One of the better known Category III horror films of its day, 1992’s Dr. Lamb is based on the ‘The Rainy Night Butcher’ that happened in Hong Kong a decade before, perpetrate by a
      ...
      07-31-2022, 05:53 PM
    • The Old Man Movie (Unearthed Films) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Unearthed Films
      Released on: August 9th, 2022.
      Director: Oskar Lehemaa, Mikk Mägi
      Cast: Märt Avandi, Reio Blond, Merilyn Elge, Johan Järviste, Mia Järviste
      Year: 2019
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Old Man Movie – Movie Review:

      This stop motion animation featurette, co-directed by Estonian filmmakers Oskar Lehemaa and Mikk Mägi and released in 2019, takes places in a small Estonian village more or less in the middle of
      ...
      07-23-2022, 04:24 PM
    Working...
    X