Summer Children


The American Cinematheque screens the newly restored lost 60’s film “Summer Children”, photographed in a 1960s European-style by Academy Award® winning cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC. at the Egyptian Theatre on Tuesday, May 10 at 7:30 PM. Q and A with Vilmos Zsigmond, Asc –Cinematographer, Jack Robinette, Executive producer, Edie Robinette-Petrachi, Restoration Producer will follow.

Zsigmind won an Oscar for his work on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and a Bafta for the exquisite “McCabe and Mrs. Miller”.

After principle photography, the orphan film languished without financing for distribution and publicity. The archived print was moved repeatedly when the original studio changed hands. The very determined producers Jack Robinette and Edie Robinette-Petrachi located the pristine original print in a New York vault just two weeks before its scheduled destruction. Other print and sound elements were assembled from multiple locations.
For the first time, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC was able to density balance his work to his artistic taste. A full restoration project brought the film to a new luster while maintaining the patina of European art films of the 1960s.  The newly restored film premiered at Slam Dance, with Vilmos Zsigmond in attendance.

An art house beach movie, “Summer Children” follows a group of young people on a tragic weekend boat trip to Catalina. Filmed on location in Bel-Air, Marina Del Rey Los Angeles, Will Rogers State Park, Malibu Beach, Pacific Palisades, Avalon Bay and Catalina Island, director James Bruner’s film is a time capsule of the early stages of the sexual revolution and Southern California beach culture. Bruner’s handheld camera illustrates West’s inner monologue. Vilmos’s use of natural light is riveting, giving the piece extra gravitas. His night shoots on the beach are exceptional, swoony and he makes much of his two leads’ sculptured good looks.

Rich boy West (Stuart Anderson) is interested in the lovely Diana (Valora Noland). He romanticizes her, only to find he’s in a wilder world than he expected. West is seduced by a horny hooker and barges in on gangbang.

His older pal Frankie (John Kalhanek aka John Hanek) is an aggressive womanizer and doesn’t shy from going after what he wants, whether the woman is willing or not. Seduction, deception, passion and betrayal result in tragedy. Friendships and innocence are lost in this drama about sexual insecurity.

The film has it all: a motorcycle race, a racy Beverly hills party, steamy flashbacks, a mock wedding with a mannequin played out to the delight of neighboring kids and a drunken knife fight. There’s a rocking beachside dance shack, The Honey Hut, and a midnight love making session in the sand.  Classic lines abound. At a party, West’s played by an exhibitionist cock tease. “You don’t have to leave. It was only a joke,” she says in front of her jeering friends. “The next time you want a performance, hire a circus” embarrassed West says before storming out.

 “You’ll have to excuse my friend. He’s strictly from Cube City’, snarks Frankie. ‘You can tell he knows a lot about women ” rejoins Roxy, the sleazy proprietor of a curio shop that sells ‘marital aids’.

Hearing a noise in the next hotel room, curious West enters. Protesting all the way ” “No, please, you don’t understand. There must have been a mistake.” West finally gives in to the crude blandishments of a horny hooker.

“That’s a good beginning baby, now lets finish what you’ve started” says one character during some sexual role-play. “How much hurting does it take to turn you on?” When West walks in on a sort of gangbang, his buddies whine, “Come on, don’t spoil the fun. Oh man you’ve really got a case of diaper rash.”

Willing Nancy (Sandra Gabriel aka Sandra Cohen “All My Children”) states her philosophy ” It’s no fun unless you can play for keeps.”

For more information go to
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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