Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1959)

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Poster

Two Australian sugarcane cutters spend their annual five-month vacations in Sydney with their mistresses.

Film Overview
"Summer of the Seventeenth Doll" is a 1959 British movie based on the play of the same name by Australian playwright Ray Lawler. Directed by Leslie Norman, the drama delves into the intricacies of human relationships and presents an authentic picture of Australian life. The primary characters are Barney (John Mills) and Roo (Ernest Borgnine), 2 seasonal walking stick cutters, who invest their summer seasons in Melbourne when not operating in the damp northern sugar cane fields.

Plot Synopsis
Every summertime for 16 years, Barney and Roo have spent the season with 2 women in Melbourne, Nancy (Angela Lansbury) and Olive (Anne Baxter). The girls eagerly anticipate the mingling, drinking, and carefree way of life throughout the summertime go to. They describe these summer season rendezvous as with their "summer season gentlemen". However, on the 17th summertime, things take a different turn when Nancy delegates get married, replaced by a widowed barmaid, Pearl (Angela Lansbury), who is more conventional in her mindsets towards relationships and marital relationship.

Character Conflict and Development
There's substantial stress due to the lack of continuity in relationships. Roo, who has lost his task as a cane-cutter, proposes to Olive, who wants to continue their carefree relationship without the bonds of marriage. On the other hand, Barney struggles to charm Pearl, who is hesitant about the men's bohemian lifestyle. The relationships degrade as Pearl can't adapt to their way of life, and Olive rejects Roo's proposition, hoping that things will revert to how they once were.

Significant Themes
The film uses an honest exploration of the buddies' relationships and their struggle to keep the impression of a continuous summer of happiness. It looks into themes of changing social structures, disappearance of youth, and the challenge of evolving personal relationships. The 'Seventeenth Doll', a symbolic gift that Roo prepares to provide to Olive, epitomizes the shattered dreams and failed relationships.

Vital Reception
"Summer of the Seventeenth Doll" is an adaption that keeps the essence of its source material while broadening the narrative possibilities. Both the play and the film are praised for their in-depth expedition of human relationships, societal standards, and individual options. The film was favored for its outstanding efficiencies, especially of Anne Baxter and Ernest Borgnine. Nevertheless, the British influence on the movie's production suppressed the credibility of the Australian setting somewhat, a critique typically raised by Australian audiences.

The movie "Summer of the Seventeenth Doll" is an engaging drama that captivates viewers with its elaborate expedition of complex relationships, societal expectations, and the inevitable passage of time. A poignant tale of love, longing, and unfulfilled dreams, the narrative displays the harsh reality of changing way of lives and the tragic disintegration of a 17-year summer tradition. The film beautifully depicts the bittersweet twists and turns of life, leaving an extensive impact on audiences.

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