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Last Summer Movie 1969 Online Dating

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At that age, I didn't read books straight through, but skipped and skimmed over chapters, and what I skimmed over in this book - the viciously murdered seagull and the heinous rape of outcast Rhoda committed by her three alleged "friends," one of whom was a girl - made me feel twisted and sick enough to throw the book in the trash where I felt it belonged.

Ironically, I was determined to see the film based on the novel I'd trashed when it aired on syndicated TV a few years later. So much for bravery! I found the novel devastating, but it was no comparison to seeing those characters come to life on the silver screen!

In truth, novelist Evan Hunter is no less than a genius. His ability to create four adolescent characters so hauntingly and painfully realistic is astounding. The casting of the film couldn't have been better. Like many viewers, I found remarkable Cathy Burns' performance as Rhoda, a Mrs Beasley lookalike whose outspoken opinions and "Old Mother Hubbard" ideals as quoted by Sandy make her the ideal victim of others cruelty and mockery.

And the male characters, Richard Thomas as the sensitive Peter and Bruce Davison as stud-muffin wannabe Dan are equally as impressive. However, the performance I find most impressive was Barbara Hershey's portrayal of Sandy, the dominant group leader who uses her female-ness as a weapon. I couldn't help but wonder what made Sandy what she was, sexually manipulative, cruel enough to mistreat and then viciously murder a seagull she'd started out nursing back to health, and wretchedly sardonic to Rhoda whom she obviously considered inferior to everything Sandy herself excelled in.

Was it a genetic chink in her psyche? Was it triggered when her mother's boyfriend made a pass at her behind her mother's back Sandy tells the boys this while drinking beer on the beach? Or was Sandy the type who exercised her aggression rather than kept it safely locked in the vault of fantasy? In short, I found Hershey's performance horrifically realistic to the point where I could not watch her on screen for several years to come.

It wasn't until I'd learned of Hershey's own anguish and repulsion toward Sandy's treatment of the seagull to the point where she actually changed her last name to Seagull that I able to "forgive" her and enjoy her in other movie roles. Suffice it to say, "Last Summer" is not a film for everyone's tastes. Even today, nearly 50 years after this film was made, viewers will be struck by the film's realism and candidacy. Was this review helpful?

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