Submitted by Julio M

Short pooper:
Hermie (Gary Grimes) does end up having sex with Dorothy (Jennifer O’Neil), the woman he has had a crush on, for the majority of the movie; but it is a one-night fling and, the next day, she leaves the island and they never see each other again, although she leaves him a letter wishing him the best in life. He is forever changed by this, although he reconnects with his friends for the remainder of that fateful summer.

Longer version:
Hermie and his friends “Oscy” (Jerry Houser) and “Benjie” (Oliver Conant) are typical 15-year-olds, spending the summer of 1942 in the island of Nantucket, obsessing over women and sex and engaging in typical adolescent shenanigans that aimed towards the possibility of them all “become men and lose their virginity”. They catch the acquaintance of a beautiful young woman -Hermie later learns her name is Dorothy- who moves into one of the local summer houses with her husband, although he later parts away to war. They become obsessed with her, but Hermie is genuinely smitten.

Throughout the movie, the trio of friends are seen involved in comic situations that show how clumsy and little-versed they are in the affairs of love and sex; especially when they all try to score with some high school girls while at the cinema -although, later, they get a hold of condoms and Oscy does “score” with his girlfriend at the beach-. Hermie, meanwhile, manages to get closer to Dorothy in a respectful, gentleman-like way by means of assisting her with some market groceries and moving boxes for her into the attic of her house, to which she corresponds by friendly kissing him and engaging in gentle conversation. By this point, he is seen rebuffing crass comments about Dorothy made by the other boys, thus showing he had romantic feelings for her.

One night, Hermie keeps a promise he made to Dorothy to come over to the house and just hang out with her, but the environment is gloomy, dark and sad. He sees whiskey, used cigarettes and what appears to be a telegram on the table, a record stuck at the end playing and Dorothy coming out of her room teary-eyed; she reveals her husband died, his plane having been shot down in combat. As she goes to tend some dishes in the kitchen, Hermie tries to comfort her, to which she asks him to dance with him. This moves him and they do, to a melancholic song, both crying. Overcome by the moment, they kiss and end up in Dorothy’s room, tenderly making love -opposite to the awkward sex, humorously depicted before-.

After this, Dorothy just gets up and goes to the porch; when Hermie comes after her, she just says “good night”, as if just asking him to leave her alone, to which he complies. He departs and his last sight of her is staring in sadness to the distance of the night while smoking. The next day, having made up with Oscy, Hermie returns to the house, but Dorothy is gone and has left a letter for him, explaining she had to leave the island and go home to come to terms with her tragedy, but thanking him, wishing him well and hoping he will never be burdened by senseless tragedies in life.

As the movie ends, a voiceover of the adult Hermie (provided by the film’s Director Robert Mulligan) tells how he never saw, or heard of, Dorothy again; how different things were, back then, to figure out for youths of his day; how the remainder of his summer, along with his friends, reduced to “some rainy days, a few more movies and even raids to the Coast Guard station”; and “how he lost Hermie, forever”, indicating the deep change his experiences of that summer caused in him and that nothing would be the same.

01 hours 44 minutes