Summertree (1971) starring Michael Douglas, Jack Warden, Brenda Vaccaro, Barbara Bel Geddes directed by Anthony Newley Movie Review

Summertree (1971)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Michael Douglas and Brenda Vaccaro in Summertree (1971)

Douglas' Summer of Love

It's Spring Break and feeling at odds with this sociology studies at college Jerry (Michael Douglas) returns home to his parents, Herb (Jack Warden) and Ruth (Barbara Bel Geddes). Looking to discover what it is that he wants from life he decides to take part in the "Big Brother" organization and help a young kid called Marvis (Kirk Calloway). It is thanks to Marvis having a minor accident that Jerry meets Vanetta (Brenda Vaccaro) who he falls in love with. But Jerry finds his easy living existence put in danger when he finds himself drafted as he doesn't agree in fighting a war he doesn't believe in and plans to head to Canada whilst his father wants him to do the patriotic thing.

"Summertree" wasn't Michael Douglas' first movie as the lead but it is one of his earlier ones and it is that which in truth attracted me to watch it, seeing what Douglas was like as a young actor. And having sat through "Summertree" it is the actors who kept me involved as watching Michael Douglas as Jerry wooing Vanetta is actually really nice as is the way Vanetta lights up around him yet at the same time seems to be holding something back. In fact Brenda Vaccaro's performance is as entertaining as Douglas' and they work well together.

The thing about "Summertree" is that it is a movie of its time with this story of a young man trying to discover who he is in life under the expectations of his father. That bit of it is actually universal as we see Jerry wanting to drop his course to do music instead of sociology but we then have the draft and Vietnam war part of the movie which firmly holds it back and makes it a movie for those who were going through the same soul searching as Jerry at the same time.

What this all boils down to is that "Summertree" is still an okay movie but it is one which is more entertaining for the performances of the young Michael Douglas and Brenda Vaccaro than for the actual storyline which is just average.