Blu-ray Review: Summer Lovers - Twilight Time Limited Edition

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Director Randal Kleiser's 1982 follow-up to his controversial hit The Blue Lagoon has been issued on Blu-ray for the first time by boutique label Twilight Time. The film is Summer Lovers and it features future stars Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah in very early roles. Strictly limited to 3,000 copies, this edition is apparently the first time Summer Lovers has been presented in its original aspect ratio (1.85:1) since its theatrical release. Truth be told, anyone who doesn't count themselves a hardcore Gallagher or Hannah fanatic may find the film a little difficult to warm up to.

Let's get this out of the way: the apparently nude trio of leads (the late Valérie Quennessen is the third) featured on the BD cover art promises lot of exposed flesh, which is exactly what Kleiser delivers. While he was fixated on nudity of the underage variety in Lagoon, here he keeps it adult-oriented. Recent college grads Michael (Gallagher) and Cathy (Hannah) are vacationing in Greece. Their idyllic, sun-drenched paradise is quite literally swarming with beautiful, young, mostly nude men and women. Cathy is a bit sexually reserved for Michael's tastes and he soon succumbs to the island's temptations when he hooks up with Lina (Quennessen). He confesses his indiscretion to Cathy, who's initially outraged but soon (inexplicably, really) warms to the idea of expanding their "couple" status to that of a threesome.

Summer Lovers BD.jpgThere are tons of '80s-era sexploitation movies that are funnier, sharper, and more genuinely emotionally involving than Summer Lovers. This film is an odd selection for inclusion in the Twilight Time Limited Edition series. Despite a potentially intriguing set-up, the very bottom line here is that the film is not especially well crafted. We never get to know much about Michael, Cathy, or Lina - at least, not beyond one obligatory trait each. Michael is a typical 20-something looking to sow his wild oats. Cathy is a sheltered prude undergoing a sexual awakening. And Lina is an enigmatic free spirit with a deep-rooted (and mostly unexplored) fear of commitment. Once they're all dating each other, the narrative stalls to a nearly complete standstill as we watch them rollicking around in a carefree manner.

When Cathy's mother (Barbara Rush) and her friend (Carole Cook) drop by unexpectedly (they just happen to be vacationing in Greece as well) the third act gets its only hope at redemption. But after the mother gets over her initial shock at her daughter's living situation nothing of interest transpires. Director Kleiser cannot even inject the proceedings with any true sizzle. Even though there's plenty of nudity on the beaches, the love/sex scenes are more or less non-existent - suggested rather than depicted. A bit of torrid passion might've at least helped distinguished this weightless romp.

Twilight Time has put together a well-appointed Blu-ray of Summer Lovers. Timothy Galfas' cinematography looks quite good in this 1080p presentation. The DTS-HD MA 2.0 sounds great, nicely showcasing a bunch of classic early-'80s pop by the likes of Tina Turner, Prince, and others. There's an audio commentary by director Randal Kleiser. A vintage making-of piece is included, as well as a screen tests reel. Basil Poledouris scored Summer Lovers and the BD also features a 45-minute documentary, Basil Poledouris: His Life and Music.

Remember, Twilight Time's Blu-ray edition of Summer Lovers is strictly limited to 3,000 copies. Visit Screen Archives for ordering information.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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