Book Review: TCM’s “Summer Movies: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics”

The delights of summer and the transformative power of the season are explored in “Summer Movies: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics.” Authored by John Malahy, this new book is part of an ongoing partnership between Turner Classic Movies and Running Hen Press

There’s more to this book than first meets the eye. Initially drawn to cover images of Sandra Dee from “Gidget” and Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in “Beach Blanket Bingo,” you see a cover that appears pretty wholesome until you notice the gaping maw of the great white shark from “Jaws.” The inclusion of films by Ingmar Bergman (“Smiles of a Summer Night”), James Ivory (“A Room with a View”), and Alfred Hitchcock (“Rear Window”) shows that this book is about much more than teenage romps on the beach. 

You’ll encounter films focused on self-discovery, finding love, familial joys and tensions, social strife, coming of age, crime, ennui, and more, with loads of interesting facts about such classics as “The Parent Trap,” “Do the Right Thing,” “The Graduate,” “Caddyshack,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “Before Sunrise,” “The Music Man,” “The Endless Summer,” and more. 

Discover why these films remain significant, even decades after their release. You’ll find plenty of film-watching inspiration here: each selection is paired with a suggestion for a lesser-known film with a related theme, making for some great double features.

The travel recommendations influenced by the movie’s settings are a lot of fun. Southern Californians are familiar with local getaways like Catalina Island and Lake Arrowhead, but some less-obvious suggestions, such as Key Largo, Saint-Marc-sur-Mer (the French beach town where “Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday” was filmed), the Iowa State Fair, Holderness, New Hampshire (the resort town of “On Golden Pond”), the Catskills resorts that inspired “Dirty Dancing,” and the Rhode Island bay of “Moonrise Kingdom” provide ideas for future travel that are a bit more off-the-beaten-path. 

Featuring an introduction by Leonard Maltin, “Summer Movies” is a diverting collection of images, facts, and inspiration.

Karin E. Baker

About Karin E. Baker

Karin E. Baker is a native Angeleno who loves the eateries, history, nature, architecture, and art of her hometown. When not exploring poke shacks in Kona, tascas in Córdoba, and konditoris in Malmö, she writes about food, culture, lifestyle and travel. She obsesses over comma usage and classic films and is always happy to find an excuse to open a bottle of champagne.
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