Last Summer (1969): Frank Perry’s Coming of Age Tale

Last Summer, directed by Frank Perry and written by his wife Eleanor, based on a novel by Evan Hunter, is a poignant coming-of-age tale about a group of aimless, pleasure-seeking teens, who get together for sex, drugs and music on Fire Island.

They include the timid, overweight Rhonda (Catherine Burns), who’s manipulated into bad behavior by her peers, especially by the promiscuous Sandy (Barbara Hershey), leading to embarrassment and discomfiture.

Sandy encourages the boys to gang-rape the poor girl. It was this scandalous scene, the first of its kind in an American picture, and the raunchy language (“fuck”) that earned Last Summer its initial X rating. The film was later trimmed to qualify for an R rating.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Supporting Actress: Catherine (Cathy) Burns

Oscar Awards: None

The winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar was Goldie Hawn for “Cactus Flower.”

MPAA: R

Running time: 97 minutes.

 

Credits:

Directed by Frank Perry

Written by Eleanor Perry

Released: June 10, 1969