Completed but never released and assumed lost, 1965 U.S. indie “Summer Children” is no rediscovered classic — or even a very good movie — but it does illustrate an interesting moment just before the censorship walls came tumbling down, when U.S. filmmakers were trying to push toward more adult themes. Tale of a contentious weekend among some not-so-young restless Southern California youth is perhaps most notable for showcasing early work by future cinematography great Vilmos Zsigmond. Restored print is being released to DVD following the pic’s 46-year-belated Slamdance world premiere.
Moody playboy West (Stuart Anderson) and cocky motorcycle racer Frankie (John Kulhanek) are among those aboard West’s yacht for a few days’ fun and sun, heading to the Catalina Islands where there’s a “big blast at the Hut” Saturday night — which occasion allows for some impressive frugging and undistinguished songs by short-lived rock quartet the Deacons. West and Frankie struggle over who’s alpha-male enough to win soulful blonde Diana (Valora Nolan). Arch hipster dialogue, brief toplessness and a general mood of angsty disaffection locate the pic halfway between exploitation and arthouse terrain, with Zsigmond’s black-and-white expressive lensing exemplifying the latter.