Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1959)

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1959)

Roo (Ernest Borgnine) is a burly, bombastic man with a domineering manner. Barney (John Mills) is a wiry little Don Juan of a fellow (“Whenever I see a good looking woman I feel as if somebody’s just given me a birthday present”).

For 16 years the two friends have worked as sugar cane-cutters in Northern Australia, returning at the end of each seven-month season for their five-month summer layoff in Sydney with their sweethearts.

But it has gone on too long. Time has been passing more rapidly than both men imagined.

Roo, for instance, discovers he is not quite so tough as he used to be, and another young worker called Dowd (Vincent Ball) succeeds in claiming his throne as leader of the cane-cutters’ gang.

There’s also a shock in store for Barney when he arrives back in Sydney to spend the 17th successive summer with his sweetheart. Roo’s woman Olive (Anne Baxter) is waiting, but his own girl has married another man.

Olive has brought along widowed manicurist Pearl (Angela Lansbury) as a replacement for Barney, and for a while, the two cane-cutters imagine they will still be able to enjoy their usual spree.

But there are quarrels, fights and scenes – and the summer which usually ends with Roo giving Olive a little doll as a remembrance gift has suddenly lost its glamour.

Released in some markets as Season of Passion.

Ernest Borgnine
John Mills
Anne Baxter
Angela Lansbury
Bubba (Cathy)
Janette Craig
Emma (Mother)
Ethel Gabriel
Johnny Dowd
Vincent Ball
Deryck Barnes
Frank Wilson
Al Garcia
Jessica Noad
Al Thomas
The Atomic Bomber
Tom Lurich
The Bomber’s Daughter
Dana Wilson

Leslie Norman