Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Class of ’44 (1973)

Class of ’44 (1973)

It’s graduation time at a Brooklyn high school, and three close friends must part; Benjy (Oliver Conant) goes off to war while Oscy (Jerry Houser) and Hermie (Gary Grimes) enrol in college.

This is a recycled version of Robert Mulligan’s hugely successful Summer of ’42 (1971), using the same screenwriter (Herman Raucher), characters and lead actors.

The meandering storyline primarily concerns Hermie’s romance with Julie (Deborah Winters), a high-strung coed. Julie comes off as difficult and domineering, and Winters’ performance is strident, so it’s difficult to get excited about the prospect of these two forming a lasting bond.

Worse, Hermie emerges as a deeply ordinary collegiate who neither changes significantly during the course of the story nor has a major impact on those around him.

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Yes, he suffers a few coming-of-age blows, such as the death of his father, but these events feel trite compared with the transcendental experience Hermie had in Summer of ’42.

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Raucher’s narrative imagination has run out of steam, however, and director Paul Bogart is no Mulligan.

Made with evocative attention to period detail and trading on the charm of Grimes and his co-stars, it’s OK – but not much more.

Hermie
Gary Grimes
Oscy
Jerry Houser
Benjy
Oliver Conant
Fraternity president
William Atherton
Marty
Sam Bottoms
Julie
Deborah Winters
Professor
Joe Ponazecki
Principal
Murray Westgate

Director
Paul Bogart