Sloan Wilson’s novel A Summer Place came out in 1958; it became a movie in 1959, written and directed by Delmer Daves. IMDb sums it up tersely: “A self-made businessman rekindles a romance with a former flame while their two teenage children begin a romance of their own with drastic consequences for both couples.” Molly and Johnny (Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue) were the teens in question, and Max Steiner, who scored the film, wrote a brief theme for the two of them.
And that theme, recorded by Percy Faith and a band of studio pros in late ’59, became the single biggest hit of 1960, spending nine weeks at #1:
I love this little bit of orchestral fluff unreservedly; during the 1980s I actually pestered a record-company exec on CompuServe after hearing that they might include it in an upcoming compilation. (Which they did.)
Steiner’s main-title theme, inevitably, was forgotten. This suite from the soundtrack leads off with that theme. And if it seems a bit odd to you that a movie theme, and a secondary movie theme at that, would long outlast the movie itself, well, how many of you have seen Unchained lately?