Fourteen-year-old Nick Salter’s (Scott Jacoby) parents are divorced, and as per custom, he only visits his father during the summers. One such summer, he arrives at his father’s house. Unbeknownst to him, the elder Salter (Hal Holbrook) is cohabiting with his partner Gary (Martin Sheen), and Gary has moved out in order to keep their living situation latent. However, Gary and Doug’s closeness becomes increasingly apparent to Nick, as Gary is something of the latter’s constant companion. When the younger Salter discovers the truth about the nature of the relationship between the two men, he runs away from home in a state of frustration and alarm, unable to comprehend how his father could prefer the romantic company of men when Doug was married to his mother (Hope Lange) for so long.
The truth behind his parents’ separation soon dawns on Nick. On his faux-fugitive trail, Nick befriends a cable car operator, who becomes a crucial confidante with whom this new fact of life can be untangled and sorted out. Once we bear in mind that during the time of the film’s release, homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the early onscreen portrayal of the modern gay experience is an even greater accomplishment. That Certain Summer predominantly treats the relationship as attraction between two people which approach was quite an anomaly during the 1970s.
“That Certain Summer is not a feel-good story but its sympathetic portrayal of a homosexual couple was groundbreaking.”
“Educating and enlightening a select few and giving others a little bit of hope.”
Did You Know?
Critical reception of That Certain Summer was wholly positive. It originally aired on ABC in the seventies as a part of the ongoing “ABC Movie of the Week”. It won a Golden Globe for “Best Movie Made for TV” in 1973. Summer was nominated for seven Emmys; Scott Jacoby triumphed with a Primetime Emmy for his role as Nick Salter. Review our Gay Themed Films Here