England, 1904. A young lawyer from London, Mr. Ashton (James Wilby) and his best friend are hiking across Dartmoor. As he twisted his ankle, Ashton is forced to seek help at a nearby farmhouse and stay there for a few days. Innocent beauty Megan David (Imogen Stubbs) catches the attention of Ashton. He decides to stay longer, and he and Megan fall in love, much to the displeasure of Megan’s aunt (Susannah York) and her loutish son (Jerome Flynn). Before Ashton leaves the farm, he vows to return and take Megan away with him.
A Summer Story is a British drama film released in 1988. Directed by Piers Haggard, with a script written by Penelope Mortimer. It stars James Wilby, Imogen Stubbs, and Susannah York. In 1904, a young gentleman visiting a rural area has an intense love affair with a village girl. Eighteen years later, he is passing that way again. The film is based on the John Galsworthy story The Apple Tree.
About the Story
In the summer of 1904 Frank Ashton, an educated young man from London, is on a walking holiday in Devon with a friend. When he falls and twists his ankle, Ashton is helped at a nearby farmhouse and stays there for a few days to recover, while his friend goes on. Ashton quickly falls for the village girl who looks after him, Megan David, and she falls in love with him, to the great distress of her cousin Joe Narracombe, who wants her for himself. Ashton and Megan spend a night together, and after that he takes the train to a seaside town to cash a cheque at a bank, promising to return the next morning and take Megan away with him and marry her.
On arrival in the town, Ashton finds a branch of his bank, but it will not cash his cheque, insisting on first contacting his branch in London. While he is delayed, Ashton meets an old school friend, staying at a local hotel with his three sisters, of whom the oldest is Stella Halliday. Thanks to the bank’s delays, he misses the train he needed to catch to make his rendezvous with Megan. During the day that follows, he spends more time with his friend and his sisters, and while Stella flirts with him he begins to have second thoughts about marrying Megan.
Megan then travels to the seaside town looking for Ashton, carrying her luggage for running away. He sees her on the beach and follows her into the town, but when she turns and catches a glimpse of him, he hides.
Eighteen years later, Ashton is married to Stella and they are motoring through Devon. They have no children. Ashton visits the farm where he seduced Megan and is recognized. He learns that Megan was heart-broken about losing him and also that she died soon after giving birth to a son, who she named “Francis”, or Frank. He is taken to see Megan’s grave, which is at the spot where they had first met. She had asked to be buried there, to wait for his return. In motoring away with Stella, Ashton passes his son, young Frank, who gives him a friendly wave.
A Summer Story (1988)
Directed by: Piers Haggard
Starring: Imogen Stubbs, James Wilby, Susannah York, Sophie Ward, Jerome Flynn, Kenneth Colley, Camilla Power, Juliette Fleming, John Savident, Rachel Joyce
Screenplay by: John Galsworthy, Penelope Mortimer
Production Design by: Leo Austin
Cinematography by: Kenneth MacMillan
Film Editing by: Ralph Sheldon
Costume Design by: Jenny Beavan
Art Direction by: Diane Dancklefsen, Richard Elton
Music by: Georges Delerue
Distributed by: Atlantic Entertainment Group
Release Date: August 11, 1988