Sunday, May 14, 2023

George Sanders and Linda Darnell in Douglas Sirk's "Summer Storm"

Summer Storm (1944) is a romance melodrama directed by Douglas Sirk, starring George Sanders and Linda Darnell. The supporting cast includes Edward Everett Horton, Hugo Haas, and Anna Lee. The film is based on the novel The Hunting Party (1884) written by Anton Chekhov.

The film, told in flashback, tells the story of Judge Fedor Petroff (Saunders) and his infatuation with the beautiful Olga Kuzminichna Urbenin, (Darnell) in early-19th century Russia.

Before Petroff became acquainted with Olga, he was engaged to Nadena Kalenin (Lee), the daughter of a Russian book publisher. One day, Nadena discovers Petroff kissing Olga, and Nadena calls the wedding off, reluctantly because she still loves Petroff.

Petroff’s affair with Olga continues but things do not go well. Olga has her own ideas and she plots to improve her station in life and Petroff isn’t necessarily at the center.

Will Petroff be able to work out his feeling for Olga? Will Olga set her sights on another man who can give her financial security and social position?


Summer Storm trivia

  • This was director Douglas Sirk’s second American movie.
  • Sirk wrote the screenplay with “Michael O’Hara.” O’Hara is a pseudonym for Sirk.
  • Sirk had planned to film Anton Chekhov’s The Shooting Party before he fled Germany in 1937.
  • George Sanders was born in Russia in 1906; he left with his family in 1917 during the Russian Revolution.
  • Sanders did his own singing in the tavern scene.
  • Linda Darnell campaigned hard to get the role of Olga. This role changed the arch of her career; she went from a sweet, virginal girl next door to a major Hollywood sex symbol.

To watch the movie on YouTube, click on the link below.

To join the discussion on May 22, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time, click here. Once you RSVP, you’ll receive an invitation and a link to join the discussion on Zoom


Discussion questions

  1. Douglas Sirk is famous today for his Technicolor melodramas like Written on the Wind and All That Heaven Allows. Do you see any hints in Summer Storm that foreshadows Sirk’s later work in the 1950s?
  2. What did you think of George Sanders’s performance? Did it remind you of any of his other performances?
  3. What did you think of Linda Darnell’s performance? Darnell was only 21 when this film was released.
  4. Were there any performances that you thought were particularly good?
  5. Did the ending surprise you or was it what you expected?

George Sanders and Linda Darnell


  1. I didn't recognize the title, but when I started reading your description, I realized that this is one that I started watching a few months ago. I didn't get very far, though, and gave up. I'm glad to have a reason to go back and try again. Fingers crossed!

    1. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it but you can cross it off your list!


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