The film is based on an Irwin Shaw story, « Then We Were Three, » that epitomizes the tones and attenuations of much middle-class fiction of the early 1950’s. Three Americans just out of college, two boys and a girl, are winding up their summer vacation in Europe. They have been to the right places and had the good experiences that were the legacy of the literature of one postwar generation to the life of another. The girl is open and inaccessible — the way so many desirable girls were in those days. One of the boys is shy and sensitive, gifted with a mildly poetic sense of « instantaneous nostalgia » according to his friend, and it is through his eyes that we see how he loses the girl and bids goodbye to the last free summer before succumbing to maturity.
James Salter is a novelist and short story writer, and is regarded as one of the finest living practitioners by his fellow writers, by critics, and by the lucky readers familiar with his work. Robert Burke, writing in the Bloomsbury Review, called him, « one of the best writers in this country, » and Publishers Weekly, « the author of some of the most esteemed fiction of the past three decades. » James Salter was bom in 1925 and raised in New York City. He attended West Point, graduated in 1945, and served in the Army Air Force as a fighter pilot. He resigned his commission in 1957 in order to devote his energies to writing and screenwriting shortly after publication of The Hunters (1956), a first novel based on his more than one hundred combat missions during the Korean War.Also included are Salter’s experiences as a screenwriter: he wrote the acclaimed Downhill Racer (1969), which starred Robert Redford; a 1962 documentary short, Team, Team, Team, took first prize at the Venice Film Festival.James Salter is married to playwright Kay Eldredge, and divides his time between Bridgehampton, New York and Colorado.