Marjorie Morningstar is a 1958 film based on a 1955 novel by Herman Wouk.
While the film only features about two minutes of actual footage at a kid’s summer camp – Camp Cayuga in Schroon Lake, N.Y., was used for the fictional Camp Tamarack – the central plot of the film unfolds while its main character is supposed to be working as a drama counselor at Tamarack.
Marjorie Morgenstern (Natalie Wood) begins the film as a student at Hunter College in New York and is dating a young man her parents adore from her synagogue. But she disappoints them when she rebuffs her boyfriend’s marriage proposal and accepts her college friend Marsha Zalenko’s offer “to see what life is really like” at a “little girls camp right across the lake from a camp with big boys.”
After being at Camp Tamarack for a few weeks, Marsha finally convinces the chaste Marjorie to sneak out with her one night to visit South Wind, the adult resort across the lake. Once there, Marjorie meets entertainer Noel Airman (Gene Kelly) who sticks up for her when she gets caught by the resort’s owner as she’s waiting by the canoe for Marsha. It’s never really clear whether Marjorie or Marsha ever end up going back to Tamarack since we never see the camp again but we do see them working as cleaning ladies at South Wind.
From there, the film becomes a classic story of girl meets boy 14 years her senior her parents don’t approve of but falls in love anyway and can’t seem to shake him. The only other reference to Camp Tamarack comes at the end when the camp song is playing as the soundtrack for Marjorie’s return to South Wind. Though not a big hit in the box office (Natalie Wood’s IMDB bio refers to the film as a flop), it did inspire a remake attempt in 2004 starring Scarlett Johannson that was later abandoned.