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The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  18 May 1958 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 6,992 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 32 critic

Accused barn burner and con man Ben Quick arrives in a small Mississippi town and quickly ingratiates himself with its richest family, the Varners.



(stories), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Sarah Marshall ...
Elizabeth Stewart
Bill Walker ...
Lucius (as William Walker)


Sixty-one year old widower Will Varner, in ill health, owns many businesses and property in Frenchman's Bend, Mississippi, including a plantation. To him, his children are a disappointment, they who he sees as not being able to carry on the Varner name in the style to which he has built around it. Son Jody Varner has no ambition and does not work, spending much of his time fooling around with his seductive wife, Eula. Twenty-three year old daughter Clara Varner he finds clever, but he feels she also wastes her time on more contemplative pursuits. While most of her contemporaries are married, Clara has been dating Alan Stewart, a genteel mama's boy, for six years. Will would not mind Alan so much if he too thought Alan had a bit of a forceful man in him, which he could demonstrate by actually asking Clara to marry him. Conversely, Jody laments that nothing he does is ever good enough for his father, while Clara plain does not like the way he treats them. Into their lives comes Ben ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not since "Peyton Place" has a story been told so boldly! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 May 1958 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Les feux de l'été  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm optical prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Orson Welles had a rough time making the film and caused plenty of trouble. Used to being in control of his own projects, it was hard for him to do things someone else's way. According to Angela Lansbury, "He was always nudging and pushing for things and wanted to change lines, but had to be carefully handled so that he didn't always get his way because his way wasn't necessarily the best way for everybody else in the scene." Welles would irritate his co-stars by overlapping his own lines with their dialogue, ad-libbing, and mumbling to the point where his lines were barely comprehensible. "There was something you couldn't resist about Orson," said Lansbury, "even though he was a son-of-a-bitch at times. I mean, there's no question about it, he was very difficult." Joanne Woodward added in a 2001 interview, "Orson had a hard time. It must have been a terrible, terrible feeling for him to be confronted by all these young hot shots who thought they were so great because they came from New York and the Actors Studio. It was a problem." See more »


Agnes Stewart: [to Clara] I'd give something to know what goes on in my brother's temperature dreams. I know what goes on in mine.
See more »


Referenced in Shower of Stars: Episode #4.7 (1958) See more »


The Long, Hot Summer
Performed by Jimmie Rodgers
Written by Sammy Cahn and Alex North
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Faulkner hell! We're in Williams country...
3 July 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

...and loving it! This movie takes the best of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, SUMMER AND SMOKE, throws in more than a dollop of William Inge's PICNIC, borrows the basket auctioning bit from OKLAHOMA! and the digging-for-treasure-by-the-old-collapsing-house subplot from GOD'S LITTLE ACRE - hell, we even get a variation on the cotton gin burning from BABY DOLL - and somehow delivers an original and unforgettable entertainment, the kind of movie they truly don't make any more. Every member of the cast is superb, with Woodward being a standout and Lee Remmick being gorgeous. How audiences must have swooned in 1958! How many people left the theater thinking they had seen something truly naughty and adult! This film has great dialog, atmosphere to spare, stunning yet understated costumes by Adele Palmer, and gorgeous cinematography. This is all tied together by another fine Alex North score. Check out the scene - lasting no more that 45 seconds

  • when Newman and Woodward cross a small bridge to share a picnic

lunch. This music cue is magical. Jerry Wald produced many high-class soap operas at Fox during the late 1950's, but this one is by far the best. Lansbury shines, Welles hams, and Newman takes his shirt off - what more could an audience ask for? A dreamy title tune crooned over the credits? You got it!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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