The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  18 May 1958 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 7,098 users  
Reviews: 53 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


Adapted from the Sensational Novel by William Faulkner 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:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Oscar Levant said about Producer Jerry Wald, "He suddenly became involved with William Faulkner. He'd buy a Faulkner property and that turgid, incomprehensible prose was on one occasion transformed into " The Long, Hot Summer." In that picture Orson Welles played a "big daddy" type of role. Sometimes he was inaudible - Those were his best moments." See more »


Will Varner: They don't have to see her. They can smell her.
See more »


Followed by The Long Hot Summer (1985) See more »


The Long, Hot Summer
Performed by Jimmie Rodgers
Written by Sammy Cahn and Alex North
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User Reviews

Debut for legendary screen team
15 April 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Long Hot Summer is chiefly noted for the fact that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward made their joint cinematic debut in this film. One of Hollywood's best personal and professional partnerships, Joanne had won a Best Actress Oscar for The Three Faces of Eve the year before and it took Paul thirty more years to match it for their mantelpiece in The Color of Money.

Based on some William Faulkner short stories, The Long Hot Summer commences when Joanne Woodward and Lee Remick, daughter and daughter-in-law of local patriarch Orson Welles give drifter Paul Newman a lift into town. Woodward's a repressed school teacher and Welles despairs of her finding a suitable match.

Because he started dirt poor and worked his way up to the top, Welles takes a liking to Newman and pushes, a little too hard for Newman and Woodward to team up. That's not sitting real well with Anthony Franciosa who is Welles's son and sees Newman displacing him in the family pecking order.

In fact my favorite in the film is Franciosa, he usually is in any film he's in. When he's on the screen, you don't pay attention to anyone else, not even Orson Welles.

Welles borrows a bit from Tennessee Williams's Big Daddy Pollitt from the Paul Newman film the year before, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. His Will Varner though is a bit softer around the edges, also lends itself more easily to caricature. I think the creators of The Dukes of Hazzard used Welles in The Long Hot Summer as their model for Boss Hogg.

In fact it's interesting to see the contrast in The Long Hot Summer and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. It's obvious to me that William Faulkner liked the people of Mississippi a whole lot more than the southerners that are in Tennessee Williams's work.

Almost fifty years later, The Long Hot Summer is still enjoyable viewing and still may be the best of Paul and Joanne's joint ventures.

27 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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