7.5/10
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60 user 36 critic

The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 May 1958 (West Germany)
Accused barn burner and con man Ben Quick arrives in a small Mississippi town and quickly ingratiates himself with its richest family, the Varners.

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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

NOTHING - BUT NOTHING !...WILL BE WITHHELD!...when this searing expose of this Southern family comes boldly to the screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 May 1958 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Der lange heiße Sommer  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,853,700, 31 December 1958
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name Ben Quick also pops up as a saw mill owner in the Playhouse 90 production of "Tomorrow", based upon another Faulkner story. See more »

Goofs

When Varner sees Jody digging in the yard looking for so called treasures, Jody hands him a silver dollar and Will says it was minted in 1910. No silver dollars were minted after 1904 until 1921. The coin Ben showed him while at gunpoint was likely a $5 gold piece but Will is definitely holding what looks like a silver dollar. See more »

Quotes

Ben: Miss Clara, you slam the door in a man's face before he even knocks on it.
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Connections

Referenced in That Most Important Thing: Love (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

The Long, Hot Summer
Performed by Jimmie Rodgers
Written by Sammy Cahn and Alex North
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Long and hot all right, with a tremendous cast
16 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

Paul Newman stars with Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles, Lee Remick, Anthony Franciosca, Richard Anderson and Angela Lansbury in "The Long, Hot Summer," based on stories by William Faulkner. It's a lushly produced film about a drifter, Ben Quick (Newman), who comes to town. His reputation precedes him, and he soon upsets the status quo in the wealthy Varner family, headed by Orson Welles with a fake nose that kept melting off and an even faker southern accent. There's the weak, insecure son (Franciosa) married to a sex kitten (Remick) and an unmarried daughter (Woodward) saving herself for a momma's boy (Anderson). In town, there's also Varner Sr.'s mistress, played by Angela Lansbury. Ben sets his sights on Clara Varner and puts himself in direct competition with nervous son Jody for papa's approval. But Quick ultimately needs to reach underneath his swagger and bravura and confront his cut and run philosophy.

This is a fantastic cast that delivers sparkling dialogue and an interesting story that has mostly well-drawn characters. The exception would probably be Remick, who has a small but showy role. She doesn't get to do much except show off her figure and sexiness. Welles is a riot - a marvelous technician, he knew how to externalize a character perfectly, and he is here the epitome of a Big Daddy type. His southern drawl is outrageous, and why he decided he needed a new nose (which he had in other roles as well) is beyond me. Woodward gives a touching performance as a young woman who has been living on hope and can't quite cope with her attraction to the overtly sexual Quick. Franciosa is excellent as a tortured young man unable to win his father's love.

But as any film that stars Paul Newman, the movie belongs to him, one of the greatest actors to ever hit the screen. Macho, sexy and handsome, his Ben Quick is angry, determined, manipulative, and disturbing, with a hidden vulnerability. His scenes with Woodward sizzle, and you can see her character blossom under his attention. They're a great couple, both on and off the screen.

Highly recommended, as is any film that stars Paul Newman.


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