Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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 »
Well, I'll be damned.
More than probable, you will be. But first, you're going to church and get married, yeah, to my daughter.
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*** (out of 4) Con man Ben Quick (Paul Newman) is accused of burning down a barn so he's forced to hit the road where he winds up on the farm of the Varner family. While trying to woo the daughter Clara (Joanne Woodward) Ben also strikes up a partnership with her father (Orson Welles), which doesn't sit well with the son (Anthony Franciosa) who can't ever seem to do anything right.
THE LONG, HOT SUMMER was the first collaboration between Newman and Woodward who would be married shortly after this film wrapped production. The film is known for that but it's also known for the heated on-set battles between Welles and director Martin Ritt. These two things usually take a lot of the spotlight away from the film itself and that's really too bad because it's a pretty good soap opera from Fox.
The term "soap opera" will be seen by some of a criticism but it's certainly not meant to be. There were countless movies made during this era that likes to be over-dramatic at times with a strong sexuality and a blazing music score going in the background. This film here has the benefit of some great locations, a pretty good story and of course some legendary actors doing great work. I will admit that the one really weak thing is the music score, which is constantly blaring at the wrong time and taking away from the actors and their magic.
As for the cast, the heat that Newman and Woodward were feeling off the set certainly burned on screen because the two have some wonderful chemistry here. There's no doubt that they bring a lot of smoke to the screen and the two manage to capture the sexuality of the story as well as the dramatic nature of the love story. Welles is also excellent in his part as the fiery father. Again, Welles had various issues on the set but I thought he was very believable in the part. Franciosa, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury and Richard Anderson are all very good as well.
THE LONG, HOT SUMMER features some terrific cinematography and director Ritt certainly knows how to milk all the sexuality from the story. There are certainly some flaws throughout the movie but the star power alone makes it a must see.
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