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The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

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

Director:

Martin Ritt

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Newman ... Ben Quick
Joanne Woodward ... Clara Varner
Anthony Franciosa ... Jody Varner
Orson Welles ... Will Varner
Lee Remick ... Eula Varner
Angela Lansbury ... Minnie Littlejohn
Richard Anderson ... Alan Stewart
Sarah Marshall Sarah Marshall ... Agnes Stewart
Mabel Albertson ... Elizabeth Stewart
J. Pat O'Malley ... 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:

The People of Faulkner...the language of Faulkner...the world of Faulkner! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 1958 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Der lange heiße Sommer See more »

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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:

Jerry Wald Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm optical prints)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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: Well, I'll be damned.
Will Varner: More than probable, you will be. But first, you're going to church and get married, yeah, to my daughter.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Backstory: The Long, Hot Summer (2001) 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

Terrific Cast Set the Screen on Fire
15 January 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

*** (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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