The Long Hot Summer

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Accused barn burner and conman Ben Quick (Paul Newman) arrives in a small Mississippi town and quickly ingratiates himself with its richest family, the Varners.

ACTORS :  Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1958

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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 The Long Hot Summer Sixty-one year old widower Will Varner (Orson Welles), in ill health, owns many businesses and property in Frenchman’s Bend, Mississippi, including a plantation. To him, his children are a disappointment, 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 (Anthony Francoisa) has no ambition and does not work, spending much of his time fooling around with his seductive wife, Eula (Lee Remick). He finds twenty-three-year-old daughter Clara (Joanne Woodward) 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 (Richard Anderson), 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 … The Long Hot Summer

Faulkner hell! We’re in Williams country…
 The Long Hot Summer  …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! The Long Hot Summer

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