Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles, Anthony Franciosa, Lee Remick and Angela Lansbury co-star in this riveting tale of life in the Deep South. Provocative and compelling, it simmers with sexual tension, bawdy humo... more »r and a powerful clash of personalities. When Ben Quick (Newman), a suspected barnburner drifts into town, he catches the eye of Will Varner, a tyrannical, intimidating patriarch (Welles) who decides Quick is the ideal husband for his spinsterish daughter (Woodward). But once the loner moves in, the two men lock horns, drawing Varner's family into a complex web of emotions and actions that leaves all of them changed forever.« less
Miri R. from MARIETTA, GA Reviewed on 10/3/2014...
Excellent movie with a superb cast. One of my favorites.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jan B. from STATEN ISLAND, NY Reviewed on 1/31/2008...
This is the movie where I fell in love with Paul Newman. It's a great story and the sparks that fly between Paul and Joanne are incredible. All the acting is great!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Southern Fried Masterpiece
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 07/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well now, what do we have here? It is nothing less than one of the best and sexiest southern fried dramas from the 1950's. This adaptation of several works of William Faulkner is a tour de force for everyone involved. How lucky are we to have two great films on southern family life starring Paul Newman come out in 1958? This film is a fine companion piece to "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", a bit more upbeat than "Cat" but still full of sound and fury.
As Ben Quick, Paul Newman ignites the screen and fairly burns down half of Mississippi in the process with his incredible magnetism. He brings to Quick all he as to bear as an actor and creates one of his early memorable performances. Just watch him as bare chested he hugs his pillow on the hot veranda while watching Joanne Woodward through a screen door sitting up in her bed trying to ignore him, or his walk across the Varner yard early on in the film, his interactions with Orson Wells or Tony Franciosa. He is every inch the "mean and dirty" barnburner everyone thinks he is. He is just what the Varner family and Clara Varner in particular need to feed their respective fever dreams brought on by the heat of this particular August in the south.
Hitting her marks in a great performance is Joanne Woodward. She being a true daughter of the South comes to the table with and extra barrel loaded. As Clara Varner she is both needy and steely, a magnolia ready to be plucked but at that same time fearful that she will be passed over and left to wither on the vine. Her scene in the general store after closing time with Newman is just about one of the steamiest love scenes ever filmed this side of "Picnic". Miss Woodward here in this film is pure magic to watch and in combination with Paul Newman the pair become an alchemy of fireworks and lightning bugs on a summers night.
Adding to the fine cast is Lee Remick, Tony Franciosa, the incredible Angela Lansbury and the equally and always impressive Orson Wells. I would go on about each of them but I think it best to let them surprise you. That's half the fun of the film.
The score by Alex North is memorable and one of his best. The cinematography by Joseph LeShelle captures the hazy heat of Mississippi. And Martin Ritt's direction of all parties concerned is perfectly on target. Be sure to check some of his other collaborations with Newman, "Paris Blues", "Hud" to mention only two.
Pour yourself a tall sweet tea, kick off your shoes and open the veranda doors and let the breeze of this long hot summer envelope you. "
Infinitely superior to the Don Johnson remake.
praecox | Goldsboro, NC USA | 04/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The TV-movie version of "The Long, Hot Summer" suffers from miscasting (Judith Ivey was passable, but just, and I can't decide if Don Johnson's attempt to fill Paul Newman's shoes represents touching bravery or misguided arrogance), dreadful accents, and jarring anachronisms.
This film, the 1958 original, leaves it in the dust. Newman and Woodward generate palpable heat, and Orson Welles--clammy, jowly, bullfrog-voiced, crudely vigorous--is unforgettable as a classically bullying, overbearing Southern patriarch. In contrast to the pallid TV remake, it features a top cast whose work transcends the sometimes creaky melodrama of the plot. Nearly every white Southern archetype is brought to life: the brutish, domineering, castrating patriarch; the arch, charming, coyly seductive belle with hot pants; the aging good-time girl, simultaneously randy and prim, with her eye on the prize of a rich widower; the hotheaded but weak son and heir, goaded to jealousy by his seductive, flirtatious wife and utterly dominated by his father, whom he both adores and despises; the sharp-tongued old maid, smoldering with repressed fire, who just needs a "real man" to take the place of her suspiciously lukewarm long-term suitor; and, of course, the roguish, charming, sexy, potentially dangerous outsider, spiritual heir to Rhett Butler, who gets both the community and the heroine in a lather. There's even a lynch mob--chasing a white man, for a change.
Skip the TV-movie remake, which at best is a clunky imitation, in favor of the classic--if for no other reason than to see Paul Newman, at the peak of his beauty, in an undershirt. If that's not inducement enough, it's also marvelously cast, scripted, acted, and directed, and it captures Southern family dynamics with humor, pathos, and wince-inducing accuracy. Florence King would be proud."
This video is as "hot" as its name
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 08/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adapted from some William Faulkner stories, this 1958 film certainly lives up to its name. It is "hot". The setting is a small town in the Deep South and the characters familiar, but under the skillful direction of Martin Rich, they spring to life as complex, flawed and very human individuals. Paul Newman, in his prime then, is cast as Ben Quick, a young drifter who is taken under the wing of the town's patriarch, Will Varner, played by Orson Wells. Newman romances Varner's schoolteacher daughter, Clara, played by Joanne Woodward, and competes with Varner's son Jody, played by Anthony Franciosa, for the old man's respect and affection. Lee Remick is cast as Jody's pretty wife and Angela Lansbury plays Varner's lady friend. What a cast!Both Paul Newman and Orson Wells exude the essence of macho in the finest southern tradition. I can almost smell all that testosterone right off the video screen. There's nothing politically correct about this story, as the strength of the women lies only in the way they can manipulate the men in their lives. And, in spite of Joanne Woodward's, declaration of how much she loves books, the audience knows that what she really wants is nothing less than the kind of man who will make her wake up smiling each morning. This was the first movie that Woodward and Newman made together and they married shortly thereafter and so the audience is treated to a very special chemistry between them. Newman's blue eyes sparkle and his sexiness comes through loud and clear when he takes off his shirt. His body is naturally rugged without the sculptured pumped and ripped muscles that have since become trendy. Orson Wells' outstanding performance is the glue that holds the story together. He plays the role of the powerful 60-year old patriarch with exceptional vigor and is completely believable even though he was only 43 at the time. He wears his bulk well and there's sparkle between him and Angela Lansbury. During the course of the film, it is his character that goes through the most changes and he plays this with a naturalness that makes this believable.There's good writing, directing and close-up shots of the actors. And the story moved fast, holding my interest throughout. The camera also captured the distinctions between the dusty dirt farms and the luxurious mansion, but basically it focused on the people and the human drama. And the ending is a happy and satisfying one. I thought it was excellent."
Newman & Woodward's first pairing is wonderful
praecox | 07/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pay no attention to the reviewer from New York that disliked this film. It was shot and came out before Cat on a Hot Tin Roof did, so it was not trying to capitalize on Cat's much deserved success.Newman also won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his riveting, sexy portrayal of Ben Quick in Summer, even though the American Film Academy would soon snub him the first of seven out of eight times for his role of Brick in Cat. Ben Quick is an early Newman con man characterization, long before his well-loved role of Henry Gondorf in The Sting came along to enchant the world some 25 years later.As for the pairing of Paul & Joanne...she was excellently cast in the role of a smart, young southern lady struggling to break free from her dominant father and stifling family history. Orson Welles is excellent as the domineering old brute of a dad. Anthony Franciosa, Lee Remick & Angela Lansbury all turn in wonderful performances as southern folk fighting the stifling heat and Welles' blustery personality at the same time.Paul & Joanne are lovely together...knowing that they married a few months after making the film adds to it's allure. The last big scene between the two of them on the front porch is glorious chemistry to behold, not to mention her evening visit to the family store that Newman is "tending", in order to work his way into getting a share Welles' wealth. This is a subtle, intelligent romance and I agree with the reviewer who particularly appreciated the snappy dialogue. It holds up, even if the times have changed. Enjoy!"
Six Stars for The Long Hot Summer
Deborah F. Brown | Nesbit, Mississippi USA | 06/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If it was possible I would give this movie six stars!
While others may view Cat On A Hot Tin Roof as a better movie I feel TLHS is without a doubt the BEST movie. The film location in Clinton LA as well as the understated accents of the actors, feel and fit the time.
Newman and Woodward heat the screen with real sizzle. Woodward has a natural feel for life in the deep south.
Each character in this movie brings an enchanting realism to this movie that stands the test of time.
"Varners and more Varners"...
Maybe it's a southern thing, but as you can guess I love this movie!"