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The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

Paul Newman , Joanne Woodward , Martin Ritt  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Orson Welles, Lee Remick
  • Directors: Martin Ritt
  • Writers: Harriet Frank Jr., Irving Ravetch, William Faulkner
  • Producers: Jerry Wald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008MTW2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,931 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Long, Hot Summer" on IMDb

Special Features

  • AMC Backstory: The Long, Hot Summer
  • MovieTone News

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Paul Newman has his glorious youthful swagger in this southern-fried melodrama, which marked his first picture with Joanne Woodward (they married after shooting ended). The script is a melange of William Faulkner stories, although it appears more under the influence of Tennessee Williams and Picnic than the Nobel Prize winner. Drifter Newman catches the eye of schoolmarm Woodward and her father, a rural Mississippi bigshot (Orson Welles). This is not one of Welles's better moments; he appears to be conducting make-up experiments. There is some enjoyable flapdoodle along the way, in the Freud-meets-Gone with the Wind manner of '50s southern cooking, but the ending is embarrassingly compromised. The same production team would leave out the box-office concessions a few years later on Hud. A studly Newman justifies this description of his character: "I wish I was Ben Quick. He's got the whole state of Mississippi to graze on." --Robert Horton

Product Description

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 humor 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Fried Masterpiece July 22, 2005
Format:DVD
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".
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This video is as "hot" as its name August 11, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Infinitely superior to the Don Johnson remake. April 22, 2003
By praecox
Format:DVD
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.
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