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SUMMER AND SMOKE 1961

NR CC
4.5 out of 5 stars (66) IMDb 7.9/10

Academy Award. winner Geraldine Page stars as the spinster Alma. Laurence Harvey is Doctor John Buchanan, the handsome young man Alma has loved since childhood. But when a sultry vamp appears (Rita Moreno), the doctor falls hard, descending into a seamy nightlife and leaving Alma's dreams behind like forgotten embers.

Starring:
Laurence Harvey, Geraldine Page
Runtime:
1 hour, 58 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Peter Glenville
Starring Laurence Harvey, Geraldine Page
Supporting actors Rita Moreno, Una Merkel, John McIntire, Thomas Gomez, Pamela Tiffin, Malcolm Atterbury, Lee Patrick, Max Showalter, Earl Holliman, Rico Alaniz, Cheryl Anderson, Marjorie Bennett, Margaret Blye, Winnie Chandler, Pattie Chapman, Pamela Duncan, Ray Foster, John Frank
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Andersen on December 23, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
This Panavision and color adaptation of Tennessee Williams' most poetic play is a showcase for both his words and Geraldine Page's Oscar-nominated performance. Spirituality vs. carnality is the theme of a spinster romantically attracted to her childhood neighbor, a wild libertine. Elmer Bernstein's score is magnificant - one of his finest and one of the finest in film history. Listen during Alma's soul-searing final monologue using images of ice and fire and listen to Bernstein's use of harp glissandos that reflect the words. This is Page's finest screen performance and along with the score and the writing are the main reasons for viewing. The prologue and main title are letterboxed - showing the fine use of wide screen. Nominations were also received for Una Merkel's supporting performance as the dotty mother, Bernstein's score and the period Art Direction. Well worth a visit.
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There are a lot of things you can say about this film, but foremost must be the performance of Geraldine Page, perhaps the finest female performance ever captured on film. Her use of her hands, a glance...every nuance imaginable has not been matched (a close second: Giulietta Massina). Alma is a lot more complicated than most realize, a repressed rage, hopeless love, culminating in a dependance on drugs (not brought out so much in the film); "those little white tablets...ever so merciful..." After an Oscar nomination in 1953 for "Hondo", Page was subjected to ugliness by the McCarthy nonsense, and "S&S" was only her second film. English director Peter Glenville, famous for attention to detail ("Becket"), worked with fellow Brit, Laurence Harvey (a southerner by association since he played Travis in "The Alamo"), and it was actually a fine group of talent. Tennessee Williams always thought this was his best play; he re-wrote it as "Eccenticities of a Nightingale", but the new idea, though admired, never survived. It made more reference to Alma's addiction, and also referred to all 4 women as caged birds, escaping in different directions. I applaud anyone who takes the time to soak in all the nuance that Williams has to offer, the mood and delivery of Glenville, and the unflinching perfection of Page's performance. Taking this all at once is quite overwhelming. AFTERTHOUGHT: I failed to mention the power of Jerry Goldsmith's magnificent music. Along with his score to "To Kill a Mockingbird", these films were both transcended to a place complete understanding. Oops, I meant composer Elmer Bernstein; one of his best scores. HALLELUJAH! The DVD is very fine, a great 2.35 widescreen, and terrific sound quality. Page's last 20 minutes will blow anyone away. Alas, no DVD extras.

OMG: There's a BluRay coming out. Maybe some extras...
17 Comments 84 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
It's THAT final scene that always grabs ya, poor Alma, little desolate sitting there, next to that grotesque stone angel, a bit like Blanche, waiting for that Gentleman Caller, getting by with a little help from her friends, and that ODD, bittersweet conclusion.....
Underrated performances, underrated movie, pre-David Lynch territory, almost Ray Bradbury country, weird, Wonderful Tennessee Williams! Geraldine Page assaults your senses as the repressed, tightly-encorseted spinster masking a volcano of passion - just under the veil! A product of affuent early 20th century domestic repression she pines for the affection of neighborhood hunk Harvey M.D., but to no avail. He has been "taken" by a much younger rival [another devastating scene with Page and Pamela Tiffin as the "bride to be"].
There's plenty a-foot, spot-on performances by Una Merkel as the ever-eccentric mother, and Rita Moreno as the passionate, doomed Rosa BUT its those last moments with Alma [Page] and the salesman [Mr. Goodbar, Ragtime style? - Earl Holliman] in the park, alone, late at night ....that sobers!
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Format: VHS Tape
Tennessee Williams did another great job with "Summer and Smoke" and the memorable phrases that he came up with will stick with you forever. Just listen for Miss Alma (Geraldine Page) when she says "I could spread out my life like a rug for you to step on, and you'd still step on it, and never say thank you, Alma."
If you delight in great dialogue and superb acting, this is a movie you just HAVE to get!
Geraldine Page makes you rewind that VCR SO MANY TIMES that it is just the limit! I am a huge fan of hers and this was a new movie to me. I couldn't believe it at all - hers was a talent that will never be matched again.
See this movie and you won't be disappointed - it will be one of those shows that you watch over and over again to catch all the nuances that you couldn't catch in prior viewings. LOVED IT AND YOU WILL TOO!
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By A Customer on February 9, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Thank God for the wonders of Ms. Geraldine Page. If it weren't for her, I doubt that the film would have the same effect. A tragedy unfolds and Ms. Page gives us all emotional aspects of the character she portrays. It is hard to believe that she is not Alma (the character she plays) because her sense of reality in the film is so strong. A lesson for all actors -- she has obviously done her homework -- she is concentrated and resonates with that human pain that exists within all of us. I sorely miss her. I remember seeing this film as a child in the theater and young as I was, I knew I was watching someone extraordinary. We would have sorely lost out without her.
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