Total Film - 03/01/2011 3 stars out of 5 -- "Simmering '50s sexual tension is brought off the boil by comedy soap operatics in this early Paul Newman showpiece."
Uncut - 03/01/2011 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Louisiana locations are glorious in this operatic tale."
Sight and Sound - 05/01/2011
"Released in the same year as CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, it gives the tyranny of its own Big Daddy a more roguish comic spin."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Directed by Martin Ritt, The Long, Hot Summer is based on three William Faulkner stories, and marks the first on-screen teaming of Newman and Woodward. Featuring an all-star cast including Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles and Lee Remick, this smoldering story from the Deep South is filled with sexual tension, bawdy humor and powerfully clashing personalities. When suspected barnburner Ben Quick (Newman) drifts into a town dominated by Will Varner (Welles), he is recruited to husband Varner's spinster daughter (Woodward) so that Varner can keep an eye on him. But the two men soon lock horns, and ultimately a chain of events leaves them all changed forever.
A witty, involving drama set in rural Mississippi, Martin Ritt's second film exudes the peculiar charm of the Deep South. Martin Ritt combined two of William Faulkner's Southern stories into this immensely entertaining drama starring Paul Newman as Ben Quick, a wandering handyman who arrives in Frenchman's Bend, Mississippi where menacing rumors about his past are circulating. The self-made town despot, Will Varner (Welles), quickly warms to the drifter and, seeing a bit of himself in Ben Quick, Varner takes him under his wing and gives him a job at his store. Disappointed with his own son's lazy demeanor, and fearing that his grandchildren will be the same, Varner tells Quick that he'd like him to marry his daughter Clara (Woodward), a tough-minded schoolteacher. Quick and Clara clash at first, and their scenes together project an electricity that practically jumps off the screen, no doubt aided by the stars' offscreen attraction. Their performance, along with sharp dialogue and strong support from the rest of the cast, especially Welles' portrayal of Will Varner, a Southern variation on his Hank Quinlan from A TOUCH OF EVIL, help make THE LONG, HOT SUMMER a classic.
Melodrama, based on several stories by William Faulkner, about life in a small Mississippi town owned by one despotic man, and the power he wields over his family and the people in the town.
Character Study |
Theatrical Release |
Shot on location in Louisiana.
Theatrical release: April 4, 1958.
THE LONG, HOT SUMMER was the first film Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman starred in together. They married the same year it was released.
Remade in 1985 for television with Don Johnson and Judith Ivey in the Newman and Woodward roles, respectively.
Adapted from two different Faulkner stories, "Barn Burning" and "Spotted Horses," which is part of his novel THE HAMLET.
Faulkner had previously tried to turn "Barn Burning" into a script, without success. Martin Ritt taught both Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward at the Actor's Studio.