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Long Hot Summer '58 (Bilingual)
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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.
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
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THE TRANSFER: Fox has done a particularly nice job on remastering this movie. Yes, the flicker of scene changes (inherant in all early Cinemascope films)remains present and yes, color consistancy leaves something to be desired. But over all, colors are nicely balanced, if showing slight fading. Contrast and shadow levels are well represented. Pixelization, shimmering and edge enhancement, though all present, are kept to a bare minimum. The audio is Stereo surround and, even though considerably dated, still manages to have a hearty kick in all of the speakers.
EXTRAS: Very nice - the Backstory featurette that details the production of the film, a Paul Newman gallery, original movietone snippet and the film's theatrical trailer.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a nice presentation and a pretty good film besides. At the extremely economical price that Fox has advertised it at, "The Long Hot Summer" is guaranteed to burn up your DVD player.
It's hard to imagine in 2001 how revolutionary the (now) demure references Joanne Woodward makes to her decidedly repressed sexuality must have seemed in 1958. And Lee Remick flouncing around in her slip and falling languidly into Tony Franciosa's eager arms must have seemed pretty racy at the time. (Of course, Lee and Tony had perfected the act in the previous year's "Face In the Crowd.") All of this seems pretty tepid nowadays. More's the pity, I guess.
As a time capsule, the movie's priceless. Dramatically, though, the pacing could have been lots better. This was only director Martin Ritt's third theatrical effort. Although he is known for getting good performances out of his actors, the script here lets him and the cast down. Dramatic scenes (Jody's attempted murder of his overbearing father; the attempted lynching of Ben Quick by the enraged townsmen) seem rushed and are ultimately more ludicrous than moving. Potentially affecting, the movie is more often frustrating.
But as potboilers of the era go, "Long Hot Summer" remains a must see. The chemistry between Woodward and Newman is evident in this, their first film together. Remick continues her Southern belle shtick begun in "Face in the Crowd" (and that she'd revisit again in another Faulkner-based epic, "Sanctuary") in a way surprisingly winsome for a gal from Quincy, Mass.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a wonderful classic flick...with Paul Newman at his best. The story carries on lanquidly in a lush & lovely pace. It's a keeper & repeater. The cast is marvelous.Published 18 months ago by Eddie Nguyen
This collection of characters swirling around a boorish, self-centred and unpleasant though powerful man, end up accepting him somehow. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2014 by Esther Klein Ottawa
Un film d'été et de souvenir à regarder j'ai adorer l'histoire de ce film et les acteurs(trices) que dire de Paul Newman dans ce rôle qui lui va bien. Read morePublished on June 15 2013 by Jacques Potvin
The whole ordering process was very good however the estimated delivery time was off buy about 8 days but the DVD was excellent!Published on Jan. 25 2010 by D. Narlock
The movie (DVD) the Long Hot Summer was ordered for my husband who kept mentioning how much he loved the movie, his favorite, which he had seen many many years ago, starring Paul... Read morePublished on May 29 2009 by E. Hache LeBlanc
I rated this film with four stars though on most measurable levels, it is worthy of maybe three. The plot is a montage, some say mish-mash of Faulkner's literary works. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2003 by Rick Galati
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... Read morePublished on April 22 2003 by Kindle Customer