Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Long, Hot Summer, The (1958)

Long, Hot Summer, The (1958)

Blue-eyed heartthrob Paul Newman first came to prominence in Martin Ritt’s The Long Hot Summer, an adaptation of three short stories by William Faulkner, one of the great writers of the American Deep South.

Newman plays roughneck and suspected barn burner Ben Quick, who swaggers into the Mississippi town of Frenchman’s Bend while fleeing persecution and soon catches the eye of Eula (Lee Remick) and wins the favour of her father-in-law, local tyrant Will Varner (Orson Welles), who takes a liking to the stranger and offers him a job.

Despairing of his son’s lack of ambition, Varner plots to marry the new arrival to his wholesome schoolteacher daughter Clara (Joanne Woodward), in the hope they will provide him with an heir.

Shot in breathtaking CinemaScope through the steamed-up lenses of Joseph LaShelle, the temperature is cranked up by some bawdy verbal sparring from Newman and Woodward, who went on to marry after the shoot.

Newman followed this with two Tennessee Williams adaptations, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), and two more films directed by Ritt, Hud (1963) and Hombre (1967).

Ben Quick
Paul Newman
Clara Varner
Joanne Woodward
Will Varner
Orson Welles
Jody Varner
Anthony Franciosa
Lee Remick
Alan Stewart
Richard Anderson

Martin Ritt