The Long, Hot Summer

7.31 h 56 min1958ALL
HD. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward play a handsome drifter and a repressed spinster in this 1958 sizzler.
Martin Ritt
Paul NewmanJoanne WoodwardAnthony Franciosa
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Orson WellesLee RemickAngela Lansbury
Jerry Wald
20th Century Fox
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4.7 out of 5 stars

1648 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 9% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Bruce CookReviewed in the United States on July 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
The movie is wonderful. The DVD is great. The Blu-ray is even better!
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This movie has been a favorite of mine since it was shown on "NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies" in the early 1960s, and I recently up-graded my DVD to this excellent Blu-ray.

I gave my old DVD to my thirty-something daughter, who also loves the movie because we watched it together each year in August back when she was a teenager. We both love the film and can quote portions of the dialog.

Hey, don't just their on your couch reading my review — buy this great Blu-ray! The picture quality is terrific!
9 people found this helpful
ZX9RMikeReviewed in the United States on July 10, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Terrific Screenplay, Incredibly Vivid Color Film
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This film is a synthesis of seven stories by William Faulkner. Joanne Woodward was beyond terrific. Her soon to be husband at the time this was filmed, the most awesome Paul Newman, was at his best in this film playing a stunningly handsome drifter flim flam man who falls for the daughter of the story's rich patriarch, played by Orson Wells. Great supporting performances by Tony Franciosa and Angela Lanndsbury and newcomer Lee Remick make this one of my all time favorite films with a happy ending.
4 people found this helpful
FillyReviewed in the United States on March 24, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beware of reproductions
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This is an excellent movie; one of my all-time favorites! Be careful to purchase from reputable suppliers as there are reproductions in the market that will have scenes missing or cut. If you aren't familiar with the movie you may not notice the errors. If you like classics where the dialogue is witty, the characters have depth and the plot tells a story, this movie will not disappoint.
3 people found this helpful
maryluvtoreadReviewed in the United States on March 7, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
It was wonderful
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I first viewed this movie in my early twenties and had never view such a movie that hinted if not explicit in the passion which happens between men and women and the complexities of growing up in a dysfunctional family with a tyrant as a Father. This was in the early 70"s and by this time the movie was almost 20 years old. At that time I did not have the knowledge of the back story of the personal relationship of its stars Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard. The acting was wonderful by all even though at times it was difficult to understand some of the dialog of Orson Wells. As I review the movie now the best performance was that of Tony Franciosa, whose every emotion was on full display . At the time the movie was made in 1958 some of the subject matter could only be whispered about, which may have been the caused of the movie not being well received at the time of its release. For me and other viewers I am sure this movie has stood the test of time along with Cat on a Hot Tin roof. Which is why I purchase both of these old classic starring Paul Newman and was wonderful blue eyes does not hurt.
20 people found this helpful
pindrop notesReviewed in the United States on October 15, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
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The sexually searing film “The Long Hot Summer” written by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. goes to show that male/female writing teams just like James Camron and Gale Anne Herd who wrote “The Terminator” can wield a powerful pen indeed.

The script is based on a combination of different William Falkner short stories including “Spotted Horses” and “Barn Burning” and Faulkner’s novel “The Hamlet”. Its set during one hot summer in the Louisiana in a town called Frenchman’s Bend and designed to work like a Tennessee Williams’ play which it succeeds doing on many levels especially in its poetic dialogue, smoldering sexuality and rich characterizations. It was directed by William Ritt who was an assistant teacher at the Actor’s Studio to Elia Kazan. Kazan directed a couple of excellent film versions of Williams plays himself including “A Streetcar named Desire” and “Baby Doll”. Ritt cast the film with many of the Actor’s Studio former students back when well-trained actors were actually in movies and people who could actually write wrote scripts. A testament to how well written the script really is can be seen in watching not just the original film but also in viewing the 1985 remake of the same name which ran on NBC as a miniseries. The remake is even sultrier than the original with its sexual tension and heat literally rising off the screen and I recommend it highly…if you can get your hands on a copy. As far as I know it has never been released to DVD.

Paul Newman (who deservedly won the Cannes Best Actor award for his performance) plays a drifter named Ben Quick with a reputation for burning barns. After being thrown out of one town when one of the inhabitant’s property goes up in smoke Ben takes a boat to Frenchman’s Bend and hitches a ride from the Varner girls; Clara, (Joanne Woodward) the prim and proper schoolmistress daughter of the town’s patriarch Will Varner and Eula (Lee Remick), Will’s beautiful and sexually charged daughter in law who is married to his screw up son Jody. Ben’s timing is perfect as he arrives in town while Will is in the hospital and Jody, who is more interested in banging Eula than keeping up on current events, is not aware of Ben’s reputation. He gives Ben a job working one of the Varner’s farms until Will arrives home a day later. Will, a big commanding Big Daddy kind of personality is aware of Ben’s reputation. He comes down hard on Jody, lays down the law and goes off to have a conversation with Ben.

Ben, a savvy man who is always open to opportunities, sees his threatening reputation as a way to make a deal with Will and move up in the world. He quickly works his way into Will’s favor starting with selling a bunch of Will’s wild untamable horses all the while trying to get the attention of Will’s daughter Clara. Will’s Achilles heel is his need for posterity and he is desperate to marry Clara off in order to breed enough Varner children to cover the country side. But Clara is fixated on a genteel man named Allen Stewart who, as Ben tells her (in one of the films best scenes) that she’s putting her money in the wrong bank…which she is indeed. Will seeing the gumption in Ben and fed up with Alan’s half-assed stagnant five year courtship of Clara gives Ben a job in his general store to compete with his son Jody and strikes yet another deal with Ben to get him closer to the headstrong Clara.

The DVD has the original theatrical trailer and English subtitles which in my opinion should be standard on any release. It also includes “Backstory: The Long Hot Summer” which though vapid in its presentation contains some interesting trivia about the film. For instance Angela Lansbury talks about how she liked playing Minnie Littlejohn because she finally got to play a character that is completely based on sex. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward who married in Las Vegas shortly after the film rapped purchased a large brass bed to sleep on during the shooting that was originally made and used in a whore house and Anthony Franciosa who was married to Shelly Winters at the time was arrested not long before the filming for punching a photographer in the face…but then can you blame him. But the most interesting information is probably about Orson Wells who was twenty years younger than the character he played and had developed a reputation for being hostile and difficult to work with. He’d just had a series of films that had flopped and was basically reduced to a desperate actor. It’s a shame Wells gets thought of mostly for “Citizen Kane” because in reality he had a very impressive career including directing “The Magnificent Ambersons” which is a brilliant film and the twisted and intriguing “Touch of Evil”. He also turned in terrific performances playing truly despicable characters in “The Stranger” and the classic masterpiece “The Third Man”. And he is brilliant here chewing up the scenery as Will Varner. I mean think about it, how many forty something film posers…I mean actors could pull off playing a roll like this so well? Maybe Phillip Seymour Hoffman but then of course he’s dead. Wells had difficulty on the set being surrounded by method actors (much like method actors today must have difficulty being surrounded by...whatever they are) and mumbled some of his lines beyond what could be deciphered but almost no one else could have played the part so convincingly and so well.
7 people found this helpful
AJReviewed in the United States on March 25, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Classic
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One's opinion of this film is a very personal opinion, but even those who don't love the story can't argue with a cast like this. Most of them a very young group who go on to great things. I am from this era so when i first saw it I didn't love it like I do now. I didn't even know who Angela Lansbury was then, but even her small part has more impact now that I am a great fan. But it's Paul Newman's boyish, devilish, sexy magnetism, yet with a touching vulnerability that mesmerizes, especially in scenes with Joanne Woodward, and especially now that we have the perspective of their lifetime love and marraige. The story is mosty based on Faulkner writings, but reminds me more of Tennessee Williams: story set in the south of the son of a "barn burner" running away from his past and with a his clever scams finds a place with Orson Wells' and his family. Orson Wells, expcept for the bad makeup, makes a great Southern family icon who blusters his way to power and dominates everyone in his path. But for me it could have been any story as a setting for this group that includes a very poignant performance by Anthony Franciosa and the bright performance and innocence of a very young Lee Remick. I also want to note that those early days of "technicolor" were very primitive. I liked black and white better. We have come a long way with a natural color.
4 people found this helpful
L.A. RogersReviewed in the United States on September 10, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Newman-Woodward - a Winner
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A few days ago when the temperature climbed to 100+ degrees, the Long Hot Summer came to mind. The VHS was gone, so I got on Amazon and in two days I had the "hot" little disc in the DVR. Paul Newman is such a great actor - can't think of any of his movies on my X list. Teaming up with Joanne Woodward guarantees a good movie.Set in the deep South, where 100+ degrees are normal, Newman's character - Ben Quick - has a reputation for burning barns, all of which relates back to his father, his childhood and poverty. Orson Wells is marvelous as a wealthy landowner (owns most of the town) who wants his daughter (Clara(Woodward) to get married and bring forth children. James Franciosa is the son married to Lee Remic who enjoys a life of privilege. Daddy thinks Ben Quick is a lot like him and would make Clara very happy, but Clara doesn't see it that way, so the pursuit begins. How Clara could resist him next to the namby-pamby boyfriend makes the chase even better. A favorite line from Lee Remic to Franciosa, because he's always chasing her to the bedroom, "I sure do wish you would find yourself some other form of recreation!" Orson Wells does a good job in this lighter story vs the dark, serious movies he has made. Enjoy this film any time. AAAAA rating!!!
2 people found this helpful
David E. BaldwinReviewed in the United States on January 22, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
Smokin' Hot
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This is a real gem. I never read the Faulkner source material(I unstand it's derived from three works) but this could lead to the bookshelf. Director Martin Ritt, in his second effort after "Edge of the City"(soon to released on DVD) shows the sure hand that he displayed in his other Southern-fried works. The film is both sultry and ribald that it will leave you in stitches. The dialogue is as cutting as anything this side of "The Sweet Smell of Success". The casting here is impeccable. Paul Newman is quite good here. He demonstrates a little bit of the method that informs a lot of his early work but his work does suggest the assuredness that came later in "The Hustler" and "Hud". Joanne Woodward, however, is masterful as the plain Jane daughter who Newman has designs on. On paper you wouldn't think that Newman and Woodward would be a good coupling but they have kinetic chemistry onscreen that was also demonstrated in their successful offscreen marriage. Many have compared Orson Welles' work as a Big Daddy knock-off but I found it to be a truly original rendering. Welles walks the tightrope here between chewing the scenery and hamming it up but his daring portrayal of Will Varner is one for the ages. Tony Franciosa gives a sympathetic turn as Varner's neglected son and Lee Remick exudes eroticism whether in a sundress or a slip. Essential viewing on so many counts.
13 people found this helpful
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