The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

115 or 117 mins | Melodrama | March 1958

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HISTORY

The film's title card reads "Jerry Wald's Production of William Faulkner's The Long, Hot Summer ." As noted in LAEx and DV news items, the film was based on Faulkner's novel The Hamlet . Although the Var review states that the screenplay was based on two short stories, Barn Burning , published in Harpers in Jun 1939, and "Spotted Horses," which was published in Scribner's in Jun 1931, those stories are set before and after, repectively, the events that take place in The Hamlet . The LAEx article adds that at the time he purchased the literary rights, Wald hoped to cast Don Murray and Hope Lange in the leads.
       A Sep 1957 HR news item noted that the company spent two months filming locations in Baton Rouge, LA. Publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library add that exact replicas of a Southern mansion and small hotel were built on the studio back lot at a cost of $200,000. It took nearly three hours to apply Orson Welles's makeup, according to the publicity files.
       The Long, Hot Summer marked the first time that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward appeared together onscreen. It was also the first collaboration between Newman and director Martin Ritt. Ritt directed Newman in several more films over the course of his career. Shortly after the film was completed, Newman and Woodward wed. Newman won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award for his performance in the film. Modern sources note that Marlon Brando was ... More Less

The film's title card reads "Jerry Wald's Production of William Faulkner's The Long, Hot Summer ." As noted in LAEx and DV news items, the film was based on Faulkner's novel The Hamlet . Although the Var review states that the screenplay was based on two short stories, Barn Burning , published in Harpers in Jun 1939, and "Spotted Horses," which was published in Scribner's in Jun 1931, those stories are set before and after, repectively, the events that take place in The Hamlet . The LAEx article adds that at the time he purchased the literary rights, Wald hoped to cast Don Murray and Hope Lange in the leads.
       A Sep 1957 HR news item noted that the company spent two months filming locations in Baton Rouge, LA. Publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library add that exact replicas of a Southern mansion and small hotel were built on the studio back lot at a cost of $200,000. It took nearly three hours to apply Orson Welles's makeup, according to the publicity files.
       The Long, Hot Summer marked the first time that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward appeared together onscreen. It was also the first collaboration between Newman and director Martin Ritt. Ritt directed Newman in several more films over the course of his career. Shortly after the film was completed, Newman and Woodward wed. Newman won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award for his performance in the film. Modern sources note that Marlon Brando was the studio's first choice for the role of "Ben Quick." Faulkner's story also served as the basis for a TV series of the same name that was broadcast on ABC from 1965--1966. The pilot for the series was directed by Robert Altman and starred Roy Thinnes, Nancy Malone and Edmund O'Brien. The 1985 NBC television movie The Long, Hot Summer , starring Don Johnson, Jason Robards and Judith Ivey and directed by Stuart Cooper, was also based on Faulkner's story. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Mar 1958.
---
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1957.
---
Daily Variety
5 Mar 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Mar 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 57
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 57
p. 3, 6, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 57
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 58
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
19 Mar 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Mar 58
p. 748.
New York Times
4 Apr 58
p. 16.
Variety
5 Mar 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Body makeup
Hair styles
Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Key grip
Dial coach
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Hamlet by William Faulkner (New York, 1940).
SONGS
"The Long Hot Summer," words and music by Sammy Cahn and Alex North, sung by Jimmie Rodgers
"Higher Up the Berry Tree," traditional, sung by Sheb Wooley.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
William Faulkner's The Long, Hot Summer
Release Date:
March 1958
Production Date:
late September--21 November 1957
final seq 6 December 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Jerry Wald Productions, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
13 March 1958
Copyright Number:
LP10298
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
115 or 117
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Having been accused of arson by a local farmer, Ben Quick, the brassy, conman son of an infamous barn burner, is banished from a rural Mississippi county and told never to return. Quick takes a barge down river to Frenchmen's Bend, the town owned lock, stock and barrel by the blustery Will Varner. While hitching a ride along the roadside, Quick meets Eula Varner, the sexy Southern belle married to Varner's weak-willed son Jody, and Clara, Varner's prim schoolteacher daughter. Later, Quick comes to the Varner mansion to speak to the man of the house about renting a farm, and in her father's absence, Clara directs him to Jody. Soon after, Varner returns to town following a three-month stay in the hospital and is greeted by his longtime mistress, Minnie Littlejohn. Upon reaching home, Varner humiliates Jody for incompetently managing the family's general store in his absence and then nags Clara about getting married. Upon learning that Jody has rented a farm to Quick, the barn burner, Varner speeds out to the property, where the two men size each other up. After Quick tries to wheedle a job from Varner, Varner offers him a deal to sell a herd of untamable wild horses. Soon after, Clara visits her beau, Alan Stewart, the mama's boy son of a decaying old Southern family, to invite him for dinner. In town meanwhile, Quick successfully auctions the horses to some unsuspecting farmers while Minnie badgers Varner about getting married. Impressed by Quick's prowess, Varner invites him to dinner that night. At the table, Varner insults Alan by questioning his relationship with his mother, ... +


Having been accused of arson by a local farmer, Ben Quick, the brassy, conman son of an infamous barn burner, is banished from a rural Mississippi county and told never to return. Quick takes a barge down river to Frenchmen's Bend, the town owned lock, stock and barrel by the blustery Will Varner. While hitching a ride along the roadside, Quick meets Eula Varner, the sexy Southern belle married to Varner's weak-willed son Jody, and Clara, Varner's prim schoolteacher daughter. Later, Quick comes to the Varner mansion to speak to the man of the house about renting a farm, and in her father's absence, Clara directs him to Jody. Soon after, Varner returns to town following a three-month stay in the hospital and is greeted by his longtime mistress, Minnie Littlejohn. Upon reaching home, Varner humiliates Jody for incompetently managing the family's general store in his absence and then nags Clara about getting married. Upon learning that Jody has rented a farm to Quick, the barn burner, Varner speeds out to the property, where the two men size each other up. After Quick tries to wheedle a job from Varner, Varner offers him a deal to sell a herd of untamable wild horses. Soon after, Clara visits her beau, Alan Stewart, the mama's boy son of a decaying old Southern family, to invite him for dinner. In town meanwhile, Quick successfully auctions the horses to some unsuspecting farmers while Minnie badgers Varner about getting married. Impressed by Quick's prowess, Varner invites him to dinner that night. At the table, Varner insults Alan by questioning his relationship with his mother, and then taunts Jody with the news that he has appointed Quick co-manager of the general store. Varner and Quick play cards late into the night, and afterward, Quick flirts with Clara, who verbally jousts with him. Impatient for Clara to marry and bear him grandchildren, Varner informs his daughter that if she is unable to persuade Alan to propose, he will arrange a match with Quick, a "prize stud bull." Simmering with resentment over Quick's promotion to store manager, the pathetic Jody stays home and pesters his wife for sex. After class one day, Clara drops by the store to see Quick, who chides her for letting the world pass her by. Clara responds with a slap, but when he kisses her, she returns his embrace, then retaliates by calling him a barn burner and running out of the store. Varner overhears the altercation and offers Quick money to wed Clara. At first stunned, Quick consents and asks Varner to compensate him with the plantation known as Frenchman's Ruin, where a fortune in Civil War gold is allegedly buried. When Quick moves into the Varner mansion, Clara admonishes her resentful brother to fight back. Later, at the local fair, Minnie informs Varner that she has arranged their wedding, and after she refuses Varner's bribe of a new car, he reluctantly capitulates and agrees to marry her. Quick launches his courtship of Clara by outbidding Alan for her box supper, but after Clara and Quick argue, Alan comes to her rescue and she screws up her courage to inquire about his matrimonial intentions. Clara is crushed when Alan replies that he cannot love her as a man loves a woman. Driven to desperation, Jody threatens Quick with a gun, but the sly Quick shows him a gold coin and tricks him into believing that there is buried treasure on Frenchman's Ruin. When Jody digs up a bag of gold, Quick sells him the property for $1,000. Later that night, Varner comes to the plantation and finds Jody burrowing in the dirt. When Jody shows him the bag of gold, Varner humiliates him once again by observing that the coins were minted in 1910, and then labels him a sucker. When Alan walks Clara home that evening, Varner assumes that they are engaged and tenderly recalls the love he felt for Clara's mother. The next morning, Varner drives to the Stewart house to make arrangements for the wedding, and when Alan informs him that there will be no wedding, Varner explodes, speeds into town and orders Quick to buy a new suit because he is getting married. Upon returning home, Varner goes to the barn to see a newborn foal, and Jody locks him in and sets the barn on fire. When Jody relents and unbars the doors, Varner praises him for his newfound gumption. Seeing smoke, the townsfolk assume that Quick is responsible and prepare to lynch him. Hurrying to the general store, Clara collects Quick and drives him to the safety of the Varner home. The flames and smoke stir up unpleasant memories, and Quick recalls the horror of growing up as the son of a barn burner and being forever branded as an outsider. Clara is touched by Quick's sudden show of tenderness, and he decides to cancel the wedding in exchange for her saving his life. After Varner disperses the angry crowd by accepting responsibility for the fire, Quick lectures him about respecting his daughter's wishes and then announces that he is leaving. As Quick goes upstairs to pack, Jody and Eula reconcile, and Clara runs after him and declares he will never get away from her. Finally pleased with his children, Varner ushers Minnie into the house. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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