THE LONG, HOT SUMMER (1958) C widescreen 117m dir: Martin Ritt
w/Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Orson Welles, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury
One of the best film renderings of William Faulkner's writing, based on two stories ("Barn Burning" and "The Spotted Horses") and a part of the novel The Hamlet . Newman became a star as the stranger who stirs up the latent tensions in a small southern town, especially within the family dominated by patriarch Welles. Powerful and well-acted.
From Variety 's review of the film: "The Long, Hot Summer is a simmering story of life in the Deep South, steamy with sex and laced with violence and bawdy humor. Although the setting is Mississippi, race relations play no part; it is instead a kind of Peyton Place with the locale shifted from New England to the warmer climate and --- apparently --- hotter-blooded citizens. This picture is strikingly directed by Martin Ritt. ... Scripters have done a phenomenal job of putting together elements of stories that are actually connected only by their core of atmosphere, Faulkner's preoccupation with the rising redneck moneyed class and their dominance of the former aristocracy. There are still holes in the screenplay but director Martin Ritt slams over them so fast that you are not aware of any vacancies until you are past them. It is melodrama frank and unashamed. It may be preposterous but it is never dull. Most of Long, Hot Summer was shot in Louisiana and the locations pay off in the authentic flavor well captured by cameraman Joseph LaShelle. Highlighting the diverse and contrasting moods is the fine score by Alex North."