Thursday, August 18, 2016

Only now does it occur to me... THE LONG HOT SUMMER

Only now does it occur to me... that when weather this stifling comes around, the only solution is to watch some Southern Fried Sleaze-O-Rama! (As previously documented in my reviews of THE BIG EASY, TIGHTROPE, and THE PAPERBOY.) Today, that meant watching THE LONG, HOT SUMMER, a lurid, golden age melodrama based on three works by William Faulker ("Spotted Horses," "Barn Burning," and THE HAMLET) and featuring sweaty Paul Newman:

well-oiled n' corpulent Orson Welles:

steamy Angela Lansbury (chuggin' all the beers):

moist Joanne Woodward:

clammy Tony Franciosa (best known to me from Argento's TENEBRE!):

and damp Lee Remick:

(among other perspiring members of the Actors Studio).

Directed by Martin Ritt (HUD, HOMBRE, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD) and set to a sensationalized score by Alex North (SPARTACUS, CLEOPATRA, THE MISFITS), this is a film about handsome strange-uhs and busyin' youh-self with the vapours and the juleps and the pink lemonade, and it contains more Faulknerian sexual entrendres than you can shake a swampy, Bayou-drippin' stick at. In short, I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

Also worth mentioning is the DVD cover, which features a pull-quote from a VARIETY review:

"...Strikingly Directed...Steamy With Sex." 

Apparently confused by the review's lack of attribution (it's from an uncredited "staff" review) the DVD producers decided to go with the first name they saw: Martin Ritt. And thusly, THE LONG, HOT SUMMER's DVD cover came to feature a rave recommendation seemingly uttered from the lips of its own director!

(And if you dig Faulknerian wordplay, might I direct you toward a piece I wrote for McSweeney's last year called "Winners of the Yoknapatawpha County Spelling Bee, 1929-1940.")


gweeps said...

I recently watched this and I enjoyed it.

Orson Welles' character reminded me of Big Papa, played by Burl Ives, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Both films use humidity to great effect.

Sean Gill said...


Totally––THE CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF connection occurred to me as well. And the humidity's like a character in the film!