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Number: TWILIGHT292-BR

Starring:  Orson Welles, Lee Remick, Paul Newman, Angela Lansbury, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa
Directed By:  Martin Ritt
Composed By:  Alex North

“Paul Newman’s performance as Ben Quick is as mean and keen as a cackle-edge scythe.”
– Time Magazine

“Strikingly directed by Martin Ritt…melodrama frank and unashamed …Highlighting the diverse and contrasting moods is the fine score by Alex North.”
– Variety

The extraordinary team of director Martin Ritt and writers Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. adapt a pair of William Faulkner narratives in The Long, Hot Summer (1958). Paul Newman gives perhaps his most Newmanian performance as a crafty drifter who drops like a bomb into the wealthy Varner family, already a stewpot of lust, rivalry, and dysfunction. Orson Welles is the manipulative paterfamilias; Joanne Woodward his intelligent, wary daughter; Anthony Franciosa his weakling son; Angela Lansbury his long-suffering mistress; and Lee Remick his sexed-up daughter-in-law. This seductive cocktail is handsomely scored by the great Alex North.

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
1958 / Color

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / Hollywood Backstories: The Long, Hot Summer / Fox Movietone Newsreel / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

Reviews and Comments: (2)
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Posted by Gregory Robertson on August 26, 2017 3:20 AM
Wow! This new transfer is a dream come true for those who love this film. The old dvd was noticeably softer than most (though still worthy of many viewings). Now even the opening credits, which often suffer added grain from the optical process, are sharp and as detailed as the best 35mm film transfers I've seen. The appearance of a fine film grain and lack of artificial edge enhancement give it a truly cinematic appearance. So glad to see what is to me one of the best of the great 50's southern dramas (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof another good example) receiving the 'Criterion' treatment from Twilight Time. Thanks

Posted by Mark Turner on October 3, 2017 1:13 PM
In 1956 actor Paul Newman established himself as someone with star potential when he was featured in SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME. Two years later he found himself involved in this film, based on several William Faulkner stories. In addition to that Newman found himself involved with his co-star, Joanne Woodward, who he went on to marry and remain married to until his death in 2008.

Newman stars as Ben Quick, a young man accused of barn burning and forced to leave his home. His reputation stems from the fact this was a favorite preoccupation his father had when angered at someone. Moving on Ben arrives in Frenchman’s Bend, Mississippi, a town controlled and nearly all owned by wealthy Will Varner (Orson Welles).

Varner is a hard man, disappointed in his children who seem to be following their own paths rather than what he’d like them to. Son Jody (Anthony Franciosa) would rather spend his days doing little and fooling around with his wife Eula (Lee Remick). Nothing he does pleases his father and any attempts he makes to do so seem to fail consistently.

Then there is daughter Clara (Woodward). Uninterested in any of the businesses Will owns, she pursues her own dreams as a bookish style schoolteacher, unmarried and approaching spinsterhood at the ripe old age of 23. Clara has been dating Alan Stewart (Richard Anderson) for some time now, hoping he might make the decision to ask for her hand. As the film progresses we find out he has a reason not to, one subtly hinted at but controversial for the year 1958.

Into this mix waltzes Ben. Self-assured, cocky and willing to do whatever it takes to move himself forward, he takes on a piece of property Will has that needs work. But in Ben Will sees a bit of himself, a man who takes action and wants to move up the ladder. Will may be a self-made man and wealthy but he will never be a part of the Southern aristocracy that comes from old money. In Ben he sees someone that could be a potential husband for Clara as well as someone to carry on his legacy. Of course this doesn’t sit well with his real son Jody.

Not only that, Clara has no interest in Ben either. At least outwardly. But he courts her, woos her and tries to get her to break down her defensive wall. It is this interplay between the two characters mixed with the forceful presence of Will and the maneuvering manipulations of Jody that brings out a dramatic tale that is enjoyable from start to finish.

Directed by Martin Ritt (who would go on to direct Newman again in HUD and HOMBRE), you can feel the muggy warmth of the south oozing from the screen here. It just makes you sweat watching it. Newman offers an incredibly smooth performance here and Woodward shows that she his equal with her portrayal of Clara. Franciosa is a bit outmatched by these two and Remick is pretty much window dressing in the role of the town flirt. Welles comes off well in a role that calls for him to be pompous, forceful and caring at the same time.

The movie is enjoyable to watch, one that somewhere along the line I’ve missed but was glad to finally get around to. Twilight Time has done their usual amazing job of offering this in a beautiful presentation in 1080p hi def. Extras include an isolated music track, HOLLYWOOD BACKSTORIES: THE LONG HOT SUMMER featurette on the making of the film, a Fox Movietone newsreel and the original theatrical trailer. As with all of their titles this one is limited to just 3,000 copies so if interested order one today.

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