September 16, 2011

The Long Hot Summer (1958)


The Long Hot Summer was inspired by the short stories of William Faulkner, namely The Hamlet. Paul Newman stars as down-and-out wanderer Ben Quick with a contentious reputation as a fire-starter who chances upon two lovely young women, Clara Varner (Joanne Woodward) and her sister-in-law Eula (Lee Remick), and hitches a ride with them into the next town where he was hoping to find some work. It turns out that Clara's father Will Varner (Orson Welles) just happens to be the wealthiest man in that town and owns practically all the businesses in it. Ben manages to get in his good graces and ends up working on his plantation, much to the distrust of the shrewd Clara who is wary of strangers and suspects that Ben possesses ulterior motives. Inevitably, a tense romance blossoms between the devastatingly attractive stranger with a questionable past and the straight-laced Miss Goody-two-shoes. Oh, and Angela Lansbury is in this! As Will Varner's mistress! Marvelous.

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Why, hello, handsome stranger! Need a ride?

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Seriously, how can a girl be expected to resist THIS:

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Oh yeah...AND THIS! ::fans self::

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Orson Welles as Will Warner, the richest man in town. My girlfriends think I'm crazy but I have always maintained a crush on Orson Welles, even fat old Orson. I don't know, there's just something about him - that sort of larger-than-life personality and that creative genius - that really endears him to me.

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Will Varner takes a chance on Ben Quick and hires him to work on his plantation.

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"I could get used to this!"

Just sitting around, drinking lemonade and talkin' about men.

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Nice wide collar on Joanne Woodward's blue-and-green floral dress.
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Lovely soft pink dress with a boat-neck collar and large pink fabric buttons.
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I like the pink ribbon wrapped around her hair bun. Very girly and innocent. 
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Beige checked dress with a wide sailor collar. 
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It doesn't take long before the charismatic Ben Quick beings to rattle the nerves of straight-laced schoolteacher Clara.

Loving the cat-eye glasses and the schoolmarm attire.
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She visits him at night, just as the store is about to close...

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Such a beautiful green colour! And so perfectly matched with the gold buttons and her blond hair.
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Oh, who to choose? Take a chance on the devastatingly handsome but dubious stranger or play it safe?

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Very classy and elegant black velvet cocktail dress. 
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Not sure why they put her in a tweed skirt and gloves....this is looking a bit African safari for the Deep South.
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This is my favorite dress in the whole film. 
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Love the powder blue sheer chiffon over the white bustier underneath. And such exquisite detail on the white lace trim!
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And the back! Everything about this dress is perfect.
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Lee Remick's character had on some lovely outfits too.

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It's not very visible in this screencap but there is a second layer to the top of this sunflower dress that's in the same fabric but sheer. Gorgeous.
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Pink halter dress.
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Interesting back construction.
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Oh and we mustn't leave out Angela Lansbury's sassy character (and her fabulous outfits).

This first white sundress with the small floral pattern and the silk green trim reminds me a bit of Scarlett O'Hara's green and white picnic dress in the opening scenes of Gone with the Wind.
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I think Lansbury's character's dress is a great example of how you can modify the frilliness of Scarlet's dress into something actually wearable.
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The collar on this pink dress is lovely. I think there's a term for this type of collar design but I forget...
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Since all we did was focus on the clothes in the movie, it would only be proper for us to note that the Costume Design was under the direction of Adele Palmer and Art Direction under Maurice Ransford and Lyle R. Wheeler. Adele Palmer was part of the in-house staff at Republic Pictures, a smaller production company that operated from 1934 through 1959 and was best known for its Westerns, movie serials, and B-films. The studio was also responsible for financing one Shakespeare film, Orson WellesMacbeth (1948), and several of the films of John Ford during the 1940s and early 1950s, and for developing the careers and star-status of John WayneGene Autry and Roy Rogers.While The Long Hot Summer was distributed by 20th Century Fox, I did not know that it was produced in part with Republic Pictures and it was only researching Adele Palmer did I chance upon the history of the latter studio. Learning things every day!

8 comments:

I enjoyed your post on this wonderful movie and the great fashions. Just delightful.

Love the speech Woodward's character delivers about all the skills she's been developing to lavish on the man she loves.

A hot movie in more ways than one.

Welcome back!

LOVE this movie! I wanted to rewatch it, but Netflix just pulled it from their Instant streaming collection.

I love that same speech that Anonymous mentioned, too - about how she'll be the Queen of Shiba for her man. But Paul's speech to her is equally great. Is this the movie where Paul and Joanne fell in love while working on?

Wonderful to see a post from you!

Woodward and Newman had met in 1953, but reconnected during the filming of "The Long Hot Summer" (1957). According to wikipedia, she and Gore Vidal faked an engagement in order to grab the attention of Paul Newman. Guess it worked, they were married in Vegas in 1958.

I watched this online, so I didn't get the behind-the-scenes dope.

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