Long, Hot Summer [1958]

Paul Newman has his glorious youthful swagger in this southern-fried melodrama, which marked his first picture with Joanne Woodward (they married after shooting ended). The script is a melange of William Faulkner stories, although it appears more under the influence of Tennessee Williams and Picnic than the Nobel Prize winner. Drifter Newman catches the eye of schoolmarm Woodward and her father, a rural Mississippi bigshot (Orson Welles). This is not one of Welles's better moments; he appears to be conducting make-up experiments. There is some enjoyable flapdoodle along the way, in the Freud-meets-Gone with the Wind manner of '50s southern cooking, but the ending is embarrassingly compromised. The same production team would leave out the box-office concessions a few years later on Hud. A studly Newman justifies this description of his character: "I wish I was Ben Quick. He's got the whole state of Mississippi to graze on." --Robert Horton

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