Friday, March 4, 2011
The Long, Hot Summer
We all agree that Paul Newman was one of the two most breathtakingly gorgeous men to ever walk the earth, yes? Good. The other, for those of you not in the know, was Gregory Peck. See "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Cape Fear," and "Roman Holiday" to prove it.
The set of The Long, Hot Summer is where Mr Newman met his second wife, Joanne Woodward. They went on to become one of Hollywood's longest-lasting couples, only parting when he very sadly died in 2008. So big cheers to this movie for creating big love.
The Netflix blurb for the film said "smoldering," "farmhand," and "Paul Newman," so I was a fan from the get-go. It is a mashing together of a couple of Faulkner tales, made into one pretty glorious movie. We have the glistening mansion in a tiny town in the sweltering South. We have Newman as a traveling man with a dangerous past, and Woodward as the long-suffering, unmarried daughter of her power-drunk, raging father, played by a Mr. Orson Welles, ooh la la.
Ben Quick, Newman's character, has been run out of his previous town, for reasons that will come back during the course of the film. He rangles a job at the Vernon farm, handily belonging to Mr Vernon, natch, who also owns most of the towns' businesses. There is a jealous son, a dizzy young wife, a comic relief love interest (Angela Lansbury, not 90), and the serious daughter, Clara, who rebuffs Quick's advances like has a disease.
As in all (most?) movies set in the rural South, the scenery is a character in and of itself. Huge white houses, glass porch tables laden with lemonade and iced tea, and Main Street, strewn with men in worker gear, downing beers to stay cool. It is a little bit beautiful.