The Long, Hot Summer

Director: Martin Ritt
Year Released: 1958
Rating: 2.0

Cocksure Ben Quick (Paul Newman) gets kicked out his old town for starting barn fires, so he decides to travel to another town, get in the good graces of the wealthiest guy there (Orson Welles) and seduce the wealthy man's daughter (Joanne Woodward). The material comes from several stories by William Faulkner but the spirit isn't quite Faulkner: it's really trying to emulate the work of William Inge (Picnic) and Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) but it just doesn't fully 'get there' - Welles' character is blustery and obnoxious (he allows himself free-reign to chew not just his cigar but the Southern countryside itself) and straight out of Williams, while Newman's character is essentially Hal Carter from Picnic. Somehow, all of this leads to a conveniently happy ending, which turns Welles' pudgy frown upside down. Nope, sorry, not buying it.