No one does sweaty and sweltering like Paul Newman. The future Hud and Cool Hand Luke star was at his smoldering, insolent youthful peak in this William Faulkner adaptation that paired him with real-life wife Joanne Woodward for the first time. He’s a possibly dangerous drifter in a Southern town who ingratiates himself with a local mogul (Orson Welles, sweating even more profusely than Newman, and not in an attractive way) and his eligible daughter (Woodward).
Arriving in theaters a few months before Newman’s hot-tempered performance in the similar Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (indeed, Welles seems to be anticipating Burl Ives’ Big Daddy from that film), Summer can seem like a pale copy of the more celebrated Tennessee Williams adaptation. Still, from the unbuttoned shirts to the burning barns, the characters and the very landscape seem to be ablaze with summer passion.