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Plot, Details & Awards

Summer and Smoke

Not Yet Rated 118min.
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Plot & Details

Tennessee Williams' Broadway play Summer and Smoke (expanded from his one-act piece Eccentricities of a Nightingale) was brought to the screen by adaptors James Poe and Meade Roberts and director Peter Glenville. Geraldine Page repeats her stage role as minister's daughter Alma Winemiller, who lives a spinsterish existence in her WWI-era Mississippi home town. Though her hateful mother (Una Merkel) has nothing but nasty things to say about men, Alma carries a torch for her handsome next-door neighbor and lifelong friend, Dr. John Buchanan (Laurence Harvey). The doctor prefers the companionship of Rosa (Rita Moreno), a "wrong side of the tracks" girl who is as open and freewheeling as Alma is shy and repressed. Desperate for Buchanan's attention, Alma begins behaving with uncharacteristic affection towards him. He misreads her signals and attempts to seduce her. Already on the edge, Alma goes ballistic, literally running out of Buchanan's life. When the doctor throws an engagement party for himself and Rosa, the neurotic Alma tells Buchanan's father (John McIntire) that a wantonly immoral get-together is taking place in the doctor's home--an act of vengeance that has long-range tragic consequences. By film's end, the previously strait-laced Alma, unhinged by previous events, has become as misguidedly passionate as her spiritual sister, A Streetcar Named Desire's Blanche DuBois. Summer and Smoke earned Academy Award nominations for both Geraldine Page and Una Merkel; while Merkel would never win an Oscar, Ms. Page finally collected her statuette for 1985's A Trip to Bountiful.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Color Art Direction Sam Comer Nominated
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Color Art Direction Walter Tyler Nominated
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Color Art Direction Hal Pereira Nominated
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Drama or Comedy Score Elmer Bernstein Nominated
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actress Una Merkel Nominated
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Color Art Direction Arthur Krams Nominated
1961 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actress Geraldine Page Nominated

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1961 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Geraldine Page Won
1961 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Original Score Elmer Bernstein Nominated

Directors Guild of America

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1961 Directors Guild of America Best Director Peter Glenville Nominated

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1961 National Board of Review Best Actress Geraldine Page Won
1961 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated

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