Sunday, August 2, 2015
Don Johnson in The Long Hot Summer (1985)
I have written before that when I was growing up in the 80's, I couldn't stand Don Johnson. I mostly knew him from Miami Vice and when I was a kid I just found him old and a bit cocky. That changed when I too got a bit older. Over the last 10 years, I have gone back and watched some of Johnson's performances, especially his work in the 70's. My feelings certainly changed. Don Johnson, although I didn't see it when I was younger, had a sexual magnetism that although I tried, I could not completely escape from.
I vaguely remember the promotional campaign for 1985's television mini-series remake of A Long hot Summer. Although they were not connected as lovers on screen, given her notoriety, it was Cybil Shepherd (as Eula, the Lee Remick role) you would have thought was paired romatintically with Johnson in the film. Johnson's romantic rival was actually played by Judith Ivey, and actress mostly known at the time for her work on Broadway.
The 1985 mini series was actually not the first remake of the 1958 film, there was also a short lived 1965 television series featuring Roy Thinnes in the role of Ben Quick. I am not really a fan of remakes, but I had to check out the 1985 version after seeing the original. The complete film is on Youtube and worth a look if you're a fan of the original.
The cast certainly does not hold up to the original (especially Angela Lansbury and Orson Welles) but Shepherd, William Russ and especially Ivey are good in their roles and Johnson is hot as ever, and shirtless and sweaty enough, to make it worth the investment. His unbuttoned jeans also seem pretty scandalous for the 80's. It is interesting at a time when females were so sexualized on prime time television that a project would be so open about focusing on the sex appeal of it's male star. Although not uncommon today, it was still not the norm on prime time in the 80's.
Too Hot to Sleep Inside...