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Summer and Smoke (1961)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | April 1962 (Austria)
Plain, repressed spinster falls for a dashing young medical student, but he prefers the wilder life, until it's too late.


Peter Glenville


Tennessee Williams (play), James Poe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Laurence Harvey ... John Buchanan, Jr
Geraldine Page ... Alma Winemiller
Rita Moreno ... Rosa Zacharias
Una Merkel ... Mrs. Winemiller
John McIntire ... Dr. Buchanan
Thomas Gomez ... Papa Zacharias
Pamela Tiffin ... Nellie Ewell
Malcolm Atterbury ... Rev. Winemiller
Lee Patrick ... Mrs. Ewell
Max Showalter ... Roger Doremus (as Casey Adams)
Earl Holliman ... Archie Kramer


Since childhood, spinster Alma Winemiller has loved handsome young Dr. John Buchanan, Jr.. But John has fallen hard for Rosa Zacharias, the town's sultry vamp, and descends into a seamy nightlife while ignoring Alma's dreams of romance and possible marriage. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TENNESSEE WILLIAMS wrote it in the convention-shattering tradition of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Suddenly Last Summer"! Hal Wallis has brought it to the screen with all the power of its realism intact! See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Hal Wallis Productions bought the film rights to the play in 1952, shortly before its Off-Broadway revival, for $100,000. See more »


John Buchanan, Jr: At the moment, I'm a doctor on leave. On leave from ice packs, quinine and bedpans.
See more »


Featured in Cinema: Alguns Cortes - Censura III (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Nothing Like A Little Responsibility
11 December 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

As compared to other Tennessee Williams works like The Glass Menagerie and Streetcar Named Desire, Summer And Smoke is distinctly second rate. But second rate Tennessee Williams is better than a lot of first rate work from most and a really good cast puts this one over.

A cast dominated by Geraldine Page who plays a woman who is carrying a Statue of Liberty torch since childhood for the kid next door who grew up to be Lawrence Harvey. At first glance these two seemed ideally suited for each other, her the daughter of minister Malcolm Atterbury, him the son of town doctor John McIntire. But both have some issues, her's the kind that Tennessee Williams is known for being frank about in his work, him an inability to settle down. As the film opens Harvey has returned to their southern town after medical school a newly minted doctor. But he's got enough seeds for a field of wild oats and he just wants to have a good old time. Page won't give him that.

But when you've got a raging libido like Harvey has, the only kind of girl you want to quench it is Rita Moreno. 1961 was Rita's year to be naughty, she won her Oscar playing gang girl Anita in West Side Story. Had that film not been out, more attention might have been paid to what she did in Summer And Smoke.

As Page is frigid and won't give up a little to land Harvey she resorts to a bit of trickery to break up Harvey and Moreno which ends in tragedy for one of the cast. Ironically both Harvey and Page modify their behaviors, but there's too much that now makes them incompatible. In fact Page at the end is showing hints of becoming a lot like Tennessee Williams's other great character Blanche Dubois.

Four Oscar nominations went out to Paramount for Summer And Smoke, Best Actress for Geraldine Page, Best Supporting Actress for Una Merkel, Best Art&Set Decoration and Best Musical Score. Sadly it did not bring home a statue and poor Una Merkel her portrayal of Page's kleptomaniac mother lost to Rita Moreno for West Side Story.

Summer And Smoke is a base hit for Tennessee Williams, but not a home run. Still devotees of the man and others should enjoy this film.

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Release Date:

April 1962 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Summer and Smoke See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Wallis Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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