Hot Spell (film)

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Hot Spell
Hot Spell (film poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDaniel Mann
George Cukor (uncredited)
Screenplay byJames Poe
Based onNext of Kin
by Lonnie Coleman (unproduced, based upon his novel of the same title)[1]
Produced byHal B. Wallis
CinematographyLoyal Griggs
Edited byWarren Low
Music byAlex North
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
June 1958
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

Hot Spell is a 1958 American drama film directed by Daniel Mann, starring Shirley Booth and Anthony Quinn, and released by Paramount Pictures.[2]


Alma Duval is a Louisiana housewife planning a 45th birthday celebration for her husband John Henry, known to all as Jack, who is carrying on with a much younger woman named Ruby behind her back. Her adult children try to tell her this but she refuses to face reality and denies their claims.

During the birthday dinner, Jack picks an argument with eldest son, Buddy, mocking him about his business ideas and daring him to show some backbone. No one touches the birthday cake Alma made. After the dinner breaks up, he takes teenaged son Billy out to play pool and drink beer, trying to demonstrate to him how a man ought to behave. Jack confides in Billy that he is not content with his life and makes Billy cry. Jack tells Billy to stop crying and to act like a man.

Later in the evening, Alma shares some of the cake with her neighbor, Fan, while Fan tries to convince her to take up smoking and casual drinking to impress Jack.

While her father dallies with Ruby, his 19-year-old mistress, Virginia Duval becomes lovers for the first time with boyfriend Wyatt, a medical student, who then says he cannot marry her because he needs to be with someone of greater position and wealth.

Throughout the movie, Alma has been holding onto a belief that if she can move the family back to New Paris where she and Jack started out, everything will be all right. But Jack refuses to return to New Paris after admitting he never truly loved her. Alma slaps Jack after discovering his affair. He decides to leave her and move to Florida, but while enroute Ruby forces him to drive the car too quickly. As it crashes into construction signs Jack yells Alma's name and he and Ruby are promptly killed in the crash.

Alma and her children return to New Paris to bury Jack and she realizes that people and places have changed and there is no happiness to be found there anymore. The family goes home, with Alma still denying reality by deciding to travel to Florida, stating it will bring her happiness as it is the "land of eternal sunshine".



The screenplay for Hot Spell was developed from an unproduced play by Lonnie Coleman, Next of Kin, purchased by producer Hal Wallis in June 1956.[3] Production occurred from January 23 to early March 1957, with filming in Pasadena and Chatsworth, California.[4]


Hot Spell had its premiere in New Orleans on May 21, 1958, and went into wide release in June.[4]

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times gave it a moderately good review, singling out Booth, Quinn, and MacLaine for their portrayals.[5]

In pop culture[edit]

During the 2010 film Valentine's Day, Estelle and Edgar Paddington (played by MacLaine and Héctor Elizondo) reunite at a showing of Hot Spell at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Edgar points to MacLaine on the screen and tells Jason Morris (played by Topher Grace), "that's my trifecta".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goble, Alan (1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. p. 802. ISBN 978-3-11-095194-3.
  2. ^ "Hot Spell (1958) – Overview". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  3. ^ "Hot Spell (1958) – Notes". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  4. ^ a b "Hot Spell (1958) – Original print infofmation". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosley (September 15, 1958). "'Hot Spell'; Film at Guild Deals with Marital Rift". Movies. New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-12.

External links[edit]