Summer and Smoke

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Peter Glenville
Production: Paramount Pictures
  Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations.
118 min


Woo! Woo!

Ha ha ha ha!

What'll we do now, Johnny?

Let's go over to the cemetery.

No. That's too scary.

Let's tip over

Mr. Roberts' outhouse.

Can't no more.

He's got it nailed down.

Oh, hello, Alma.

Let's go to Mrs. Schmidt's.

She always gives

apples on Halloween.

Can we ask Alma?

That priss? She's no fun.

You go on. I'll see you later.

She's got a crush

on you, Johnny.


Hello, preacher's daughter.

I've been looking for you.

You have?

Why'd you put them

handkerchiefs on my desk?

You have a bad cold.

Your nose has been running.

Then don't look at me.

I like to look at you.

I don't want them.

Do you know the name

of the angel?

What name?

Eternity. It's carved

there under the water.

Doesn't it give you

the cold shivers?


Well, it did me.

Because you're

the preacher's daughter.

Eternity? What does it mean?

It's something

that goes on and on.

When life and death

and everything else.

Is all through with.

Aw, there's no such thing.

Oh, but there is.

It's what people's souls live in.

When they leave their bodies.

My name is Alma.

Alma is Spanish for soul.

Did you know that?

My dad's got a chart

of the human body.

In his office.

It shows everything,

all your insides.

He wants me to become

a doctor like him.

I think that's wonderful.

Give me one of

them handkerchiefs.

Is my face clean enough now?

Yes. Beautiful.


I said beautiful.

Well, let's kiss each other.

Come on. Let's just try it.

Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

Mother, are you ready?

[Giggle] [knock on door]

Oh, Mother. It's evening.

You know you won't

be needing your parasol.

I'm terribly nervous.

Please be good tonight.

If I can't have

my parasol, I won't go.

That's that, and final.

Alma, will you hurry?

All right, you can

bring your parasol,

Only don't do

anything tonight, please.

We'll have to go without her.

I could do nothing

with her all day.

I wish I didn't have to go.

It's a civic duty you've

performed many times.

Singing in public terrifies me.

We should have left

10 minutes ago.

Da da da da

Da da da da da da da

Mother, please.

Punctuality is the

politeness of princes.

We're missing the skyrockets.

Tardiness is a discourtesy.

Did you answer

the missionary's letter?

I answered

the missionary's letter.

Father, please don't.

I am really terribly nervous.

I heard you practice today...

[Music playing]

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

Miss Alma Winemiller,

the Nightingale of the Delta,

Singing la Golondrina.

Where now so swiftly flies

The timid swallow

What distant region

Seeks her tireless wing

To reach it safe.

[Engine chugging]

What guidance

does she follow?

When darkness hides...

Look who's back.

Bright as a silver dollar.

Hi, Dusty, Pearl.

How'd you do

in the floating crap game?

Floated with it

to Vicksburg, then sank.

You should have been home.

From medical school

weeks ago, Johnny.

I took the long, sweet route,

Baltimore to Memphis,

Vicksburg to New Orleans.

You ain't changed.

Why, neither has anything else.

Miss Alma still

singing la Golondrina.

You home for good, Johnny?

For good? If I know Johnny,

He's back here for bad.

I'll stay a while

before I make up my mind.

See you.

...And well I know

'Tis sad


From home


My heart is beating so,

It seemed to be in my throat.

While I was singing.

Was it noticeable, Father?

You sang extremely well, Alma.

The words flew out of

my mind, blind panic.

Where's the ice cream man?

There isn't any ice cream man.

On the way home,

Mr. Doremus and I.

Will stop by the drugstore.

I promised to meet Roger

by the angel fountain.

Yes, well, we'll just

run along now.

Come on, Mother. Come on.

Evening, Mrs. Winemiller.


Strawberry, Alma.

Chocolate and strawberry mixed.

Oh, yes, yes.

Chocolate and vanilla.

Not vanilla!

Chocolate and strawberry!

Mother, you're

attracting attention.

Come on. Come on.

Miss Alma.

I do declare. I thought

you were dead, sir.

Now, Miss Alma,

I know you saw me.

Why are you running away?

I'm most definitely

not running away.

I have a rendezvous to keep.

Sounds intriguing. Who with?

Roger Doremus.

Uh-huh. I, uh, liked your solo.

I'm so glad that you approve.

I'd really begun to think

you'd forgotten me.

Oh, I could never do that.

I promised to write.

And keep you abreast

of events here at home.

I did. You never answered.

I was busy.

Are you home for the summer?


Summer isn't

the pleasantest time.

To renew an acquaintance

with Glorious Hill.

The gulf wind

has failed us this year,

Disappointed us

dreadfully this summer.

Are you planning

to stay here and take over.

Some of your father's

medical practice?

I haven't made up my mind.

Well, your father tells me.

You've finished your

studies in bacteriology.


Isn't that something

you do with a microscope?

Well, partly.

To be a doctor.

Oh, my.

And deal with those mysteries.

I think it's almost religious.

I didn't know you were awed.

By the medical profession.

I'm your father's

greatest admirer,

As well as his patient.

It's comforting to know

he's right next door.

Why? Do you have fits?

Fits? Oh, no.

But sometimes I do feel...


Yes. And he reassures you.


Ah, but only temporarily.

I suspect you need more

than temporary reassurance.

Shall I tell you frankly?

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James Poe

James Poe (October 4, 1921 – January 24, 1980) was an American film and television screenwriter. He is best known for his work on the movies Around the World in 80 Days for which he jointly won an Academy Award in 1956, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Summer and Smoke, Lilies of the Field, and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?. He also worked as a writer on the radio shows Escape and Suspense, writing the scripts for some of their best episodes, most notably "Three Skeleton Key" and "The Present Tense", both of which starred Vincent Price. Poe was married to actress Barbara Steele from 1969 to 1978. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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