Anything can happen in the heat of the moment…even murder…in this steamy romantic drama starring Lori Singer (Footloose, The Falcon and the Snowman), Anthony Edwards (Gotcha!, Miracle Mile) and Bruce Abbott (Re-Animator, Bad Dreams). The year: 1937. The place: North Carolina’s tobacco country. Lovely 21-year-old Roxy (Singer), isolated on an impoverished farm far from town, minds the baby, minds her husband (Edwards)…and tries not to mind the loneliness. Then one hot summer day a good-looking drifter (Abbott) shows up and sparks in Roxy a passion she’d never known. Who could have known a desire so sweet would lead to murder? With fine supporting turns by Kathy Bates (Misery, Titanic) and Clu Gulager (A Force of One, The Return of the Living Dead), Summer Heat is an intimate, noir-tinged love story with a gorgeously detailed Depression-era backdrop.
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Summer Heat makes its Blu-Ray debut courtesy of Kino Classics with a digital AVC encoded 1080p transfer in its original aspect ratio which looks pretty nice. While this is not noted as being from a new 2K scan, the image holds up well throughout leading us to believe it was remastered at some point. Long shots can present as a bit soft, but the bright rural colors of the countryside are well saturated with vegetation especially vibrant. Skin tones are natural with fine details easily noticeable in closeup such as sweat from working in the field.
The presentation does not throw many curveballs with image stability and delineation being agreeable. This transfer retains the natural film grain of the presentation, but there are instances when the grain can swarm or be a bit clumpy. Black levels are passable, but they could stand to be deeper as they exhibit some crush. Print damage such as nicks and scratches is not an uncommon occurrence, but clarity and detail holds up all the same. While a brand new master could have freshened things up, most audiences will be pleased with the results.
This new Blu-Ray comes with a lossless DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio mix that features the soundscape of the film quite capably. One of the standouts of the track is the environmental effects which are distinguished nicely within the story. This includes the sounds of insects and the murmuring in the courtroom. The track does not feature much in the way of age related wear and tear or distortion. The dialogue holds up admirably, coming through clearly without being smothered by the music or sound effects. The score maintains its fidelity as it avoids showing signs of age. All of the sounds are presented with great clarity as they come through the room. Kino Classics has delivered something really good here. Optional English subtitles are provided on this disc.
- Radio Spot: A 34-second radio spot is provided here.
- Trailers: There is a two-minute trailer for Summer Heat provided here. There are also trailers provided for Raggedy Man, Fool For Love, Masquerade (1988), Bright Angel, The Hot Spot and Miracle Mile.
Summer Heat is not a high-water mark of sensuous southern melodrama, but it provides a reasonably engaging time filled with lust and heightened emotions. The story beats seem familiar even if certain specifics are adjusted ever so slightly. Where the film succeeds a bit more is in the performances, especially the breathless turn from Lori Singer. The film ends more with a whimper rather than a bang, but those in the mood for a fairly well done doomed romance should enjoy this enough to justify the time invested. Kino Classics has released a Blu-Ray featuring a strong A/V presentation but next to nothing in the way of special features. If you are a fan of the talent involved or think the premise is promising, check it out.
Summer Heat is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Kino Classics has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.