Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Movies in the heat: 6 films shot in the sweltering sun

Taylor Falgout
Photo illustration by

One of the great challenges of filmmaking is to tell a specific, universal experience through crafted scenarios and situations. Blistering, sweat-inducing heat will continue to span across all of humanity. It is something touched on in film, but a concept altogether underutilized. To feel the sun is one of the most universal things there is.

New Orleans does heat like no other. Even the most sun-obsessed lizard-people can grow a little tired of the constant barrage of UV she so generously bestows. The air is only just starting to promise some relief from the blistering summer highs. We are in the midst of Fall, October’s effect is in full swing. Give it a week and we’ll be nipped by a brisk wind on the way out of the door. In the spirit of changing seasons, there is no better time to romanticize and reminisce on what we’re leaving behind.

Not a soul in New Orleans is going to be missing the heat wave per say, but for whenever the cold catches up, this list will glow red to keep you warm.

Director: Sidney Lumet

There is nothing cooler than heat made so manifest and so apparent, that it can go unmentioned, told merely through visual trademark. In this high-risk hostage stakeout from 1975, you can literally feel the heat. When utilities are cut off, and people start stripping, stressing, sweating, and sprawling, the story seems to stop. Everybody knows they are in an unsustainable situation, but nobody wants to grasp the stakes enough to do anything about it. The length this film was drawn to reflects the lethargy that comes with intense heat. You can physically see how anguished each character is based on the sweat falling off their faces. That is the coolest thing in the world.

You can sweat it out with Dog Day Afternoon on Vudu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, or Youtube for rent.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

The better Basic Instinct follows a lawyer’s neo-noir pursuit of his object of desire, and how blinded and compromised that pursuit gets due to her searingly beautiful facade. The 1981 movie Body Heat portrays dripping, dampened actors with their every move dipped in fatigue. Lawrence Kasdan swamps his strong-willed characters, and their passionate decision-making with claustrophobic, unrelenting heat that mirrors their attitudes and intentions. Some of the most sultry, special sex scenes stem from this movie. Get prepared to see some hot stuff.

You can feel the heat with Body Heat on Vudu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, or Youtube for rent.

Director: Joel Coen

Barton Fink, 1991, is a special one. John Turturro’s Fink latches onto the image of the only poster in his irredeemable apartment, a lady who sits on the sand of a beach, blocking the sun caught in her eyes. The recurring visual demonstrates life in the Hollywood sun, and all the shining problems that come with it. The heat coming off this film is that of overwhelming pressure. The sweaty, star-studded cast does an excellent job of making this as stressful an experience as ever, with a fiery culmination and firsthand look at Coen’s interpretation of Hell.

You can walk away from Barton Fink on Vudu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, or Youtube with a sick little sunburn.

Director: Sidney Lumet

The sun rises and sets on the 1957 flick 12 Angry Men, another Sidney Lumet entry. 12 jurors find themselves in a small room together for the entirety of the picture. To debate condemning a teenager to death is a heavy task, and these 12 men sweat out their opinions and grievances, inspiring empathy and exploring reasonable doubt. It is bound to get hot in such a space, but heat not only acts as a mere element of the plot, but as the ticking time bomb emphasizing the gravity of the decision they all have to make.

12 Angry Men is burned onto Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, Paramount Plus with Apple TV channel, and Tubi for rent.

Director: Akira Kurosawa

The opening shot is a panting dog on the side of the street. The heat had cascaded into even the smallest creatures of the smallest corners. Limiting this list to one work of Akira Kurosawa’s is near-impossible. He is a master at giving personified meaning to the external forces at play in his stories. Rashomon, High and Low, and Seven Samurai could all very well qualify as films where heat is a central player. Kurosawa shapes with the shadows of the sun. He gives dance to the hot wind blowing through the blinds. In his 1949 Stray Dog, he does no less than color his beautiful black and white crime story with the heat that engulfs it.
Stray Dog is now on Tubi, Flex, and calls the Criterion Channel home.

Director: Spike Lee

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is hot. Molten hot. It oozes from every scene. It lights metal ablaze. It spares nobody the honor of sweat. The Brooklyn heat wave that suffocates the featured neighborhood is a motif of the racial tensions simmering below the surface. The film begins on the hottest day of the year, which happens to be the boiling point for everyone’s prejudice. Heat is the consistent third thing that stays present throughout the film and fuels its emotional core. Spike Lee wonderfully depicts real, working people as catalysts to change and conversation-makers in his 1989 triumph. This movie is eternal and will have you throwing the blankets off your bed.

Do the Right Thing is available to stream on the Criterion Channel, Mubi, and Amazon Prime Video for rent. Can also be found in a volcano near you!

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About the Contributors
Janssen Van De Yacht
Janssen Van De Yacht, Assistant Reviews Editor
Janssen Van De Yacht is the Assistant Reviews Editor at The Maroon. He is a third year studying digital filmmaking. Janssen is kind of like a rare bird. He hates when he has one less hand than he needs and lives in, and loves, California. He also loves cats and mountains and the smell of cigarettes and the feeling of flower petals and Hal Ashby’s “Harold and Maude.” You can contact Janssen at [email protected].
Taylor Falgout
Taylor Falgout, Creative Director of The Wolf and Chief Visual Artist
Taylor Falgout is The Maroon’s Chief Visual Artist and The Wolf’s Creative Director. She is a Sophomore majoring in graphic design. In her free time, she enjoys going to the park, listening to music, and supporting local artists. Taylor can be reached at [email protected].

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