Yesterday our pal Larry Michie discussed Gary Cooper in the first film version of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.
Today, Larry further muses on Hemingway novels to screen.
In 1957 came a film version of Hemingway’s first novel, a classic that enraptured millions of readers and defined what came to be known as ‘The Lost Generation.’
Unfortunately, on the big screen, The Sun Also Rises seemed to set before rising despite a glittering cast that included Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer and Errol Flynn, Eddie Albert and Juliette Greco. Also on hand was a young Bob Evans as a matador. (Yes, THAT Bob Evans, Darryl Zanuck’s “ the kid stays in the picture” protégé).
But fugetaboutit. Floppsville.
The Sun Also Rises was revived in a 1984 made-for-tv creation starring Jane Seymour, Robert Carradine, Leonard Nimoy, Stephane Audran.
Decades earlier there was 1952’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro. The casting sounds perfect – Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Hildegard Neff and Leo G. Carroll. The film simply didn’t work – no chemistry, nothing to grab the audience.
1958 finally brought a winner: The Old Man and the Sea, directed by John Sturges. Its success was attributed to the popularity of the solo star, Spencer Tracy. There was a 1999 remake with Anthony Quinn doing the solo turn. There was even a Japanese cartoon version.
So, alright already, the Hemingway movies are mostly terrible. But don’t give up. You might consider reading/re-reading the novels. There are reasons why Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature.