Reviewed byimdkeVote: 8/10/10
There are several films from the '40's to the '60's that I prefer toexperience, rather than jump into Pauline Kael's skin. Let hersuccessors dissect and occasionally say something of pith.
George Herbert said, "Time is the rider that breaks youth."
All the principal characters in this sad tale are broken. In theirdissipation and aimless, joyless pursuits, they didn't stand for muchof anything. It has been said that the cast was just too old for theseroles. But they looked perfect for their roles, a group of people whowere caught in a tepid tide pool, waiting to be washed out to sea. Theywere all tarnished goods.
I was especially impressed by Errol Flynn's performance. Of all ofthem, he was the most pitiful. Remember the song, "Tired of living andscared of dying?" That's him-a far cry from Captain Peter Blood.
Next is Robert Cohn (Mel Ferrer). He was a rich aimless child, eager tofasten himself to others, like a limpet. College had done nothing forhim, except to make him an even greater useless snob. Then Lady Bretttransformed him into a swine before casting him aside, because 'shecouldn't stand his damned suffering.' After a crushing defeat at thehands of Brett and her bullfighter, he wisely headed home to Frances,if she would still have him.
Now we come to Jake and Lady Brett Ashley. These two truly loved oneanother, but in a very unhealthy way. She lost a husband to the GreatWar and never recovered. He gave "more then his life" to the war. Hisimpotence was probably not the real reason Brett would not marry him,nor he, her. Damaged goods.
This film is excellent. Important, as is the book, emotional Tours DeForce. Hemmingway is incredible.
Reviewed byScott TunnicliffVote: 8/10/10
This was made in 1957, when Ty Power was 43, and getting a bit dull andpaunchy. The whole cast was a mite ripe for the film. If the same cast hadmade it ten years earlier, it would have been a real treat.
Problem is, in 1947, none of that cast had put themselves through enoughagony to convey the world-weariness of Hemingway's 20-something crew. Powerwas still a one dimensional pretty boy, although morphing into a real actorwith films like Razor's Edge and Nightmare Alley; Ava Gardner was a slickchick on the MGM lot who had been married to Mickey Rooney, but otherwisedidn't have a lot of movie experience. Errol Flynn was deterioratingnoticeably, but hadn't acquired the self-knowledge he demonstrated in TheSun Also Rises.
If the Cast of '57 could have conveyed their panache in '47, it might haveworked really well. As it is, only Flynn really rises to the occasion.Ironically, he steals the film in a distinctly supporting role. He is theonly one who captures the tragedy of a misspent life - the others just seemcranky and self indulgent.
Reviewed byblanche-2Vote: 7/10/10
This is a depressing movie on several levels, the first being theactual story, about the "Lost Generation" after World War I hanging outin Europe and being drunk and/or unhappy and disillusioned. For me it'sone of those movies to watch when you really want to dwell on life'smisery and wax philosophical and feel like there's something romanticabout disenchantment.
The second depressing thing is the casting, which is a major problem.Tyrone Power had been the most important star at 20th Century Fox formany years - in fact, when he became a star in the late 1930s, eachfilm he made was a bigger hit than the one before. He literally keptthe studio solvent. He was cast in this film at the age of 42 which wasnear the end of his life. He and the rest of the actors are all tooold. I suppose to have made it with younger actors would have made itless of a big movie, but in fact, people like Jeffrey Hunter, RobertWagner (both Fox actors) and Natalie Wood were closer to the right age.But you can see how that would have made it seem a lighter film.
In Power's case, I have read several comments here about how bad helooked. Were he alive, I'm sure he would thank you, as his fondestdesire in life was to lose his looks. As far as he was concerned, hisimpossibly beautiful appearance wrecked his acting ambitions. The funnypart of it is, in candids taken during the filming, one of which isincluded in Mai Zetterling's All Those Tomorrows (she was his thengirlfriend and on the set with him) he looks absolutely fantastic,healthy and tanned, not at all what is being described here. He alsohad all his hair for those who seemed to think he was balding. His hairwas downright luxuriant in Solomon and Sheba, the film he was makingwhen he died. In fact, in photos taken one hour before he died, helooked better than he did in "The Sun Also Rises." Go figure.Zetterling states that he reported to the set daily on 3 hours sleepand took pills to stay awake to attend social functions that he feltwere necessary. He told Zetterling that he was pretty impressed withhow bad Errol Flynn looked. Apparently he was envious. Zetterling feltonce filming started that he looked exhausted and haggard, but hedidn't seem to care. Frankly, I thought he looked fine, particularly inthe beginning of the movie. I think you can tell the scenes where hewas running on no sleep. And as far as looking bad, what about AvaGardner? At 35, she was a mess. Someone in the comments said that withall these men chasing after Brett, people would think the war had madeeveryone's eyesight dim. That's really not so - Gardner until the dayshe died had men falling for her right and left, including the husbandof one interviewer who brought her flowers every day his wife spokewith Gardner. She was a very magnetic and sexy woman, and we can assumeBrett Ashley had the same gifts.
That all being said, the ages are wrong but the acting is right, evenif it comes not from disillusioned youth but disillusioned middle age.This is particularly true of Power as the impotent Jake Barnes andGardner as Lady Ashley. I would think as far as the emotions, the roleswere very close to their own lives at that point. Power felt he hadachieved nothing; he was supporting wives he no longer loved who livedin houses he paid for and would never enter, and he was only proud of afew films. In the last years of his film-making, Tyrone Power turned insome wonderful performances in this movie, Abandon Ship, and Witnessfor the Prosecution. A shame he wasn't able to continue and do thesorts of roles he wanted.
Gardner's activities are well documented. She drank all night and sleptall day and bullfighters were her thing, though "my man Frank" as shecalled him was always in the background.
Flynn and Eddie Albert are terrific - the dissipation was starting topay off well for Errol Flynn, but unfortunately he wouldn't live longenough to make much money from it. These two had the showiest roles -in fact, in a somewhat lifeless film, they lifted it up. Mel Ferrer'scharacter wasn't sufficiently fleshed out to tell if he was doing agood job or not.
If you can put the ages aside, this is a good, not very good, and notgreat film - but great as far as production values and acting.Hemingway is very difficult to put on screen, as we all know fromsitting through films based on his books and stories.
A final note: For those who didn't like Power's performance, considerJake's wild enthusiasm over the bullfights. While Power was makingBlood & Sand, he actually had to attend a bullfight. Of course, a greatdeal was made of him and he was sitting with his wife, Annabella, downfront and center. Unfortunately he became violently ill over the wholething. In order to leave with some dignity, Annabella said she was sickso they could get out of there. So give the man some credit - Jake suredid look like he was enjoying himself.
Paris in the 1920s. The American journalist Jake and his friends spend the time at cafés. He has a special interest in his ex-fiancée Lady Ashley. They take a vacation in Pamplona to watch the bull-fights.