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Hemingway Novel vs Movie


speedracer5
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I'm reading The Sun Also Rises right now.  I'm prepping for watching the movie version which I ended up getting for free during a buy 2 used get 1 used free sale.  Hey, free is free.  Anyway.  This movie stars Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer, Eddie Albert, and my beloved Errol.  This is one of Errol's last film roles, and I've been hesitant to watch it--if only for the most shallow reason of all, I've read that Errol looked worse for the wear in this film and I don't want to see him like that.  I know. I know.  However, I want to see it because I've also heard that Errol gave one of his best performances in this film, and had his vices not got the best of him, this could have been the start of a new career as a character actor for Errol.

 

I've been reading the book for a week or two now, I'm about halfway through.  Hemingway seems to have people who really hate him or really like him.  I'm not sure which camp I'm in right now.  I find his writing somewhat difficult to read.  I've heard he was a straightforward, light on the alliteration and flowery descriptive language, but in some cases, it might be a little too simplistic as I'm finding myself having to re-read passages multiple times to gasp what he's trying to say.

 

(Maybe I'm having trouble because the last two books I read prior to this were two Nancy Drew mysteries!   Nancy Drew #2: Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase and Nancy Drew #3: Nancy Drew and the Bungalow Mystery.  Reading these was a breeze! Lol).

 

The language is definitely indicative of the time (the book was published in 1926 and takes place approximately then or perhaps a few years earlier).  There was one page that will definitely not make it into the movie (at least not without a lot of editing), that had "the n-word" 15 times! I have found that knowing who is in the film version is making it easier to picture what the characters look like. 

 

Anyway.  Many of Hemingway's novels have been made into films.  Any of the films live up to the novel? Any films better than the source material?

 

I know that The Killers is based on a Hemingway short story, but I haven't read it.  From what I understand, the short story really only involves the killers at the beginning and that Ava Gardner's character was created for the film.

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Hemingway's prose is sparse. You have to read between the lines of what is written much of the time to find much of the real meaning of what the author is saying. That, in turn, is why so few of the film adaptions of his films have been particularly successful. The author himself was on record as despising Hollywood and almost every film version of any of his works.

 

The film version of The Sun Also Rises was popular with the public but not the critics (though, as you stated, Speedracer, the critics did give Flynn good reviews, and there was briefly talk of a career comeback). However, since it is a Hemingway subject dealing with a "lost generation" of young people after WWI and this cast is decidedly middle aged it reduces the poignancy of their listless lives.

 

According to Patricia Neal Hemingway told her that 1950's THE BREAKING POINT (an adaption of his novella To Have and Have Not) was his favourite film adaption of any of his works. In spite of the title change (due to the Bogart version having used it just a few years before), I would agree that it is clearly my favourite of any Hemingway adaption. In fact, I think it is an outstanding film.

 

Directed by the great Michael Curtiz, it was the second last film of John Garfield, who gives a poignant performance as a man down on his luck renting out his boat for fishing excursions. Fearful that he will not be able to support his family, he reluctantly allows himself to become involved with crooks renting his boat - with disasterous results.

 

The film is distinguished by a terrific cast of performers, including Neal (as a "party girl," a thinly disguised role as a prostitute), Phyllis Thaxter as Garfield's wife and, particularly, Juano Hernandez as his ship mate. The unspoken love that exists between Garfield and black character actor Hernandez speaks eloquently, I feel, in a most subtle manner, about racial harmony.

 

What makes this film work so well, I feel, is the emotional connection that the viewer makes with its characters, Garfield, in particular. Without revealing the specifics the film's final image, a totally unexpected crane shot, is one of the most sensitive and poignant that I have ever seen in a film. For that, I assume that director Curtiz deserves credit.

 

The Breaking Point, in fact, is scheduled to be broadcast on TCM on Patricia Neal day this month, Sunday August 16 at 12 noon (EST).

 

By the way, Speedracer, Errol Flynn doesn't look any worse in Sun Also Rises than he did in Too Much Too Soon, so you can relax about that. His characterization as Barrymore was a more sympathetic one than in the Hemingway film, however. He shows more aspects to the many sides of an alcoholic in Sun Also Rises, and, at times, his character can be a boor, as well as a clown. He can also be a lonely figure. Flynn had the courage to convincingly portray that, knowing that it wouldn't be a pretty sight. He afterward said he was just playing himself.

 

Hemingway, never an admirer of Flynn as either a man or actor, made a crack that you know a film is in trouble when Errol Flynn is the best actor in it. In fact, Hemingway made a number of disparaging comments about Flynn over the years, The two superficially knew one another, and there is a photograph in existence of them sharing a drink at a Havana bar. I have never seen a single instance in which Flynn responded to any of the author's criticisms of him with a shot of his own.

 

My favourite Hemingway writing, by the way, is a short story, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. It was eventually adapted into one of the best film treatments of his works, The Macomber Affair, starring Gregory Peck. With all the talk these days about Cecil the Lion and big game trophy hunting, however, this short story-film's subject matter would probably be a turnoff to many. Hemingway was always the incarnation of the macho big game hunter. It's an aspect to his character that I don't appreciate either, but I still like his writing of this tale.

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I differ with TomJH--I think "The Macomber Affair" (1947)  is the one instance where the filmmakers improved upon Hemingway.  It is being shown on Friday, Sept 11th, 10:00 p.m. E.S.T.  See & decide for yourself.

Well, filmlover, since Macomber Affair is one of my favourite Hemingway film adaptions, we're not in much of a disagreement. Whether it's an improvement upon the author's work I can't say since it's been a few years since I last read it.

 

The entire cast is impressive but I think that Robert Preston particularly stands out.

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Many of Hemingway's novels have been made into films.  Any of the films live up to the novel? Any films better than the source material?

 

 

 

THE BREAKING POINT with John Garfield and Patricia Neal is based on the same Hemingway novel (novella?) as TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

THE BREAKING POINT is supposedly a more a faithful adapatation of Hemingway's work.

I've never read the book, but I am looking forward to finally seeing the movie this month during Patricia Neal's Summer Under The Stars tribute. 

I always enjoy seeing the clip (Word of Mouth maybe?) that TCM aired with Patricia Neal talking about how John Garfield described her character to  her by saying "You're a wh*re, you know what I mean.  You're a wh*re."

 

I think some consider TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT to be better than the source material.

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THE BREAKING POINT with John Garfield and Patricia Neal is based on the same Hemingway novel (novella?) as TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

THE BREAKING POINT is supposedly a more a faithful adapatation of Hemingway's work.

I've never ead the book, but I am looking forward to finally seeing the movie this month during Patricia Neal's Summer Under The Stars tribute.

I always enjoy seeing the clip (Word of Mouth maybe?) that TCM aired with Patricia Neal talking bout how John Garfield described her character to her by saying "You're a wh*re, you know what I mean. You're a wh*re."

 

I think some consider TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT to be better than the source material.

and I think I mentioned this to you the last time you brought it up, but THE BREAKiNG POiNT is an excellent movie. Do not miss it.
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I always enjoy seeing the clip (Word of Mouth maybe?) that TCM aired with Patricia Neal talking bout how John Garfield described her character to her by saying "You're a wh*re, you know what I mean. You're a wh*re.".

"yes John, I know what you mean."

"really? Cuz you seem like a real classy dame. When I say w**** I mean someone who...."

"yes I know."

"For money."

"right, I got you John."

 

(I think it was from a documentary about Garfield.)

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Except for   "For Whom The Bell Tolls", I'd MUCH rather watch a sloppy adaptation of ANY other Hemingway novel than go through the tedium of reading  it!

 

Not saying the film adaptation of FWTBT was sloppy, and it WAS the only Hemingway novel I read without fighting the urge to throw it against a wall!

 

 

Sepiatone

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the more I think about it, the more "the Sun Also Rises" resembles "Seinfeld" in my mind. If I recall correctly, it is also about a group of friends: 3 men and 1 woman. And again it's pretty ambitiously plotless. seriously, 200 pages and not a damn thing happens.

 

it's been 20 years since I read it, but I do recall liking "A Farewell to Arms" very very much. I very enthusiastically followed it up with "for whom the bell tolls", which I was extremely disappointed in it.

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Speed, I've had the same conflicts with Hemingway's books since starting them in Jr High.  His are difficult books because the phrasing is so repetitive - some forgive this style as being "typical journalist - repeat everything 3 times so the audience gets it".  Ugh.  His boring books are REALLY boring, too. 

 

I've seen good films based on his stories and I forgive filmmakers who take creative license to 'move things along'. 

 

I grew far more impatient with reading "all of Hemingway's books" after reading all of Steinbeck's, which are clearly my favorites.  Yet, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS - with all of that boring, long-winded DoNothing sections - Obscenity This, Obscenity That - would not have the stunning impact of an ending, I believe, if direct-to-the-point Steinbeck or anyone else had edited that tome into something far shorter.

 

SUN ALSO might get my vote for #2 Fave of Hemingway's and, again, it's only because of the ending. 

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No comparison with Jerry. Jake Barnes totally bombed at

the Peoria Improv with his stand up routine. A disaster.

 

i WOULD GIVE THIS POST MY FULL WEEK'S ALLOWANCE OF "I LIKES" IF I COULD.

 

ps- I really enjoyed the one where they stop making spermicidal lubricant and Lady Brett Ashley has to go on a drugstore crawl to horde as much of it as she can before it's gone forever.

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i WOULD GIVE THIS POST MY FULL WEEK'S ALLOWANCE OF "I LIKES" IF I COULD.

 

ps- I really enjoyed the one where they stop making spermicidal lubricant and Lady Brett Ashley has to go on a drugstore crawl to horde as much of it as she can before it's gone forever.

But did she ever decide if either Jake or Mike were "spongeworthy" ?

 

Lol.

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Speed, I've had the same conflicts with Hemingway's books since starting them in Jr High.  His are difficult books because the phrasing is so repetitive - some forgive this style as being "typical journalist - repeat everything 3 times so the audience gets it".  Ugh.  His boring books are REALLY boring, too. 

 

I've seen good films based on his stories and I forgive filmmakers who take creative license to 'move things along'. 

 

I grew far more impatient with reading "all of Hemingway's books" after reading all of Steinbeck's, which are clearly my favorites.  Yet, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS - with all of that boring, long-winded DoNothing sections - Obscenity This, Obscenity That - would not have the stunning impact of an ending, I believe, if direct-to-the-point Steinbeck or anyone else had edited that tome into something far shorter.

 

SUN ALSO might get my vote for #2 Fave of Hemingway's and, again, it's only because of the ending. 

I haven't gotten to the ending yet.  Right now, Jake and Bill go down to a city near Pamplona to fish.  They're supposed to meet Brett and Mike in Pamplona for the bullfighting exhibition. 

 

I agree about the repetitiveness.  Hemingway uses far too many words and far too little punctuation.  Some of his sentences are run on sentences and I have to re-read a couple times to get what he's saying.  I find some of the sections interesting and then other parts I'm thinking "ugh! Come on" and then other parts I'm "..." speechless.  Like in the scene in the book where one character is recounting the results of a prizefight he just watched that was between a white boy and a black boy.  The black boy is referred to by the "n-word" and that word is repeated 15 times on one page.  A bit crude in my opinion.

 

Despite the writing, the story aspect is interesting.  I haven't tried reading any of his other books yet, though I do remember reading a short story of Hemingway's called "Hills Like White Elephants."  For whatever reason, this story was very popular among college writing teachers and I ended up having this story assigned in like 3-4 different writing classes.  I think I may even have read it in a high school writing class.

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Enjoying this discussion about Hemingway and TSAR. Not an expert on Hemingway, but I have enjoyed many of his novels. As to the statement about TSAR being about nothing, I think its a statement about mans inhumanity to man, the bad treatment, or bullying of Robert Cohn. I dont know if my take on it is valid, but I was surprised to find reference to it in Bang the Drum Slowly, the second book of a trilogy by Mark Harris, and also made into a movie. I dont recommend the movie, but the book was great. The preface is a very clever reference to TSAR, and the book turns out to be a the same statement about mans inhumanity, this time directed toward Robert DeNiro's character, Bruce Pearson. I guess Harris saw it the same way. 

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I haven't gotten to the ending yet.  Right now, Jake and Bill go down to a city near Pamplona to fish.  They're supposed to meet Brett and Mike in Pamplona for the bullfighting exhibition. 

 

1. I agree about the repetitiveness.  Hemingway uses far too many words and far too little punctuation.  Some of his sentences are run on sentences and I have to re-read a couple times to get what he's saying.  I find some of the sections interesting and then other parts I'm thinking "ugh! Come on" and then other parts I'm "..." speechless.  Like in the scene in the book where one character is recounting the results of a prizefight he just watched that was between a white boy and a black boy.  The black boy is referred to by the "n-word" and that word is repeated 15 times on one page.  A bit crude in my opinion.

 

2.  I do remember reading a short story of Hemingway's called "Hills Like White Elephants."  For whatever reason, this story was very popular among college writing teachers and I ended up having this story assigned in like 3-4 different writing classes.  I think I may even have read it in a high school writing class.

 

1. If you're really interested in a particularly egregious example of "far too many words," spotty punctutation, story ambiguity and blatant racism, may I recommend LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL by Thomas Wolfe?- a book I have tried to make it though about six times, the last attempt ending somewhere circa page 400 with my well-worn copy flying across the room. THE SUN ALSO RISES may be about nothing, but at least it's only 200 pages about nothing. ANGEL is 800 pages about [...]  N O T H I N G.

 

In fact, if you want a head start, I'll sum up the first 400+ pages of LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL for you:

a kid grows up in Asheville, NC in the early twentieth century. His mom runs a boarding house and his dad drinks a lot.

 

There. Boom. I just summed up the entirety of the 400 pages (with tiny margins, small font and chapters that don't start on new pages.)

 

It is also the MOST ambitiously, dowright poetically racist thing I have EVER read.

 

2. I hate how instructors in the same dept. never get together to compare their assignments, because they always end up assigning the same damn stuff over and over again, and often it's the most milquetoast, easily digested and deconstructed stuff. It's like, guys, there are works out there BESIDES THE TEMPEST and THE GREAT GATSBY you could assign....

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I've always liked Sinclair Lewis' work from the 1920s. I doubt his

reputation will rise very much in the future, but when it came to

epater les bourgeois americains, Lewis was superb.

 

MAIN STREET was one book that I was not able to finish.

Maybe I was too young to appreciate it when I tried to read it (16).

Maybe I'll try it again.

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I just read Main Street again a few months ago. The first

time was probably fifteen years ago. It has held up pretty well,

at least for me. Lewis does hit all the usual small town

targets, but he also criticizes his heroine, so it's not as

one sided as it seems at first. I suppose it's up to the

individual which side he or she comes down on, if he or

she comes down on any side. If you have the time, give it

another chance. Length wise, it's pretty manageable.

 

I'll try to give it another chance as an adult.

I do remember that Sinclair Lewis was critical of the heroine as well as of the townsfolk that she tried to bring culture to.

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