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Spencer Tracey had almost a one-man show in ‘The Old Man and the Sea,' the 1958 film from Hemingway's classic story.

Mr. Movie: Hemingway Part 1

Part 2


Ernest Hemingway was one of the most popular writers of the 20th century. Many of his stories were made into movies. He loathed Hollywood and steadfastly refused to write screenplays. However, he obviously sold the rights to most of his work to the silver screen moguls. So he was OK with taking the money! 

Here is another batch of Hemingway-inspired films.


The Sun Also Rises (1957) features Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer and Errol Flynn. Hemingway hated it; walked out after 25 minutes. Viewers loved it. Inspired by the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, it contains that spectacle, lots of gorgeous scenery and a red hot love story between the main actors.


The Old Man and the Sea (1958) stars legendary Spencer Tracy as a Cuban fisherman who has gone 84 days without a catch. On the next day, he hooks a gigantic marlin and tries to haul it to shore. He is beset by the distance to the shore and predatory sharks making his attempt basically impossible. Hemingway saw this as a struggle between man’s courage and the pitiless elements. There is a 1999 animated version that sticks pretty close to the original, but with perhaps a happier ending. It won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film that year.


The Gun Runners (1958) has Audie Murphy, as Sam Martin, an honest American charter boat captain who is forced into running guns for the Cuban revolution. Murphy became a so-so actor after winning the Medal of Honor and a lot more medals. He was the most decorated soldier of World War II. The lobby card for this one says, in big red print: Hemingway-Hot Adventure! And it does have lots of excitement and a decent plot. This story was earlier made a film in 1950 (The Breaking Point) with John Garfield. It is just as good, but instead of guns, the captain is running crooks. The lobby card for this one reads: Screaming Off The Pages Of A Hemingway Story! Wow.


In Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man (1962), Ernest got the right to approve everything. After all, they did pay to use his name. He wrote a bunch of excellent short stories about Nick Adams, and their popularity led to this movie. Richard Beymer plays Nick. He is bored with his Michigan parents, roams the country finding advenures and eventually enlists as an ambulance driver for the Italian army during World War I. He is seriously wounded and finds himself back in Michigan to recover.


We have to fast forward 40 years for the last film in this article. Across The River and Into The Trees (2022) has Liev Schreiber as Colonel Richard Cantwell slowly dying from a heart condition. Flashbacks are used to tell the story of his time as a soldier in World War I, first in the Italian army and later in the American. The book got bad reviews but became a best seller. The film hews close to the novel of the same name and is pretty good.


All of these movies are for adults.