16 January 2007

A Catch Of Life - "The Old Man And The Sea" (1958)

Screen version of Ernest Hemingway’s novel "The Old Man And The Sea" (1952), directed by John Sturges is a great argument to support a thesis that no special effects and big budget productions can make a movie good, without quality actors and brilliant story behind it.

Hemingway, born in 1899 in United States, had been awarded Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. It’s simply difficult to think of a better piece of literature to adapt to a film. Hemingway wrote his most successful novel during his stay in Cuba. He had become friends with local fisherman Gregorio Fuentes who is commonly considered as a main influence for “the old man” character.
Santiago is an aged man who has gone 84 days without catching a fish. He’s an experienced fisherman and the one who had been respected in the past for his achievements so such a bad luck brings dishonor to him and doubts in his abilities. After almost 3 months without a catch he finally gets the fish. The problem is, the marlin is a giant. The biggest catch ever seen. Santiago, on his own, is too weak to hold the fish on his boat. At the end he looses the battle with the sharks that ate his priceless catch, the catch of his life. Santiago had ruined himself because didn’t want to give up on the marlin that lead him to the open sea for two days and two nights.
Great narrator’s performance makes a film extraordinary. Most of the time it’s just one man on the screen. It’s Spencer Tracy who was also well known from playing tough characters. In "The Old Man And The Sea" he shows his best skills that leave many other actors behind him. Tracy won the Academy Award winner for Best Actor two years in a row, for "Captains Courageous" (1937) and "Boys Town" (1938).

Kaohsiung (30-10-2006)

"The Old Man And The Sea" (1958), directed by John Sturges, starring: Spencer Tracy.

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