Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway's late career ode to the indomitable spirit, detailing the tireless and ultimately fruitless efforts of an elderly fisherman's five day battle with a marlin was given full (and probably unnecessary) cinematic treatment by director John Sturges, which was made with the participation of the legendary author, who was reported as taking part in photo scouting sea expeditions. Spencer Tracy gives it his best go, but is woefully miscast as the elderly Cuban fisherman. Anthony Quinn donned the role of Santiago many years later in a TV movie which was reputedly a dog, but I wonder why he wasn't cast in this initial production. The movie is relentlessly faithful to the book, almost to a fault, but the major redemptive component is James Wong Howe's beautiful cinematography.