The Old Man and the Sea Film Details
Overview: Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Santiago goes out on his usual fishing trip and makes a huge catch, the biggest of his life. Then a shark attacks and tries to steal his catch. …
Review: This 1990 TV movie is the second effort to put “The Old Man and the Sea” on film. The novel won Ernest Hemingway a Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and was cited in his award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. The first film was made by Warner Brothers in 1958. But this time around, “Papa” Hemingway wasn’t around to advise or have a hand in the production. So, the script departs somewhat from the book, and the writers employed a new twist. They put a couple in the film that is not in the book, and the man is an author on vacation in Cuba – supposedly based on Hemingway. After having car trouble, the author decides to hang around the small village for inspiration. He sees the fishermen come in and hears about the bad luck of the old man – 84 days straight without catching a thing. He sees the adulation that a young boy has for the old man, and the old man’s stubborn perseverance in going out after fish. With this new twist, the movie switches between the couple and the old man and boy. Maybe the producers thought this would hold viewers’ attention or interest more, but I think the scenes with the author and his wife are much too long with so little action or discussion. They may be the biggest reason some reviewers were bored watching this movie. Whereas, the scenes of the old man in the boat, talking to himself and the fish, are close to the novel and give us the sense of the adventure and challenge that Hemingway put down on paper. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough of the book’s analogous and poetic prose describing the sunset, the sea, the sky and the ocean and its life. The first film, with Spencer Tracy, had some beautiful lines lifted right out of the book. I think that Anthony Quinn looked a little more the part of an old fisherman than did Spencer Tracy. And Quinn’s beat-up hat and more worn and torn clothing seemed to fit a little better the idea of a poor old fisherman. The one drawback in Quinn’s character seemed to me to be his overly stern and serious expression most of the time. The book reads – and the Tracy character in the first film – portrays Santiago as a somewhat tired man, but a man of patience in his determination. And therefore, with a somewhat laid back demeanor about his poor luck. “It will change tomorrow, and all will be well with the world then,” seems to be his attitude. But Quinn’s character seems almost distraught at his poor luck. Quinn needed a little touch of Zorba the Greek in his portrayal of this character. While the sets, scenes and photography overall are good in this film too, the movie doesn’t have the rich colors or spacious scenes that the original had. As with the first film, the change in seas is very noticeable here – from near calm fishing and being pulled in the boat, to sizable swells and waves in the scenes with the fish jumping. And, some other small details are missing that Hemingway mentioned in his book, or that are understood about the culture. This is worth a watch, and if you haven’t seen the 1958 film, by all means watch it too. One can wonder what a film would have been like with Anthony Quinn playing the old man based on the character, direction and script of the first movie.
Duration: 93 min
Also known as: Stary człowiek i morze,O Velho e o Mar,The Old Man and the Sea,Vanhus ja meri,Der alte Mann und das Meer,Le vieil homme et la mer,Старецът и морето,Az öreg halász és a tenger,El viejo y el mar,Старик и море,Le Vieil homme et la mer,Bătrânul și marea,Den gamle och havet