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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Misconceived attempt at the Hemingway classic is a handsome looking production in the early CinemaScope travelogue manner (with Mexico almost 'passing' as Spain), but it crucially misses the unsettling combination of charm & merciless scrutiny that makes the novel so riveting. Under Henry King ’s stately direction, the middle-aged cast all seem to be in a stupor; surely these Lost Generation archetypes should have been portrayed by young rising stars of the time. Even so, about halfway thru the pic, you realize that the starry cast might have worked on some sort of diminished level. Ava Gardner, Errol Flynn & Mel Ferrer seem to be making contact with their characters and even Tyrone Power is able to bring the ashen remains of his lost glamour into dramatic play. And that's when the young Bob Evans shows up in the bull ring as a famous matador, holding his cape like a damp piece of laundry, and all hope is lost.

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