The Old Man and the Sea (1958)


“Do not blame the hand, it is not the hand’s fault.” – Old Man

Number of Times Seen – 1 (28 May 2018)

Brief Synopsis – An elderly fisherman who hasn’t been able to catch anything for months, decides to try and catch a fish much further out than he has tried beforehand.

My Take on it – This is a film based on the award winning Ernest Hemingway novel that I had to read in high school (like most people) and I was curious to see how such a novel would translate to the screen.

Unfortunately, not that well.

The way this film is presented comes across as being really boring because there aren’t many visual aspects of the story since most is just descriptive.

The film doesn’t manage to make us care enough about the main character and things aren’t as gripping or thrilling as they are in the book since the descriptive aspects of the novel work much better on paper than on the screen.

Spencer Tracy was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for this role and I think it has more to do with the fact that he was required to carry the entire story on his own since through 95%+ of the film only he appears onscreen.

Visually, this film is also strange because some of the shots of the ocean are amazing to look at but the majority seem like they were filmed in the studio which takes away from the realism of it all.

Bottom Line – Pretty boring film that doesn’t work as well visually as it does in the book.  It’s hard to try and sympathize with the main character because as descriptive as this script is, it just doesn’t come across as thrilling and gripping enough as it feels on paper. Tracy does a nice job carrying the story on his own and I believe that for that reason alone he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for this role.  Some of the visuals in the film seem quite exotic like they should, but most look pretty much as if it was filmed in a studio which hurts the realism of it all.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Ernest Hemingway himself was initially involved in the production, although the extent of his participation after selling his book was to go marlin-fishing off the coast of Peru to try to find a fish worthy enough for the picture. In the end, the producers used a rubber marlin and stock footage of marlin fishing in which Hemingway didn’t participate in. After seeing the film, Ernest Hemingway expressed his disappointment and said that Spencer Tracy looked less the Cuban peasant fisherman and more the rich old actor that he was. Tracy won an Oscar nomination for the role. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (4/10)

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2 thoughts on “The Old Man and the Sea (1958)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1958 |

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