The Sun Also Rises
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
"The Sun Also Rises" was 20th Century Fox's big-budget 'prestige' film

for 1957, based on Ernest Hemingway's first novel, shot on location in Paris and Mexico (substituting for Spain), and starring the studio's long-reigning superstar, Tyrone Power, surrounded by legendary actors (Ava Gardner, Errol Flynn, Mel Ferrer, and Eddie Albert). With all the talent assembled in front of and behind the camera, producer Darryl F. Zanuck felt confident that the film would be an enduring classic for both his own independent company, and his studio.

It wasn't, unfortunately...

The film's problem was a fundamental one; the 'Lost Generation'

Hemingway wrote of were disillusioned young Americans, who, shattered

by the horror and brutality of the 'Great War', lost their innocence, and became a 'live fast, die young' crowd of expatriates, settling in Paris. These were men and women still in their twenties and thirties...yet the film's stars were all ten to twenty years older! The most glaring case can be seen in the film's star, Tyrone Power. As newspaperman Jake Barnes, a vet whose war injuries render him impotent, unable to satisfy the woman he loves (Ava Gardner), and, therefore, the 'perfect' observer of her romantic entanglements with other men, Power seems more a victim of a midlife crisis than a young man devastated about losing his manhood. In his next-to-last film, Power, at 44, was aging badly, his hair thinning and his slender, 'movie idol' good looks surrendering to a middle-aged paunch. Only when he smiles do the years seem to lift, a bit, and the "too handsome to be true" younger man appears. Adding to his physical deterioration was an undiagnosed heart condition, which would kill him, in less than two years.

His co-star, Ava Gardner, at 35, was going through a decline, as well, but, like her character, Lady Brett Ashley, her vices were the cause of her self-destruction. Both Brett and Ava were hedonistic women too fond of booze, bullfighters, and nightlife, and Ava's once-classic features were beginning to develop bags and wrinkles that makeup and lighting couldn't hide.

Coming off best are Errol Flynn and Eddie Albert. Flynn, at 48, long past his 'glamorous' prime (he and Power had been Hollywood's best-looking 'swashbucklers' of the early 40s), had become a very credible character actor, usually portraying variations of himself. His 'Mike Campbell', an alcoholic, impoverished but clinging to his pride, was, sadly, a dead-on assessment of Errol Flynn, as well. Like Power, he would be dead in two years, a victim of his own excesses. On the other hand, Eddie Albert, at 49, had long been health-conscious, and his performance as a drunk was simply good acting; paired with Flynn, they 'steal' the film, particularly during the famous Pamplona bull run, when the duo flee for their lives (while guzzling wine), and Flynn attempts to use a bad check as a cape to 'fight' a bull!

The drama seems overdrawn, the romance lacks 'fire', Robert Evans as a young bullfighter is dreadful, and the resolution is a hollow one. Even with the gorgeous scenery, Hugo Friedhofer's soaring film score, and Henry King's skill as a director, the film fails to generate more than a curiosity value, at the sight of so many actors, past their prime, trying to seem youthful and dynamic.

The DVD offers many 'added features', including 'behind the scenes' photos of Power, Flynn, and Gardner, and director Henry King's audio reminiscences of the production, possibly more entertaining than the feature, itself.

All-in-all, an ambitious misfire!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2007
Many reviews of this film like to take issue with its meandering, aimless plot that starts anywhere and leads nowhere. The bad news is that criticism is spot on. The good news is that's the point exactly. You see, Hemingway is trying to show what happens to the first generation that loses its faith in reason, science, and progress. Instead of perfecting society, humanity, and the world, these ideals have only led to more effective, more efficient ways of killing our neighbors on a global scale. How to live when there is nothing left to believe in? Watch this film and find out! Ask yourself, are these characters so different from you and me? Tyrone Power is impotent. So are we. Wealth, fame, power -- our worldly pleasures are insatiable. Errol Flynn is a hopeless drunk. Our pleasures are also unfulfilling. Ava Gardner is an aging beauty. Even when a few of us manage to attain our worldly desires, they are fleeting, we just can't hold on to them. This film is more relevant today than it ever was. If you hit yourself on the head with a book, and you hear a hollow sound, it doesn't always mean the book is empty.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
How can a movie be fascinating without a plot? Watch The Sun Also Rises and you'll find out. I admire the courage of the filmmakers for their faithfulness to Hemingway's work, which was a challenge to translate for the screen. The novel is really a slice of life in which character study takes precedence over story. This is about the so-called "lost" generation of people who try without success to find some meaning in their lives after the horrors of the First World War. As a theme, it has enormous relevance even today.

If you dissect this film, what you have is one scene, the same scene, repeated over and over and over: The actors order drinks, smoke cigarettes, and engage in witty dialogue. In an outdoor café, in a restaurant, in a bar, in an apartment, in a hotel, in Paris, in Pamplona, in ... are you getting the picture? But don't despair, this is an absolutely fascinating movie despite the fact that nothing really happens. How can that be? First, Hemingway's characters are interesting as hell. Second, Henry King was a brilliant director and put his stamp on every aspect of this production. Third, the Cinemascope photography of Paris and Spain (or Mexico) is staggering. The scenes in Paris during the first part of the film made me want to get on an airplane. And fourth, these were superb film actors at the top of their form.

Tyrone Power was a highly underrated actor. In this film he has one of the most difficult roles for any actor, playing a character who is depressed all the time. Actors like to play active motivations. Playing depressed is about as difficult as it can get for an actor and Power is superb in playing dour without losing his natural charm. Mel Ferrer is perfectly cast as the droopy Robert Cohn, who is both likeable and hateful. Juliette Greco positively jumps off the screen in a small part at the beginning of the film. Even the way she says a single word, yes, is exciting. Eddie Albert, another underrated actor, is great in a part that would have confounded a lesser actor. The real surprise is Errol Flynn, appearing here in a character role at the end of his career and short life. He is hysterical as a drunk among drunks (they are all drunk) and steals every scene he's in. During the bull running scenes in Pamplona, Flynn and Albert are wonderful at the kind of physical comedy that Peter Sellers would have admired. I even liked Robert Evans' portrayal of a Spanish bullfighter and don't understand why everyone makes fun of his acting.

But the heart of the film is stolen by another underrated actor, Ava Gardner, who gives the performance of a lifetime as the disturbed Lady Brett Ashley. Gardner nails every aspect of this complicated personality and in most scenes she is able to convey an incredible variety of emotional states. I loved one scene in the Cafe Select in which she switches from wild abandon to serious concern and back again in a matter of seconds. And on top of it all, she is drop dead gorgeous as few actresses have ever been. Even her own dissipation as she approached middle age works for the part. What a pleasure to watch her in this movie! I find it bizarre that, in one of the special features, some hack critic suggests that Gardner was miscast.

At the end of The Sun Also Rises, I found myself saying, "So what the hell just happened?" I'm not entirely certain, but it simply makes me want to watch it over and over. This is a truly great film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2010
I was interested in watching this movie since I had read the book when I was a teen. The book was written by Ernest Hemingway. Because of censorship rules not everything from the book was able to be put forth on the screen. Watching the special features reminded me of this fact.

Special Features include:
* The Old Men and The Bulls: The Making of "The Sun Also Rises"
* Hemingway on Film
* A Conversation with Director Henry King

The main character actors are some pretty well known and respected persons: Ava Gardner (Lady Brett Ashley), Tyrone Power (Jake Barnes), Errol Flynn (Mike Campbell), Mel Ferrer (Robert Cohn), and Eddie Albert (Bill Gorton).

It is over two hours. The pace seemed pretty good - kept me interested. There's drama and romance and adventure. The story's backdrop is Paris and Spain. It includes the running of the bulls and some bull fighting.

We picked up this Studio Classic as part of a 4 disc set celebrating the 75th anniversary of 20th Century Fox.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2007
Very good wide screen restoration. DVD "Special Features" discussing the making of the movie are also very intersting. If you're looking for a movie version of the book - this isn't it. But it's entertaining.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I recorded the movie from HBO and watched it and immediately saw some huge issues. The first was the casting. Several of the actors were many years older than they were in the book. The main actor that played Jake was 40+. It simply didn't work. It's odd that they didn't use younger actors because they followed much of the storyline, and even the dialog, closely.
If you are a fan of the book you may want to watch this movie, but don't go out of your way. I still think this is a great story and would like to see someone make a new movie from this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2007
I saw this movie a long time ago on TV and am glad they finally put it on DVD. And although it is not one of the best movies it reflects the time period of the "lost generation" as chronicle by Hemingway and acted out by some of the best actors of our time. I bought the DVD to mostly see the performances of Errol Flynn and Eddie Albert who are really the best in this film. I gave it four stars as it comes up a little short as a great movie but nevertheless entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 8, 2012
Ambitious but disappointing 1957 adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel — marred by overlength, censorship and fatal miscasting. In his penultimate screen role, an aging Tyrone Power comes across as a total stiff. Making matters worse, the Production Code toned down the lustful passion of Ava Gardner's Lady Brett. Even screenwriter Peter Viertel was dissatisfied with the final result. Worth a look for Leo Tover's CinemaScope locations and Errol Flynn's splendid "comeback" performance as the alcoholic Mike Campbell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2007
Need I say more? Don't miss Flynn and Eddie Albert actually running through the streets and into the bull ring with the dudes of "Pamplona" (filmed in Mexico) Two guys get gored! Ava G. is as sensual as ever, whether in a Parisian bistro or flirting with a matador. Location is a huge part of the novel, and this movie gets is right.
The movie falls far short of the reckless desperation of the novel, and Tyronne P. is a soul-less Jake, but that would be a tough role for anyone to play.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This has to be included as one of Papa's great stories. In this Fox CinemaScope version it looks fantastic. Although not much of a plot it is great to see it restored so well by Fox. Bring on the CinemaScope classics please, please, please.............The Sun Also Rises looks great and sounds great in surround sound. Sit down with a glass of wine and share the Hemingway experience.
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