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Islands In The Stream

4.4 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Thomas Hudson (Scott) is an American sculptor whose self-imposed isolation on an island in the Bahamas is ended by two forces: the visit of his sons and the outbreak of World War II. Hudson attempts to guide his sons while coping with his own personal conflicts and the threat of war.

The film of Ernest Hemingway's posthumously published novel has the air of an Important Event that never quite comes off. Here's Thomas, an artist who's outlived his artistry and settled into sun-kissed reclusiveness on one of the lesser Bahamas. With World War II literally rumbling on the luminous horizon, he divides his time between torturing metal into sculpture, lolling with semi-worshipful retainers and cronies, and committing occasional acts of petty, booze-induced, aimless destructiveness. He is, of course, not Ernest Hemingway. But if he were, who in 1979 would have more appropriately been asked to incarnate him than that disputatious, granite-jawed, reclusively inclined, Oscar-scorning actor George C. Scott? And who better to preside over the ceremony than Franklin J. Schaffner, the director of that earlier celebration of truculently rugged individualism, Patton?

Alas, Scott doesn't so much act as pose, and Schaffner sets up every shot and every encounter like a dust-jacket for a tasteful book-club edition (the DVD transfer is impeccably crisp; the images, stillborn). Thomas's attempts to bond with the three sons who come to visit after years of estrangement are painful, mostly because of the badness of the kids' dialogue and the worseness of the kid actors. However, as Thomas's boon companion Eddie--the "good man" rummy reminiscent of To Have and Have Not--David Hemmings is heartbreakingly fine. So, astonishingly, is the final reel, an absurdist adventure on the periphery of war... and we realize there could have been, should have been, a good movie in this bad idea for a movie after all. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: George C. Scott, David Hemmings, Gilbert Roland, Hart Bochner, Susan Tyrrell
  • Directors: Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Writers: Denne Bart Petitclerc, Ernest Hemingway
  • Producers: Ken Wales, Max Palevsky, Peter Bart
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007KIFR8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,160 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Islands In The Stream" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 7, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
some things you don't want to share with the world, you want to keep them hidden for yourself, alone. this is one of those things. this is my favorite george c. scott movie, subtle and complex and always powerful. the scene as he watches his son's hands bleed while trying to land the big fish and has to conceal his own dismay always moves me deeply. the island culture, the outdoor sculpting, david hemmings' portrayal as the lonely alcoholic, eddie, the awkardness of the relationships between the father and sons, all combined to make a beautiful and sad movie.
as a bonus, the rich and haunting score by jerry goldsmith is one of my favorites (as well as his). i think that i'll listen to it right now.
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Format: DVD
Set against the backdrop of the second World War, "Islands in the Stream" tells the story of painter Thomas Hudson (George C. Scott in a terrific performance) who has escaped to the Bahamas in hopes of isolating himself from the world. The world still finds him in the form of the storm clouds of war and the visit of his sons from his two marriages. Hudson tries to reconnect with his young sons in particularly his middle boy who habors anger towards being adandoned by his father. The late David Hemmings gives a terrific supporting turn as Eddy a British ex-patriot who works for Hudson and is his closest friend. The veteran and young cast do a terrific job with the economical screenplay by Denne Bart Petitclerc (creator of the old TV show "Then Came Bronson")based on Ernest Hemingway's posthumously published novel.

Director Franklin J. Schaffner ("Patton", "Papillion", "Planet of the Apes" and "The War Lord")was made to direct this material. His lyrical direction helps the cast give transcendant and powerful performances. Scott as usual puts his all into his portrayal of Hudson. The print used here looks exceptionally good.

Paramount has done a exceptionally nice job in transferring this classic film to DVD. While not a perfect transfer, the bright vivid colors and crisp, sharp clear images perfectly capture the lazy ambience of the Bahamas. Although the source material isn't the best novel Hemingway ever wrote it was, perhaps, his most honest. One can detect more than a whiff of autobiography in Hemingway's Hudson and that element is strengthened by Scott's performance.

The film comes sans extras which is a pity (I wish that Paramount would look at the terrific job Warner Home Video has done with some of their smaller cult classics and follow suit)but it does feature a beautiful widescreen transfer of the film. Highly recommended.
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Format: VHS Tape
Ernest Hemingway was the all time master of tales about real men who go down fighting. The twist, however, is that so many of his heroes recognize the futility of their struggle, and in writing them this way Hemingway taps into something ancient, something epic on the level of Greek Tragedy.
George C. Scott's performance in this film is perhaps his greatest, and while the film does lose continuity in its final 3rd, probably due to overzealous editing, this is a film that is more about the journey/tale than about the destination/conclusion. My only regret is that it isn't yet available on DVD, to put its tropic vision and hauntingly surreal quality on full display.
Islands In the Stream does an especially good job of capturing the air of general anxiety and uncertainty that America felt during the time leading up to World War II, and the story parallels this impending tragedy by building a growing sense of all that is lost as a family, nation and world reel toward war. In this sense, the movie can be compared to the novel "Alas Babylon" in its ability to capture an apocalyptic danger held ever closely and uncertainly at hand. Deeply moving.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
One of my all time favorite movies. Great movie if you are an Ernest Hemmingway fan as it is based on one of his last novels and there is a lot in the movie that relates directly and indirectly to Hemmingway himself. So often a great movie or book is a matter of taste or what you are looking for. There are folks who love a good storyline, a good plot. If it is missing, they are disappointed. For myself, what I want in my books or stories are great characters, people who take you on a bit of an emotional roller coaster and characters where you see some development. I also love when various themes are woven through the plot. This is one of those movies. Although the plot is rather simple, there is plenty in the character and theme departments. I really think George C. Scotty did a terrific job in this movie. He is very believable and certainly casts the type of figure that Hemmingway himself always wanted to me (and at times was) but who often feel short. A wonderful added bonus to this film are the gorgeous island settings and historic décor. Well worth the watching.
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By A Customer on July 19, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I own and watch this film about evey two years.It never fails to move me to both tears and laughter. From the painting of the soles of Eddie's feet by the younger of the three boys, up to the burial of Eddie at sea, after a gunfight with the Cuban Coast Guard,the film always brings me back to a platform from which life's essentials can be viewed.
The small deaths throughout never fail to catch up to and envelope the larger ones that comprise the body of the work. Hemingway's belief that "all true stories end in death" is once again played out in this lively emotional tale. But not before he allows you to feel the full force of a father's love for his son, the special love that comes only through friendship, the reunitng of man and wife, aand finally, the love that comes through personal sacrfice, bound up in a reaching out to those whose desperation is greater than one's own.
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