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The Sun Also Rises
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on January 7, 2011
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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on September 15, 2012
I am very surprised by the number of negative reviews of this movie. This really is an outstanding movie based on a great book. I think people often miss the meaning behind this movie and to some extent the book. It is a slow moving plot. No one would argue that. But that is not the point. The movie and the book are focused on life and how we live our lives and are affected by different events in our life. The lead character is grappling with his impotence caused by the war and cannot seem to bring himself to accept it. Because of his impotence he feels that he is not worthy of the love of his life and tries to hide from her. But she is deeply in love with him and seeks him out even though she is sometimes oblivious to her own feelings . Underlying this main theme are a number of other themes dealing with the impact of war on people and the adoption of different lifestyles caused by the impact of different events such as war etc. The movie really captures all of these themes quite well.

Tyrone Power is outstanding in the lead role. He really captures the mental suffering that his character experiences as a result of his impotence. In my view Tyrone Power was an extremely underrated actor based perhaps on the fact he had to accept a number of lighter roles which affected critics' perceptions of him. He is tremendous in this role. He really captures the agony of his situation and the depression he is battling which is another sub-theme that was close to Hemingway's heart. Ava Gardner is also extremely good in this and captures all of the aspects of her character's frustrations, instability and recklessness. The interactions between Power and Gardner are tremendous but they are subtle and nuanced. You really have to work when you watch this movie or read the book. The movie is not in your face. It is very subtle and deep and moving and you have to work to understand its meaning and themes. As everyone agrees Errol Flynn is magnificent in this. Once again this is an example of a very underrated actor. This movie is also about the unfairness of life and how we must all deal with the impact of events on us and make the best of our lives even though we might feel that we have been dealt with unfairly . This is a great movie that will stay with you long after you have watched it. Also, it is based on a very underrated Hemingway book.
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on December 14, 2010
The main actors here are all 10 to 15 years older - at least - than they should be, according to the 1926 Hemingway book about young soldiers in Paris and Spain shortly after WWI when they were all in their early 20s. Besides the absurd age mistake, the acting is uniformly stiff and lame, typical 1950s stuff when Hollywood somehow made the most American of actors like Ava Gardner speak in an absurd vaguely British accent. Why? Having recently read the Hemingway masterpiece upon which this 1957 film was based, I was disappointed by its lack of fidelity to the writing and tone that Hemingway conveyed. That said, the sets are interesting, and the colors and costuming are great. The DVD restoration looks spectacular in 1080 on a 40 inch LCD screen. Unless you are fan of Hollywood stuff from the 50s - I am not - you may be a bit bored by this silly adaptation of one of the great novels.
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on October 11, 2017
Again, a great seller and a good video.
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on March 7, 2017
kool movie i enjoyed it.
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VINE VOICEon August 30, 2012
Earnest Hemingway penned the novel that inspired this rather pointlessly dull film about four men infatuated with one woman, wasting away in 1920's Paris. Despite being beautifully shot and effectively acted, especially by an intoxicated Errol Flynn and his screen buddy Eddie Albert, this film is just slow and redundant and offers very little point. The character interactions meander on vapid and the way the film is constructed bogs down the viewer with boredom and nonsensical character development. Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner phone this one in, delivering emotionally restrained performances that don't say as much as they think they do, and Mel Ferrer gives an atrocious performance as the unstable and somewhat thick-headed Robert Cohn. I wanted to punch him square in the face throughout most of the film. Still, it is sensationally lit and offers some beautiful cinematography, and the underlying storyline of a wounded war vet (emotionally and physically) and his love for a woman who he could never please is compelling, just not conveyed in the most effective way. And my lord, I never thought that bull fighting could appear so dull, but those scenes were awfully un-thrilling and sleep inducing; and I watched this in the middle of the day!
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on March 30, 2007
"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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on August 25, 2010
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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on January 24, 2018
A real cinematic masterpiece, with complex characters adrift in Europe in the wake of the First World War.

Those looking for a by-the-numbers story, Hollywood stereotypes, clichés & cardboard characters should look elsewhere. This is Hemingway's literary magnum opus done as well as humanly possible for the screen.

Everything about this film is superlative. A great cast, with a surefooted Power carrying the movie with depth & nuance; and especially Flynn, in perhaps the best role of his career, practically stealing every scene he's in. The locations are magnificent, the cinematography flawless, finely directed, and a wonderful script that does justice to Hemingway's novel as well as could be done in a movie. If anything, it will make you want to read the book.

The bull fight scenes are entirely real and thrilling, but his is not an action flick. Most of the action here takes place between the lines, inside the characters, who wrestle with Gordian dilemmas of life & death, love & loss and how to go on in a world devastated by war, tragedy & meaninglessness. Yet despite it's timeless themes, it isn't ponderous or depressing. It's haunting.

In the end, it's all in there in title: The Sun Also Rises.
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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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