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The Adventures of Martin Eden (1942)

Passed  -  Adventure  -  26 February 1942 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 46 users  
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Author writes about his experiences sailing at sea, struggles to get his work published.

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Title: The Adventures of Martin Eden (1942)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Connie Dawson
...
...
Joe Dawson
...
Johnny
Ian MacDonald ...
'Butch' Raglan
Frank Conroy ...
Rafaela Ottiano ...
Pierre Watkin ...
Amos Morley
Regina Wallace ...
Robert J. McDonald ...
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Storyline

Author writes about his experiences sailing at sea, struggles to get his work published.

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Genres:

Adventure

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

26 February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

High Seas  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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The widow London approves of Glenn Ford
26 February 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In reviewing a film like The Adventures Of Martin Eden we have the benefit of over 60 years of hindsight and a whole career of Glenn Ford to look back on. Considering the type of roles that Ford mostly did in his career one could conclude he was typecast. Someone like John Garfield or later on Paul Newman would have been perfect in the part of the protagonist who is author Jack London.

Yet in Peter Ford's biography of his father, Glenn won the approval of London's widow Charmian. She said he quite reminded her of her late husband who died at 50 in 1916 and she even let him hear some gramophone recordings of Jack so he could play him to perfection.

What Charmian thought of the finished product we don't know because that Peter Ford didn't mention. Not hardly his father's fault but the film is nothing like the novel. Maybe at some point we'll get a true version with someone like Russell Crowe in the title role.

Glenn is a native genius, rough, unschooled with a burning desire to tell stories of and about the working masses with realism, not unlike Emile Zola in France a generation or two earlier. He goes to sea and gets to serve under a brutal captain in Ian MacDonald. One of his shipmates Stu Erwin rebels and gets 10 years in jail for it. Glenn's kept a diary, but can't get it admitted to court as evidence.

That diary is the beginning of his career, but he still wants to see justice for Erwin. Glenn's life also has time for romance with Erwin's sister Claire Trevor and ship owner's daughter Evelyn Keyes who though she likes Glenn is ultimately daddy Pierre Watkin's daughter.

Conditions on ships were as brutal as London describes them. Other than that this is not Jack London's book. Had he been alive I doubt he would have given his imprimatur to the finished product.

That being said Ford gives a fine performance in a role he never would have been considered for later in his career. He's ably assisted by Trevor and Keyes and the rest of the cast.

But this film definitely needs a more true remake and one that reflects London's rather pessimistic vision.


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