Paris in the 1920s. The American journalist Jake and his friends spend the time at cafés. He has a special interest in his ex-fiancée Lady Ashley. They take a vacation in Pamplona to watch the bull-fights. Written by
In the preparation for the running of the bulls, while the bulls are being driven down the chute to the holding pen, a handler behind the safety walls shirt changes color from blue to white, then back again during the same sequence. See more »
Don't try to tell me how to live with myself! I know all about that. It's just living with other people that gets to be tough once in a while.
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Two insurmountable problems keep The Sun Also Rises from being a great film classic. The first was the ever present Code which prevented the frank discussion of impotency and secondly the fact that the cast was 15 to 20 years older than the roles they were portraying. Maybe had the film been identified as 1932 instead of plainly set in 1922 Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, and Ava Gardner and the rest could have gotten away with those performances. The pity is that they all try very hard under an impossible burden of age. They would have been a dream cast around 1946. Ironically this cast is a lost generation unto itself.
Tyrone Power is in the lead as Jake Barnes, the hero modeled after author Ernest Hemingway himself. Barnes received a war wound below decks just as Hemingway did in World War I. The close brush with impotence himself no doubt inspired Hemingway to write The Sun Also Rises. That fact has kept him from resuming a relationship with the love of his life, Lady Brett Ashley as played by Ava Gardner.
As a jaded sophisticate Gardner is great, but Hemingway again wrote about a lusty young woman with all her sexual appetites intact and unfulfilled. All Power can do is watch how she collects the men around her.
And they do flock be it, exiled Count Gregory Ratoff, dissolute British army veteran Errol Flynn, self conscious Jew Mel Ferrer, and eager young bullfighter Robert Evans. None of them measure up to Power, but Power can't give the lady what she most needs.
The location cinematography is great from Paris to Mexico which substituted Spain for the famous bull fighting scenes and the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona. I'm guessing that Henry King did not film in Spain because the Franco dictatorship did not want a film that glorified the days before his dictatorship even under the monarchy which Franco swore to restore. Ernest Hemingway being a veteran for the Republic was also not an author looked kindly on by the Caudillo.
Ernest Hemingway has had accusations of anti-Semitism hurled at him and no doubt because of the way Mel Ferrer's character of Robert Cohn is written. Cohn has sustained a lot of prejudice in his life, he became a boxer in college to help deal with it. He's also a bumptious sort, Power tolerates him even likes him on a certain level. The others in the group make it plain every way they don't want him around. But he's under Gardner's spell and there's no talking to him. In many ways Mel Ferrer does the best acting job in the film.
The Sun Also Rise marks Power's farewell film at the studio which carefully nurtured his stardom, 20th Century Fox. It also was his ninth and last film with director Henry King. It was at Fox where Power got his breakthrough role in Lloyd's Of London, also directed by Henry King. They had quite a screen partnership themselves and are rarely discussed as a director/actor team.
This is one film that could stand a remake, but where could you get a cast as classy as this one today even if they are a generation behind to be making The Sun Also Rises.
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