Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Santiago goes out on his usual fishing trip and makes a huge catch, the biggest of his life. Then a shark attacks and tries to steal his catch. ... See full summary »
Mr. and Mrs. Maitland invite Whitey to their home on a trial basis. Whitey tries to visit a friend in reform school and inmate Flip is hiding in car as Whitey leaves. Flip steals money and ... See full summary »
Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee ... See full summary »
Now an old man, a lifelong fisherman sets out to sea to ply his trade as he has done all of his life. He's not had much good fortune of late and has gone almost three months without a major catch while others are catching one or even two large marlins every week. Many of the locals make fun of him and some say he's too old now to be fishing but he still loves what he does and is encouraged by a young boy who loves him and has faith in him. On this day he hooks the fish of a lifetime, a marlin that is larger than his skiff. As it slowly pulls him out to sea, the old man reminisces about his past, his successes and the high points of his life. When he does finally manage to land the fish he has to fight off sharks who are feeding on it as he tries to return to his Cuban village. Written by
Ernest Hemingway himself was initially involved in the production, although the extent of his participation after selling his book was to go marlin-fishing off the coast of Peru to try to find a fish worthy enough for the picture. In the end, the producers used a rubber marlin and stock footage of marlin fishing in which Hemingway didn't participate in. After seeing the film, Ernest Hemingway expressed his disappointment and said that Spencer Tracy looked less the Cuban peasant fisherman and more the rich old actor that he was. Tracy won an Oscar nomination for the role. See more »
(at around 30 mins) There's a white fishing line extending upward from the marlin as it jumps out of the water, which is impossible because Spencer Tracy is sitting at water level. As explained in the end titles, this footage was obtained when a man named Gassell caught a record-sized Marlin at the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club in Peru. See more »
Arguably the best novella ever written gets both a reading from Spencer Tracy and a dramatization - neither of which quite mesh with each other. There is a great deal of unnecessary narration, probably owing to the fact that no one thought Hemingway's words could be improved upon. I wish this movie had been made ten years later, when the sparse style of the prose could have been matched by the sparseness of the period.
All that aside, it's a beautiful movie and Tracy is excellent. You wouldn't think that an old-hand white guy actor would be able to carry off being a old-hand white guy actor doing an old Cuban man without looking silly. But he does, without trying to do anything besides portraying an aging fisherman. This is the key to his performance - he looks so comfortable in the role that you absolutely believe him as that fisherman. One of his greatest roles.
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