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Young and restless Nick Adams, the only son of a domineering mother and a weak but noble doctor father, leaves his rural Michigan home to embark on an eventful cross-country journey. He is touched and affected by his encounters with a punch-drunk ex-boxer, a sympathetic telegrapher, and an alcoholic advancement for a burlesque show. After failing to get a job as reporter in New York, he enlists in the Italian army during World War I as an ambulance driver. His camaraderie with fellow soldiers and a romance with a nurse he meets after being wounded propel him to manhood. Written by
To be quite honest, not everyone will be taken with this movie, particularly if they are not already familiar with the Hemingway stories. These stories were written sporadically, but most readers of the collected Nick Adams tales have not found it difficult to see in them an arc of a young man's life, from his hell-raising days in the thick woods of Michigan, through to his growing maturity in World War I. The problem, of course, is that the story format makes the whole thing highly episodic: like a photo album of significant moments.
To some extent, the movie manages to blend this away, although at cost to the integrity of the original stories. Still, it is such a help to see these stories made visual that any objections are overcome. Further, the performances of the many distinguished actors involved -- above all, Paul Newman as the punch-drunk Battler -- are truly distinguished.
I liked this movie thoroughly, although it needs to be said that "The Killers" (1946), from another of the Nick Adams stories, is undoubtedly better as an adaptation. Still, it's hard not to admire the audacity of those who put together "Adventures." It's probably about as good as it could be.
It is really very irritating, at any rate to those who know the originals, that the Region 1 version is still censored, and for absolutely no discernible reason.
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