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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
Look, what can you tell in four days?
I'll tell ya what I can tell. I can tell ya that three times a day I get hungry and every twenty-four hours I get an irresistible urge to go to sleep in a bed. I don't wanna beg and I don't wanna steal. I don't want a cop tellin' me I'm a vagrant and runnin' me outta town. I'm sorry to desert you, but I'm not cut out for this kind of a life.
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Beautifully produced version of Hemingway's saga of his early journey towards manhood. Amazing supporting cast is a mix of veterans and rising talent of the time with assured direction. The entire cast does well but there are a few standouts. Paul Newman does good character work as a punch drunk has-been boxer, Eli Wallach has some fun with his conscripted soldier and Arthur Kennedy offers his usual thoughtful work as the lead's goodhearted but dominated father. Also kept an eye out for a blink and you'll miss her appearance by Sharon Tate in her screen bow.
The problem lies in Richard Beymer in the lead. He's not bad but he's just sort of there lacking the charisma to anchor such a pageant over its extended running time. Someone with the ability to hold the camera's gaze is needed, either Steve McQueen or Albert Finney who were the proper age at the time would have been better casting. As it stands the film is good but missing the key element that would have made it more.
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