The fashion industry and Paris provide the setting for a comedy surrounding the mistaken impression that Joanne Woodward is a high-priced call girl. Paul Newman is the journalist interviewing her for insights on her profession.
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
"Ernest Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man" is one of the many motion pictures I saw during my adolescence in one of the cinemas in the neighborhood where I grew up, the colonial part of the city of Panamá. Somehow I completely forgot what it was about. Last night I sat to check the opening credits for nostalgia reasons. The film began and although I am not a Franz Waxman specialist, I instantly said to myself "Waxman...", and it was him!, his music, so instead I ended watching the complete film again. I was surprised to find out it is an entertaining road movie, and have no explanation why I could not remember a single scene from it. Maybe I was too young to care about the ideas being voiced, even if they were neither too profound nor developed enough. Maybe Richard Beymer (as Nick Adams), Susan Strasberg and Diane Baker (as his love interests) were neither strong nor charismatic young performers to watch a whole film with them as leads... This of course is not true considering, for examples, their contributions to "West Side Story", "Taste of Fear" and "Strait-Jacket", respectively, but I realized that it was mostly the fine performances by the rest of the cast what smoothly carry the narration along. In the first act, Arthur Kennedy as Nick's father is very good; then Paul Newman, Juano Hernández, James Dunn, Dan Dailey and Fred Clark give strong support during Nick's trip from Michigan to New York; Ricardo Montalbán and Eli Wallach follow during the third section, and Jessica Tandy does her fine act as a bitter mother (repeated a year later in "The Birds") in the resolution. Thanks to good art direction evoking the first years of the 20th century and beautiful location shooting in Italy and Wisconsin, one can overlook the carelessness of Academy Award- winning cinematographer Lee Garmes here and there, with shadows of the camera and light equipments all over the place in different scenes. But most of all it is a film dominated by good acting. Martin Ritt was an excellent director of actors and it is quite evident in this film, which also covers some of the social and political issues he would later treat at length in his filmography, mostly in "Hud", "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", "The Front", "Norma Rae", "Sounder", "Conrack", and "Stanley and Iris".
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