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Old Man and the Sea

Spencer Tracy , Felipe Pazos , Fred Zinnemann , Henry King    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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The classic Ernest Hemingway novel about man battling nature and the demons within himself is adapted admirably in this 1958 film starring the legendary Spencer Tracy. Playing the fisherman who goes on an intense and futile quest as he contemplates his own nature, Tracy turns in a spellbinding performance of understated power. He plays an itinerant Cuban fisherman whose luck at catching his prey has been poor of late, until he becomes embroiled in an intense pursuit of a giant marlin and in the process must confront his own frailties. Though the visual aspect of the film seems dated, Tracy is more than enough reason to see this effort at bringing one of the modern classics of literature to life on the screen. --Robert Lane

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good succinct film of Hemingway classic May 13 2013
Format:DVD
Hemingway had the luxury of having a big star in his filmed book which meant many critics would see it if not that many people that was the case? Probably one of the best writers in america, even today who does not know him, but who really has understood him all that well? The movie was not a success which is surprising since JOhn HUston's Moby Dick did well and you would have expected the same for this more modern tale but such was not the case? Tracy had the reputation as being the greatest of american actors and also a star and to watch him and what he does with each role makes you think any other person attempting to act the same role would be unsatisfactory..yet critics didnt like him in this role, and I may have a clue they didnt like the religiousness of the character and perhaps what this novel is about solitude and other aspects which made them uncomfortable. You shouldnt think the author who knew the area of Cuba was writing of himself..and as we begin the novel we have a middle ages personality, but a peasent fisherman whoose wife's photo was taken down and all there are are a few religious photos..icons..and a reminiscence of the sacred heart,,and all thats left in his world is a little boy a child who is personally drawn to this figure and all there is about this man and his life can be guaged from the attempts to catch a fish and other things about the sea..Tracy may have one an oscar and he was well known as one of the best actors in california which meant they closely scrutinized his films..and his performance..and as usual the performance is good,.I think critics..and every critic has their own point of view..and native reviewers different from those outside the nation..and the picture is photographed well there are many colourful scenes but its a film of a man alone.. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars a Classic April 12 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What can you say really?. AS good as a book can get on film.Especially for its day. Need three more words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the old man and the sea review March 28 2004
By madison
Format:DVD
Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is a story about an old sea fisherman and his struggle with a greatest fish he has ever seen. The story takes place on the coast of Cuba in a small fishing village. Due to the fact he has not caught a fish in eighty-four days, his young apprentice is forced to go fish in a more prosperous boat. Although the book seems to have a simple plot, there is a lot of symbolism and the ending was interesting.
Some criticize The Old Man and the Sea for dragging on, but the character development only makes it more interesting to find out what happens. The main character, Santiago, is modest and keeps up hope despite his circumstance. His willingness to keep on, even despite his outcome, is moving.
Hemingway's style of writing also creates a detailed environment. The plot may be too straightforward but what it lacks, it makes up for rich detail. The way Hemingway depicts man's battle with nature makes it a good book to read.
The symbolism in the book is hard to read at first. As the book goes on, Hemingway uses more and more words that link Santiago to Christ and are very hard to miss. During the old man's battle with the fish, fishing cable cuts his palms. When carrying a mast across his shoulders in the village, images of Christ's march to Calgary can be related.
I would suggest this book to almost anyone over fifteen. The book is short (around a hundred pages) and straightforward. Although it has such a simple plot, the symbolism is a little more difficult to understand. Writing in short declarative sentences, Hemingway's style of writing makes it harder to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eighty-Four Straight Days Without A Fish Oct. 27 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Santiago is an aged Cuban fisherman who has not caught any fish for eighty-four straight days. Because he is considered unlucky by the other villagers, the young boy who usually assists Santiago is told by his parents to join a luckier boat which has recently been catching some fish.
On the eighty-fifth day Santiago sets out alone and after a while he hooks a huge marlin. Most of the rest of the movie is about Santiago's struggle with the marlin and his battles with attacking sharks which are trying to eat the big fish. The story is also about Santiago's relationship with the boy who cares for the old man both before and after his epic voyage. The boy is indebted to Santiago for all that he has learned from him about fishing. Santiago is a widower and childless.
Much of the film shows Santiago alone at sea struggling with the marlin. In other words the movie is mostly focused on Spencer Tracy who does an excellent job of holding the viewer's interest.
In spite of Tracy's great performance, however, I still think that Anthony Quinn would have been a better choice for the role of Santiago - except for the fact that Quinn was fifteen years younger than Tracy.
The script closely follows Hemingway's novel which makes the movie even more remarkable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Movie with a Saving The Planet Message. Sept. 11 2002
Format:DVD
When I first saw this movie, I thought this was an early save the planet movie. Well In addition to Spencer Tracy's powerful performance as a fisherman trying to catch the Marlan, there is also a lot of natural/wildlife photography in it that serves as the background for the movie and it's quite extensive for a 1958 film. I heard that Hemmingway really enjoyed the outdoor world, well this movie certainly had plenty of the natural world to show of.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A mythical cycle!
Hemingway decide to make an apparent simple story when in reality , he would write one of his most emblematic and passionate works.
Santiago is a simple man . Read more
Published on July 2 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
3.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway was right...
After the film came out in 1958 Hemingway was quoted as saying Spencer Tracy was "too fat" to play the part. Read more
Published on May 5 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Movie about the Human Spirit
I was 8 years old when my Mother and I went to see this movie. I remember how determined this man was to land a fish, any fish, not just a big one. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2002 by Chet Ragsdale
3.0 out of 5 stars The One That Got Away
My expectations may have been slightly lofty when I viewed the video version of The Old Man and the Sea (1958). Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay
Even though I thought this movie was interesting I found it a little boring. I was hoping it was going to be more of a battle between the old man and the fish. Read more
Published on Sept. 26 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Spencer Tracy gives a great performance.
In these times where ignorance (high school high is an example) is produced for the public to consume, and special effects are the driving force in many movies, it is very pleasing... Read more
Published on May 18 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful. Return to the meaning of story and spirit.
This is a timeless tale of a passion unbroken by the rust of time. The boy in the movie has a heart so strong in a town so poor. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of cinema
This movie is a must see. The cimetography is powerful, minus a few outdated special effects during the climax, where some bluescreening is apparent. Read more
Published on Dec 15 1998 by jakacki@uiuc.edu
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