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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Islands In The Stream (1977)

Set in the Bahamas in 1940, an artist (George C. Scott) lives a quiet life of isolation. The film is divided into three sections. 1) his three estranged sons (Hart Bochner, Brad Savage, Michael James Wixted) come to spend the summer with him. 2) his ex-wife (Claire Bloom) unexpectedly turns up for a visit with some bad news. 3) he rescues some Jews adrift at sea and attempts to take them to Cuba. Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway and directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (PATTON). I'm an admirer of Hemingway's work but I've not read the source material so I don't know how faithful it is to the novel (or even if the book is any good). But I suspect the sentimental veneer is an invention of the film makers rather than Hemingway. The first part is very Hemingway-esque, so much so that the brief interlude that follows with Scott and Bloom is a breath of fresh air with the macho facade dropped and the third part is 1940s Warner Brothers. This is one of Scott's very best performances with the mannerisms which sometimes mar his work nowhere in sight. It's a reflective well thought out performance. Fred J. Koenekamp's Oscar nominated cinematography is picture perfect, perhaps too perfect, you could put it on a postcard. With David Hemmings, Gilbert Roland, Susan Tyrrell, Julius Harris and Hildy Parks.  

1 comment:

  1. Another excellent review. Agree completely about George c. Scott's work in this. He makes a superb middle-aged Hemingway (which is what Thomas Hudson is). In his review of the film, Stanley Kauffmann wrote that Scott communications more with a shoulder shrug then many others do with their whole body. As for the book, about 50% of it, is at Hemmingway's top level, and the other half definitively isn't. The U-boat chase at the end was changed to smuggling Jews probably to save $$$, but also because the U-boat chase would look silly when put on screen. Hemingway's prose can cover up a lot of silly plot.