Sunday, June 21, 2020

Dimitri Tiomkin - Suite for The Old Man And The Sea

I have an odd view of Hemingway - sort of a hope for the best but prepare for the worst sort of thing.  His prose is brilliant, his characterization is memorable, but his stories sometime are infuriating*.

But Old Man And The Sea is Papa at his best, and a great story for Father's Day.  An old man and a boy, fishing - but more than fishing: striving and failing and striving again; victory and defeat, teaching and learning what is is to be a man.

The 1958 film was interesting.  Hemingway loved it, perhaps because the script followed his novel so closely.  He even liked Spenser Tracy in the lead role (for which he was nominated for Best Actor); given how much Hemingway disliked Tracy personally, this was quite an accomplishment.  The filming budged kept ballooning, because they kept trying (and failing) to catch a marlin.  They never did, and so the film had to cut between Tracy and pictures of a fish.  But it was not just any fish, it was the world record marlin caught off Peru. 

The music by Dimitri Tiomkin won the Oscar for best score, one of four he received in his career (out of a total of 22 nominations).  He was a prolific composer, writing scores for 57 films in the decade before this one.  This made him the highest paid composer in Hollywood.

* It's said that the unexpected, tragic ending of Farewell To Arms was intentional, because he was still angry at the World War I nurse who broke his heart.  That's not much to ruin a book for.


libertyman said...

Amazing to score such a piece of music. An early John Williams, I guess you could say.
Now that you are a Floridian, you must travel to Hemingway's Key West home, if you haven't already. A long drive from where you are, but Key West is a fun place in its own right.
I will have to watch that film again, I think I saw it many moons ago on a 12 inch black and white TV.
Nice and warm here at the lake in Maine today.
Great Sunday post.

libertyman said...

Ha! Spencer Tracy was "only" 58 when the film was made. Not even old enough for "old people hours" at our local Market Basket.
Old man indeed.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I have very vivid images of watching that movie as a child on television.