The Old Man and the Sea (1958)

I had not heard that Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella The Old Man and the Sea had been filmed until just recently, and I just finished watching it. 

Spencer Tracy plays the old man, a poor Cuban fisherman with a nearly three-month-long string of bad luck.  He is loved and cared for by a young boy who maintains the faith.  When the old man in his tiny boat snags a marlin beyond his imagination and is pulled out to sea, he engages in the struggle of a lifetime, a heroic quest to restore his lost virility, his honor, and his pride.  But then, the sharks begin to follow the trail…

The movie is essentially a one-man monologue, difficult for any actor to work with, but Tracy plays the role with thoughtfulness and gravity.  Every time I encounter this story I desperately root for the old man, hoping he’ll bring his catch back to port and re-gain the esteem of his friends.  The story is one of struggle, triumph, failure, hope, and love–the human condition.


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