The formidable task of assembling the bits and pieces of Ernest Hemingway's autobiographical young hero, Nick Adams, and welding them into a single, substantial flesh-and-blood screen personality has nearly been accomplished in Adventures of a Young Man. But, while the film has been executed with concern, integrity and respect for the pen from which it flows, it has a disquieting tendency to oscillate between flashes of artistry and truth and interludes of mechanics and melodramatics.

The formidable task of assembling the bits and pieces of Ernest Hemingway’s autobiographical young hero, Nick Adams, and welding them into a single, substantial flesh-and-blood screen personality has nearly been accomplished in Adventures of a Young Man. But, while the film has been executed with concern, integrity and respect for the pen from which it flows, it has a disquieting tendency to oscillate between flashes of artistry and truth and interludes of mechanics and melodramatics.

Hotchner’s scenario, gleaned from the prose of 10 of Hemingway’s short stories, traced the path to maturity of Nick Adams. It follows him in his restless, searching pursuit of knowledge and worldly experience with which to build his character, advance his potential, shape his identity and prepare him for his destiny in the higher sphere to which he aspires.

There are a host of fine performances, and a few weak ones. Paul Newman, almost unrecognizable behind a masterfully grotesque yet realistic makeup mask by Ben Nye, re-creates the punchdrunk Battler character. It’s a colorful and compassionate acting cameo.

Other important standouts are Ricardo Montalban as a perceptive Italian officer, Fred Clark as a slick but sympathetic burlesque promoter, Dan Dailey as a down-and-out advance man, Juano Hernandez as the Battler’s devoted watchdog ‘trainer’, and Eli Wallach as a practical but kind Italian Army orderly. Probably the finest performance in the film is Arthur Kennedy’s as Nick’s peace-loving, recessive father. And Jessica Tandy is excellent as the fanatical, domineering mother who leads Kennedy to his self-destruction.

Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man

Production

20th Century-Fox. Dir Martin Ritt; Producer Jerry Wald; Screenplay A.E. Hotchner; Camera Lee Garmes; Editor Hugh S. Fowler; Music Franz Waxman Art Dir Jack Martin Smith, Paul Groesse

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 145 MIN.

With

Richard Beymer Diane Baker Paul Newman Ricardo Montalban Dan Dailey Arthur Kennedy
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