the 1957 screen adaption of ernest hemingway's "the sun also rises" is disastrously blasphemous to a great book of its time and spirit. the basic storyline remains but other essential elelments get neglected and altered to fit into the patriachic social norm. and it even betrays the book's aloof nihilism by having its characters praying for a god, puritanically sanitized. further, it mars one of the earliest quitessential feministic characters in the field of american literature, brett ashley, by degrading her as a man-worshiper instead of its original portrait as the phallic woman with a defiant attitude of sexual liberation. hemingway's central core is based on an aimless existentialistic quest after the first world war, loss of belief in conventions for genders, church and social norm. and the scriptor seems retarded enough to eliminate every crucial line in the novel then create a tear-jerking mediocre romance.
the original story in the novel would be: a postwar veteran journalist jake barnes who suffers from his love for a promiscuious woman named brett ashley. due to his wound from the war, he cannot have her due to physical impotency so he bitterly witnesses everyone around him carnally involved with her. then this woman sleeps with a jew named robert cohn whom he secretly comtempts, so this impotent loser schemes to revenge the jew by introducing this floozie to a bullfighter she has an immediate crush on, who is young enough to be her son. then the jew gets pissed so he smacks everyone to make a scene and be dismissed by brett. the other characters include jake's fishing pal bill who provides him solace of healthy companionship and the alcoholic fiancee of brett's,mike, who is a bankrupt hedonist with a sardonic sense of humor. eventually brett needs jake's money to leave the young bullfighter, so he rushes chivalrically to rescue her out of jam, and the story ends with brett uttering affectionate words like "we could have had a nice time together" while the man replies "isn't it pretty to think so?" both drenched in imaginary dreaminess as if the war didn't take jake's potency.
the movie chooses to beautify jake so it could be a star vehicle for tyrone power, and ava gardner's brett craves for jake but jake refuses to accept her due to his "inferior complex"..and jake doesn't descend as a pimp in the movie...and cohn is not a jew in the movie. (anti-semiticism is not a wholesome idea to sell.)it totally betrays the original spirit of gender reversal since brett should be the aggressive one who just wanna sex then depart; jake would be the submissive one who is always awaiting her return...the movie finishes with her begging him to take her together and some dialogues added: "is there some way out of it?" "there must be an answer to it!" so suddenly hemingway's lost bohemians now yearn for a god to solve things???
the best acting surprisingly belongs to errol flynn whose humorous tone and drunk demeanors are adequate to the novel's depictions. so one star for flynn, one star for ava gardner's wardrobe and one star for its vivid cinematography. the rest stinks!
hemingway's viewpoint would be the real hero is the bullfighter who rises up repeatedly after being beaten up by a jew(in the movie, the bullfighter just gets knocked down without rising back.), managing to continue his sacred career of bullfighter while he still carries the wound. but the director chooses a fresh-faced lad named robert evens to play this character, and it aggravates hemingway so deeply that he forms league with tyrone power, ava gardner and eddie albert together to protest to the studio, somehow evens still stays since the director says "the kid stays in the picture"...after his clumsy performance, evens realizes he has no "it" as an actor so he decides to become a producer then reaches glorious success of a series of masterpieces like "chinatown", "rosemary's baby", "godfather"....etc. and it's all recorded in the documentary "the kid stays in the picture"...i suggest audience either chooses to read the book of "the sun also rises" or watch robert evens' life story.