The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
Log in with Facebook
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Already have an account? Log in here
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
No consensus yet.
No consensus yet.
All Critics (11)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (0)
| Rotten (11)
| DVD (2)
What Hemingway wrote as an interlude of amorous flutes and distant drums, Producer David 0. Selznick has scored for brass.
Perhaps what is most irritating about the film is that too many times an exciting scene of Hemingway's is shucked out in favor of a distressingly inferior one invented (if I may indulge the Muse a moment) by Ben Hecht, who is responsible for the script.
Sweep and frankness alone don't make a great picture; and Farewell suffers from an overdose of both.
This film, for all its size and color, doesn't do much more by Hemingway's book than was done by the sentimental version of it played by Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper some twenty-five years ago.
A padded Ben Hecht script and Selznick's invariable tendency to overkill are equally to blame.
The exaggerated production values overrun everything, including director Charles Vidor, who hardly seems to know which way to turn.
This attempt to make the audience feel what the lovers were feeling failed because even to the least experienced in love it was plainly an artificial and external alteration.
An overblown Hollywood extravaganza that was universally condemned when first released and hasn't improved with age.
Selznick's last film as producer is a vastly disappointing remake of the superior 1932 version of Hemingway's novel, a sentimental, overblown production with stiff performances from Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones.
One of David O. Selznick's many attempts to shape his lady-love Jennifer Jones' largely immutable mug into the face that launched a thousand cinematic ships.
We have David O. Selznick to blame for this bloated two-hour-plus Technicolor remake.
First, David O. Selznick was "Gone with the Wind", and now he's finally getting around to bidding "A Farewell to Arms". Seriously though, Selznick is back to produce yet another high-scale and romantic war melodrama, although, compared to "Gone with the Wind", this film is about as long as, well, the adaptation of this Ernest Hemingway classic that they made back in 1932. Now, with that said, you can leave it to Selznick to take something that was once made into 85-minute-long pseudo-filler, and turn it into a two-and-a-half-hour-long epic... I guess. I don't know if epic filmmaking was that big of trait for the producer, but you know that they're trying to get you to think of "Gone with the Wind" with this film. That was probably not great for Selznick's marriage to Jennifer Jones, because she shouldn't be in this film with Clark Gable on the brain, seeing as how even Rock Hudson, alone, is more than a few stones above Selznick. Man, with "Giant", and then this film, Hudson was really getting into sprawling romantic epics towards the end of the '50s, probably because he wanted to spend as much time as he could showing himself with a woman. Man, this film is cheesy that it might have added to the rumors regarding Hudson's sexuality, but hey, at least it's entertaining, even though it isn't exactly unique.
I was expecting this to be something of a formulaic Hollywood war drama, and sure enough, throughout this sprawling affair, nearly nothing new occurs, leaving predictability to set in, even if you're not already familiar with Ernest Hemingway's classic material. Really, I can't see this film doing a great amount of justice to Hemingway's story, because if nothing else defuses the momentum of this melodrama, it's all of the cheesiness, reflected partly in some lame comic relief, and largely in dialogue that ranges from flat to admittedly unbelievably bad, and whose missteps are recurrent throughout the film, aggravating you and trying your patience, while superficializing the depths of this conceptually heavier subject matter. The glaring missteps in dialogue within Ben Hecht's script are but heights in its gross Hollywood misguidance, because among the tropes hit by this film time and again is Hollywood superficialities and dated dramatic sensibilities, which take the guts out of this promising drama, and make the histrionics harder to embrace in the context of this narrative. I certainly prefer the war segments to the overwrought romance segments, but it doesn't seem as though this film can ever escape overt romanticism that tests believability through manufactures conflicts and overblown melodramatics which cause momentum to fall, though not without help from overblown structuring. This film manages to keep itself pretty busy throughout its course of two-and-a-half hours, so it's never bland, but it might end up finding too much to do, until it loses a sense of progression and conflict at times, or simply wears the audience down when it goes backed by such superficial handlings of material. There's so much value to the concept of this film, and the execution does a lot of things very well, but whenever it gets the chance, this melodrama tries your patience, with conventions, cheese, superficialities and, of course, excess, until the final product falls short of, not simply what it could have been, but rewarding. Still, with plenty of patience, many are sure to be reasonably engaged, and thoroughly entertained, thanks to the film's always working to keep things lively.
Now, when I claim that this 1950s Hollywood epic is wholly unoriginal, you know that nothing is new within Mario Nascimbene's score, yet the film's soundtrack is recurrent and consistently delivers on some sort of perk, highlighted by a sweep that goes matched by Oswald Morris' colorfully light, yet grandly scoped cinematography. The cinematography at least gives you a fine view of the art direction by Mario Garbuglia (Do you think the art departments could use some Italians?) which is, of course nothing unique, but rich and dynamic enough to sell the setting and scale of this war melodrama, just as the performers help in selling what material they can. Well, honestly, I prefer the war segments to the romance segments partly because the beautiful Jennifer Jones doesn't simply not help in selling the hokey material, but makes it all the worse with her cloyingly flamboyant and unconvincing performance, - punctuated by surprisingly solid power in her final scenes - and because just about all of the supporting players during the war segments are surprisingly effective, with some stealing the show from Rock Hudson, who remains endearing in his charisma and sound dramatic touches, even if he can't quite hold up chemistry with the generally flat Jones. The leads' unequal abilities make it even more difficult to buy into the romantic dramatics which should play a large factor in the engagement value, thus, what effectiveness there is hinges on the directorial performance of Charles Vidor, whose sentimentality exacerbates the sting of the melodramatics, but reflects color within Vidor's efforts that frequently entertains, until realization is found, resulting in moments of resonance, especially during a powerful final act which, honestly, is more than the film deserves on the whole. Vidor's efforts are far from outstanding, but they're certainly superior to Ben Hecht's efforts as screenwriter, so much so that without all of the messy writing, this film could have perhaps rewarded, as its engagement value already has a solid head-start, thanks to a worthy story concept. Though excessive in a number of ways, this film at least attempts to capture the layers and scope of Ernest Hemingway's classic novel, and it's hard to hold a melodrama like that too far back, for Hemingway wrote a gripping modernist narrative that, loosely based on personal experiences, married real struggles with rich romanticism, and established sound potential for an epic film. This adaptation is ambitious, but ultimately relatively flat, but only relatively, for although there are many a misguidance, the intrigue of the subject matter itself, brought to life by many a highlight in storytelling, at least bring the final product to the brink of rewarding.
When it is finally time to bid farewell, consistent conventions, cloying cheese, and glaring Hollywood superficialities dilute the effectiveness of the melodrama, while momentum is shaken so greatly by the excessive structuring that the final product wears itself down to an underwhelming point, but just barely, for grand scoring, cinematography and art direction, generally effective performances, and colorful and sometimes resonant direction bring enough life to Ernest Hemingway's excellent subject matter to bring Charles Vidor's "A Farewell to Arms" to the border of rewarding, despite the flaws which still hold it a ways back.
2.75/5 - Decent
Just okay version of Hemingway story suffers from overlength although it has fine production values. Rock is pretty good in the lead. Jennifer Jones less so as Catherine, affected and rather bland.
There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.