Tortilla Flat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tortilla Flat Reviews

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½ November 28, 2014
I love John Steinbeck, though I've never red this novel about a a group of immigrants living in the Tortilla Flat district along with Monterey Coast. The film has a great cast with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr (who I'm continuing my obsession with), John Garfield and Frank Morgan (who was my favorite part of the film in an episode involving a dead dog), which is almost enough to get past them playing ethnic parts, though to modern viewers it's quite distracting. Tracy inherits his grandfather's home, which he and his friends then go to live. From there, there's love, tragedy and humor. Like I said earlier, I haven't read the novel, so I don't know how true to the novel the film is to it's source, but taken on it's own, "Tortilla Flat" is an enjoyable, though rather light, slice-of-life story featuring a stellar cast.
October 7, 2012
doesn't hold up well lots of gringos acting like latinos
½ January 24, 2012
The film lags in the middle, but picks-up. Spencer Tracey does a fine job. I guess its worth watching, but don't pay for it..
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2011
The book is filled with so many uneven episodes in the lives of this group of paisanos. The movie picks a handful of these episodes and invents some new ones in an effort to create a sensible story. It is not an easy thing to do. The adapter doesn't choose all of what I would consider to be the better episodes from the book, but there are just too many characters to get to know in less than a two hour time span. Danny (Garfield) is the central character in the book who ties all the friends together, but many of the episodes have very little to do with him and I didn't find him all that charming of a character. Steinbeck seems to have a little confusion about who his main protagonist is. Pilon (Tracy) is the brain and voice of the group of friends, so he is present in most every adventure and the one that I enjoyed reading about most. Spencer Tracy is one of my favorite actors, but he does a terrible job imitating a Mexican-American accent compared to the Portuguese one he used in Captains Courageous. Sweets Ramirez (Lamarr) is given a role of much more bulk in the movie compared to the book. This is mainly to create a stronger romantic plot with Danny. I am glad Hedy Lamarr got this starring female role because there are no female characters with much of a voice in the book, however Danny is still fairly forgettable. Frank Morgan as "The Pirate" was an interesting choice. He wasn't exactly what I expected the character to be, but he was still simple and touching especially when interacting with his dogs. There is not a Latino in the cast of main characters, so everyone is doing bad racial mimicry. Steinbeck has an ear for the way people speak and he did live in areas like where this story is set, but it did not translate well to the screen in the Hollywood environment of the time.
October 25, 2010
John Steinbeck novels have been well translated into terrific films in the past - Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath for example. However, the same cannot be said of Tortilla Flat. Spencer Tracy plays Pilon, a lazy, manipulative Paisano who with his equally lazy, yet infinitely more stupid friends move in on buddy Danny (John Garfield) who has recently inherited two houses from a dead grandfather. Danny is a little slow-witted himself and prone to fighting when drunk or aggravated. He loves Dolores (Hedy Lamarr) a smart woman working in a canning factory. The friends take note that "The Pirate" (Frank Morgan) who lives in a shack with his many canine friends, has plenty of money. Pilon devises a scheme to try to get the money - and spend it, as usual, on wine. But "The Pirate" has more divine intentions for the cash. Pilon is so exaggerated a character he cannot be liked. Danny's character is a tough guy, but still, his naivite was so much, that it was tough to feel pity for him. And why would a girl as good as Dolores be interested in this tool? Frank Morgan is terrific as "The Pirate", but his character is so extremely generous and nice it was hard to believe his trusting nature considering his years and the company that lives nearby. Tortilla Flat is a tough pill to swallow and gets more ridiculous as the film progresses.
June 1, 2009
Gentle comedy of John Steinbeck novel set amongst mexican community of Monterey area in California. Hedy Lamarr, Spencer Tracy and John Garfield all play Mexicans, which takes some getting used to, but the film is really gentle and sweet and has an absolutely extraordinary performance from Frank Morgan as a mysterious hermit who holds court with his dogs. Touching stuff.
March 10, 2009
This is sooo not right.
January 8, 2009
one of the best Hedy's performances. Here she was given a chance to act, and proved she could act, not just stood or walked around being beautiful, (which, honesty, is already enough for me) :))
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2008
Fine performers founder in completely miscast drama.
½ October 23, 2008
"Did you see him? Was it San Francisco? What good dogs you must be to see a vision!" Good good line, and beautiful scene.
May 12, 2008
I really didn't particularly enjoy this movie. I felt like it struggled making connections between the characters. It seemed like it was supposed to be funny but it was really just a little sad. Hedy Lamarr did the best she could as an honest-hardworking woman, but I like some of her more sultry roles more and Danny himself was a pretty bad guy at first.
April 24, 2008
I just finished the book and this movie was a pretty good adaptation of it with a few differences here and there. Spencer Tracy was a great Pilon and Frank Morgan was a perfect Pirate!
½ April 18, 2008
Frank Morgan and his dogs (is that Toto?!) steal the show. Also, there's character actor John Qualen. If you can't buy Spencer Tracy as a Mexican, this probably isn't the film for you.
½ July 4, 2007
The movie started off interesting with some funny dialogue, an interesting romance and a sweet Hedy Lamarr, but I lost interest about half way and the ending was not that great.
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