Islands in the Stream

The strongest thing about this ponderous movie is the redoubtable George C Scott. Basing the character on Hemingway himself as much as upon the Hemingway hero of this late novel, Scott contrives mostly to play Scott; and what makes his performance so interesting is the tension between conscientious craftsmanship and an intelligence too keen to take seriously the whole charade of acting. Set in the Caribbean in 1940, this film about father and sons uncomfortably mixes reflection and action: ageing artist comes to terms with life (during sons' school holidays) and death (heroic self-sacrifice). Scott performs the Hemingway clich├ęs with vigorous conviction, whether trying to catch the big fish, idealising the memory of his first wife, or displaying gruff affection for the obligatory rummy friend. Mostly it's heavy going, though, especially Schaffner's direction, which languishes in the tropical sun as it did with Papillon.

Release details

Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Franklin J Schaffner
Screenwriter: Denne B Petitclerc
Cast: George C Scott
David Hemmings
Gilbert Roland
Susan Tyrrell
Richard Evans
Claire Bloom
Julius Harris
Hart Bochner
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