review for The Old Man and the Sea on AllMovie

The Old Man and the Sea (1958)
by Brendon Hanley review

Though director John Sturges shot The Old Man and the Sea all over the Western hemisphere, his screen adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novella feels like a one-man stage play broken up by some nature footage. Luckily, the lead is one of cinema's most enduring and popular stars, Spencer Tracy. Though the film's narration may be somewhat pretentious, Tracy keeps the character likable and breathes some life into the script. The actor appears to have been bitten by the Method-acting bug that had been going around Hollywood in the 1950s: his intuitive performance suggests "James Dean and the Sea" more than Hemingway's version. The most striking moments are the scenes of the sharks attacking the boat; though Sturges was well known for his classic action movies (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape), two uncredited directors (Fred Zinnemann and Henry King) worked on the film, and it's possible that Sturges was not responsible for the attack.