Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962)

Genres - Adventure, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age  |   Run Time - 145 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

An episodic and uneven film, Adventures of a Young Man emerges on the whole as a moderately successful adaptation of several of Ernest Hemingway's excellent Nick Adams stories. There are a number of factors which keep it from being a better film, one being that stringing together stories in this way can easily lead to a feeling that that is exactly what one has done -- simply strung them together. Neither screenwriter A.E. Hotchner nor director Martin Ritt has found a way around this problem, and so the viewer sometimes feels as if he were watching isolated incidents rather than segments of a cohesive plot. In addition, the tone of these segments sometimes varies widely. But the bigger problem is that the thread that runs through the sections -- the character of Nick Adams -- is rendered uninteresting and uninvolving due to the wooden performance of Richard Beymer. Fortunately, much of the cast surrounding Beymer does solid work, helping to keep both Beymer and the film afloat. Special mention should go to Paul Newman, Dan Dailey, Fred Clark, Jessica Tandy and Arthur Kennedy, who all turn in especially fine work. Susan Strasberg and Diane Baker do the best they can with what they're given, but the former is given far too little of substance and the latter far too little - period. Ritt doesn't bring a cohesive feel to the work, but when he's on, the results are impressive, and the technical aspects of the film are all fine.