Hemingway Exhibit at the JFK Library in Boston

 In a post in November, 2015, I noted that the Hemingway exhibit was on display at the Morgan Library in New York City.  It has moved to Boston’s Kennedy Museum, where it will be until December 31st

Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic
JFK elected 1960
JFK elected 1960

As those of you who read this blog know, the largest exhibit on Hemingway’s writings, notes, memorabilia and displays is at the JFK Museum in Boston.  After Hemingway’s death, his widow, Mary, was permitted to return to their home in Cuba to gather up belongings and Hemingway possessions.  Fortunately, she took drafts of manuscripts, letters, notes and all that she could.  John Kennedy had been a fan of Hemingway and, after Hemingway’s death and then President Kennedy’s death, Mary and Jackie Kennedy met and agreed that the planned JFK Library would be the repository of the largest collection of Hemingway writings and memorabilia. 

Patrick Hemingway 2013 at Hemingway Collection
Patrick Hemingway 2013 at Hemingway Collection

I was able to get to the Morgan Exhibit but only briefly while I was in NY at a writer’s conference. I’ll be heading to Boston this summer to view the exhibit in a more leisurely fashion.  

JFK, Hemingway fan.

I’m particularly interested in the drafts of various endings to A Farewell to Arms.  Hemingway apparently penned forty-seven possible endings.  Eight of those are on display at the new exhibit.  I must admit to wishing that Catherine had survived along with the baby, but that’s not the ending Hemingway chose to go with. 

Patrick Hemingway, the only surviving child of Hemingway, was on hand on the opening day of the exhibit in Boston.  He presently makes his home in Bozeman, Montana.  

Jacqueline Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy

 

 

Interesting trivia:  John Kennedy wrote to Hemingway asking permission to use the phrase “Grace under pressure” in the opening of his own profiles in courage.  Hemingway agreed.  Hemingway was, however, too ill to accept President Kennedy’s invitation in January of 1961 to attend the inauguration.  During that year, he killed himself.

The real deal
In Idaho

 

Review of New Movie: Papa Hemingway in Cuba–Not too good

I am sorry to report that one of the early reviews of the new movie with Adrian Sparks as Hemingway and Giovanni Ribisi as Ed Meyers, a young journalist, was pretty sour. Beyond loving the Cuban scenery, the description of the movie as wooden is an “ouch” moment. Instead of flashing back to some of Hemingway’s allure and greatness, it sticks with his last two years, admittedly not his glory days. I would guess, given that time frame, that there is much drunkenness and fights with wife # 4, Mary. So disappointing. Below is the full review. Best, Christine

 

Review

Papa Hemingway in Cuba

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By DAN LYBARGER Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published April 29, 2016 at 1:53 a.m.

Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) can’t summon his muse in Bob Yari’s Papa Hemingway in Cuba, the first Hollywood feature filmed on the island since Castro’s revolution.

 Papa Hemingway in Cuba

68 Cast: Giovanni Ribisi, Adrian Sparks, Joely Richardson, Minka Kelly, Shaun Toub, James Remar, Mariel Hemingway

Director: Bob Yari

Rating: R, for language, sexuality, some violence and nudity

Running time: 109 minutes

Papa Hemingway in Cuba is reportedly the first Hollywood film to be shot on the island since 1959. The Almighty has blessed Cuba with captivating scenery, which belies over a century of human turmoil there. It’s too bad the people who stand in front of this scenery in this film aren’t that interesting.

In real life they might have been, but neither screenwriter Denne Bart Petitclerc, who actually knew the title character, nor director Bob Yari (better known as a producer of Crash and The Illusionist) has anything worthwhile to say about Ernest Hemingway or his time there.

Petitclerc has been dead for 10 years, and it’s easy to see why his script sat on the shelf until recently. If he had any unique insights into the Nobel Prize winner and his writing, none have made it into the final cut of this film.

As played by Adrian Sparks, Hemingway is a famous but drunken has-been. When he’s not fishing, he’s prone to bouts of paranoia and yelling matches with his wife, Mary (Joely Richardson). The writer hangs out with veterans of the Spanish Civil War and appears to have ties to the Cuban Revolution. He’s unable at this point in his 59 years to turn a blank sheet of paper into something magical.

Most of this stuff could be gleaned from a high school literature class or from listening to a barroom blowhard unable to discern truth from fiction. Without having samples from Hemingway’s clipped but often powerful prose, viewers are simply given the impression that he was an obnoxiously pompous bore who liked swimming naked. Petitclerc gives Sparks and Richardson plenty of excuses to yell at each other, but one quickly wonders why anyone ever sought these two out.

Instead of examining the author’s complicated life or re-creating the tension that surrounded the fall of Batista’s Cuba, Petitclerc and Yari decide to rehash the old cliche about never meeting your idols. In this case, Petitclerc’s stand-in for himself, Ed Myers (Giovanni Ribisi), writes Hemingway a fan letter and then hides it because he’s not sure if the note is worthy of the great writer’s time. Ed’s girlfriend (Minka Kelly) saves the letter from the waste basket and sends it to Cuba.

Much of the material seems to have been cobbled together from something that might seem more at home on The Hallmark Channel or Lifetime. On second thought, those movies are delivered with more subtlety and craftsmanship. Many shots seem stiff and clumsy, as if the only prerequisite for a successful take was that the actors were standing and breathing.

The folks behind those quickly made offerings might know better than to cast a 42-year-old as a cub reporter. It’s odd to hear Sparks and Richardson call Ribisi “the kid.”

The Revolution, which has been depicted in great films like The Godfather: Part II, Steven Soderbergh’s Che and Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba, is prime fodder for great drama, but when Ed has to tell Santo Trafficante (James Remar) to his face that he runs the mob in Cuba, it’s a sign that Petitclerc has no idea how to tell the audience who characters are without having to telegraph the fact.

At least we can see why Hemingway loved Cuba; whenever the stiff, profanity-laden dialogue ends and the people leave the landscape, nature reveals an island full of lush vegetation and gorgeous seascapes. It’s also great to see the distinctive architecture, like Havana’s Malecon seawall, and to hear the infectious music that comes from the island. If Yari were a more capable director (this is only his second effort in a 30-something-year career), he might have put the music more prominently in the mix to drown out Petitclerc’s drivel.

MovieStyle on 04/29/2016

Print Headline: Papa Hemingway in Cuba

 

Restoring the Finca Vigia outside Havana : Work to Begin

#HemingwayFincavigia

#Hemingwaycuba

Havana, Cuba (CNN)Ernest Hemingway’s home near Havana is expected to soon receive an infusion of badly needed building supplies from the United States.

 

Before it is too late, actual collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba is happening regarding the restoration of Hemingway’s beloved Cuban home. He lived there for about twenty years. As mentioned in previous posts, he and Mary left many papers and mementos when they were not allowed to return. Apparently, there remain many writings/notes of historical and literary interest even after Mary was permitted to remove some of them  post-Hemingway’s death.

Finca Vigia
Finca Vigia