Romance: Hemingway and Marlene Dietrich

Hemingway was a romantic.  Sure, he was macho and tough and a man’s man in many ways, but he enjoyed women greatly and always had a close and loving relationship with Marlene Dietrich.  One of Hemingway’s love letters to her is going up for auction.  It is expected it will garner something in the vicinity of $30 – $40,000.

 

This particular letter is dated August 12, 1952 – a year after Dietrich had confessed to keeping the author’s photograph by her bedside.  They met in 1934 and became quite infatuated with each other but never consummated the attraction because, as Hemingway put it, they were “victims of unsynchronized passion.”  He noted that whenever one of them was out of a relationship the other one was in one and the timing never worked out.

marlene

Hemingway writes in the letter to Marlene “I always love you and admire you and I have all sorts of mixed up feelings about you.”  Later in the letter he declares that while “you are beautiful…I am ugly…please know I love you always and I forget you sometimes as I forget my heart beats.  But it beats always.”

Marlene and Hemingway corresponded over several decades.  Marlene Dietrich’s daughter wrote a book noting that after Hemingway’s death, her mother wore widow’s weeds for quite a while and she always believed that had he been with her, instead of his then wife, Mary, he wouldn’t have killed himself.

So, if I had $30,000+ just sitting around, I might enter the fray and bid on this letter, but I fear I’m going to have to let it go to some other fervent Hemingway fan.

I’ve read many of Hemingway’s letters. They are fun and he is quite funny and clever in them.  His humor rarely comes through in his novels.

 

I think the line that I’ve quoted above – I forget you sometimes as I forget my heart beats.  But it beats always – is so him.  It’s very simple and yet it speaks volumes.

6 Films Portraying Hemingway

Hemingway on film: 6 films that take him from a WWI hotshot almost to the bitter end

Hemingway on film: 6 films that take him from a WWI hotshot almost to the bitter end
Dominic West as Hemingway in “Genius.”

At the end of this post is a link to the article I just read that talks about how Hemingway has been portrayed in film over the last 20 years. He has been written about significantly more than F. Scott Fitzgerald—perhaps because his life was longer and with a few more highs to focus on—but often in film, only one side of Hemingway is emphasized and the total picture of the man doesn’t seem to emerge. He’s either portrayed as a bragging drunkard whose light shown brightest only in his early works or as a macho, thrill-seeking hunter/bullfighting aficionado/fisherman who covered wars and rarely let up on the macho image that blessed and cursed him.

In all of my reading, I have seen another side of him that is very much present. Next to the drunkard braggart, there is also the gentle and insecure man who just wants to be left alone to write. Next to the macho big game hunter is the man who considered his animals part of the family and whom he treated  with caring gratitude and love. When his spaniel Black Dog died, the depression that was already in progress deepened and he said he’d give up all of his fame and money for a case of good claret and “my Black Dog back when he was young and happy again.” And while capable of harshness to all of his wives at moments, he also gave generous support and kind appreciation for what they gave to him, including Martha whom he tended to vilify after the divorce. He readily acknowledged her writing skill and her courage. I don’t see too many of those nuanced aspects of Hemingway being portrayed on film.

In any event, this article talks about the following Hemingway based films:

  1. In Love And War:  Sandra Bullock plays the alter-ego of Agnes Van Kurowsky, Hemingway’s real life love when he was an ambulance driver in Italy. Chris O’Donnell was the Hemingway figure. It was not an intriguing movie.

    In Love and War
    In Love and War

 

  1. The Last Good Country: This is short film portraying Hemingway returning home after World War I, haunted by physical and psychological demons. The film is supposed to be inspired, in part, by Hemingway’s story Big Two-Hearted River. The part of Hemingway is played by Nic Collins and from the reviews, he apparently acquits himself well in portraying the complexity of Hemingway’s war and postwar life.

3. Midnight In Paris: This is Woody Allen’s love film to Paris, but it also shows our stereotypical Hemingway who is portrayed with great fun by Corey Stoll. When Hemingway, apropos of nothing, shouts in a bar, “Does anyone want to fight?” I admit to laughing out loud.

Midnight in Paris
idnight in Paris

4. Genius: This film just came out in June and focuses on Max Perkins, editor extraordinaire to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe. The focus of the movie is on Wolfe, but Hemingway is in it in a few vignettes in which Perkins goes fishing with Hemingway presumably in Key West since this is set in 1929.

  1. Hemingway & Gellhorn: The title is self-explanatory, but was something of a bore. Clive Owen played Hemingway; Nicole Kidman was Martha. Critics found it to be fairly dreadful.

    Hemingway and Gellhorn/ Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman
    Hemingway and Gellhorn/ Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman

 

  1. Papa Hemingway In Cuba: This is also a new movie based on the true story of Hemingway’s friendship with Ed Myers, a young journalist. Reviews were mixed about whether it was not good or whether, as some critics said, “Sparks is superb in the title role and he captures Hemingway’s warmth as well as his irascible nature.”

It’s a fun article and recaps movies in the last 20 years that Hemingway has been captured in.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/hemingway-on-film-6-films-that-take-him-from-a-wwi-hotshot-almost-to-the-bitter-end/ar-AAgU4Vj

Even a bad Hemingway film can be look-worthy.  Love, Christine

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

 

Random Hemingway News

 News in the Hemingway World

                 1.            The 2016 winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award is a young woman name Ottessa Moshfegh. Ms Moshfegh was raised in Newton, MA is being honored for her first novel, “Eileen.” Patrick Hemingway, the son of Ernest Hemingway, presented the award on April 10th in Boston. A $25,000 prize was also awarded to the winner.

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

 

                2.            The Movie “Genius” is coming out with Colin Firth as Hemingway’s Editor Max Perkins. So far the feedback is mixed. The previewers were concerned that the movie lacked passion. If that is the case, I am sorry to hear it. The Perkins/Hemingway relationship is peripheral in the movie. The focus is on Max Perkins’  relationship with Tom Wolfe played by Jude Law. The movie is based on A. Scott Berg’s biography of Perkins.

 

Max Perkins
Max Perkins

                3.            Caterpillar, the maker of tractors and construction equipment, has donated $500,000 to preserve Hemingway’s home in Cuba. The donation was made for the restoration and preservation of documents and artifacts from the home of writer Ernest Hemingway. It will also be used for the construction of the workshop building which will house a laboratory with archived storage facilities near the Hemingway Museum in Havana. Today, the house turned museum preserves a collection of personal objects and documents including books, hunting trophies, guns, letters, photos, a typewriter on which   he tended to write standing up, and the yacht Lel Pilar on which he went fishing and sailed around the Caribbean.

The Finca
The Finca

 

Hemingway’s Only Play: The Fifth Column

War is serious.
War is serious.

 

Ernest Hemingway wrote only one play, “The Fifth Column.” Written in the late 30’s as his relationship with journalist Martha Gellhorn began to take root, the action takes place in Madrid and features an American who is hard drinking and posing as a correspondent although actually he is acting on behalf of the rebels. Much of the action takes place in a room in the Hotel Florida as Franco’s forces surround the city. Hemingway wrote it in the middle of the Spanish civil War and he didn’t know who was going to win the war so he had no benefit of hindsight.

Hemingway and Martha
Hemingway and Martha

 

At the time (1938 was when it was published) Hemingway was already a celebrated novelist. His support was solidly behind republican cause against the Franco forces which were following a fascist path.

 

Martha Gellhorn was a young journalist but she had written a book and was developing a strong reputation as a journalist herself. She’d met Hemingway in Key West and they’d begun an affair and met in Spain again as both covered the war. They later wed but the relationship went sour. They divorced five years later.

 

The play was not particularly well received. The main characters are Philip Rawlings and Dorothy Bridges and the plot raises the issues surrounding the Spanish Civil War as well as the ruthlessness of the rival factions fighting.

 

A young Martha
A young Martha

Actor Simon Darwen is playing Philip Rawlings and he notes, “Rawlings is a guy who is very jaded and very tired and his job is taking a toll on him but there is love for Dorothy. He convinces himself he can’t have her and his work so he makes the choice to be so awful to her that she pushes him away.” Although Martha Gellhorn herself was independent and fearless, Dorothy in this play is clingy, needy, and a bit of a light-weight.

 

Hem relaxed--with the beard
Hem relaxed–with the beard

The play just opened in London so we’ll see if it is better received than the original. It is running until April 15th.     

 

Biopic: Papa: Hemingway in Cuba (Movie)

A trailer has been unveiled for the Papa: Hemingway in Cuba movie. This biopic features the story of a friendship shared between Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, and Ed Myers, a journalist.

Hemingway in Cuba
Hemingway in Cuba

I just viewed the trailer and it looks good to me. It echoes Hemingway’s relationship with his great friend, Aaron Hotchner, although this relationship started later in life. Hemingway, for all of his flaws, often was welcoming to young writers and willing to share his personal time and experiences generously.

Please take a look if you have time. Best, Christine

Movie to be made of “Across the River and Into the Woods”

Plierce Brosnan will bring a little-known Ernest Hemingway novel to the screen, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

adriana and gun

EH2841P nd. Ernest Hemingway and Adriana Ivancich with stuffed lion. Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Copyright unknown in the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
EH2841P nd.
Ernest Hemingway and Adriana Ivancich with stuffed lion. Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Copyright unknown in the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

adriana on boat

hem and her

Across the River and Into the Woods was one of Hemingway’s poorly received books.  It was written while Hemingway was infatuated with Adriana Ivancich who was the prototype for Renata.  It still sold decently and at one point, there was talk of a movie with a very young Sophia Loren as Renata and Gary Cooper as the Colonel.  I liked the book but did not find Renata to be an interesting character or sufficient to draw the intense attention of the Colonel who clearly was partially based on Hemingway himself.  Should be interesting.Hem and Adriana, far right

Adriana type
Adriana type

Film about Hemingway and his boat Captain, Gregorio Fuentes

Hemingway’s boat played an integral role in his story, and now its sister ship is in South Florida and ready to make her film debut.

 

EH 8124P Ernest Hemingway fishing, Key West, 1928. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
EH 8124P Ernest Hemingway fishing, Key West, 1928.
Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

 

What’s Percolating in the Hemingway World?

Mariel
Mariel

I subscribe to a number of RSS feeds and google alerts that keep me posted on all things Hemingway. So here are a few random developments.

1) Mariel Hemingway is producing a movie of Hemingway’s last book, A Moveable Feast, finished after his death and published initially in 1964. (Hemingway died in 1961).

2) Andy Garcia is wrapping up his movie about Hemingway and his boat captain, Gregorio Fuentes.

3) Coming out in the Fall is a possible Oscar contender called GENIUS, about

Max perkins
Max perkins

Hemingway’s editor Maxwell Perkins (played by Colin Firth) and Tom Wolfe (played by Michael Fassbinder).  Dominic West plays Hemingway.  All Brits playing Americans.cadillacinhavana

4) The Cuban government is working on how much access to permit to the Finca Vigia. Right now, the public can peer through windows but cannot go in.

5)Thomasville is having a Hemingway Outdoor furniture collection.

6) A man named Robert Wheeler spent a winter four years ago in Paris, retracing Hemingway’s time there in the early 1920s. He took a camera. And now he’s publishing a book, due out April 7. I can’t wait to se2014-06-16 07.07.40e it.

Furniture from the Thomasville Hemingway collection
Furniture from the Thomasville Hemingway collection

7) Before announcing the winner of the 2015 PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction, Beacon Press director Helene Atwan, administrator of the prize, made note of a major gift from the Hemingway family. The cash prize attached to the award was doubled this year to $20,000. Patrick, Hemingway’s remaining son, was on hand to assist in distributing the awards which took place at the JFK Library, home of he Hemingway Collection.

Patrick Hemingway 2013
Patrick Hemingway 2013, JFK LIBE
Paris 1927
Paris 1927

Possible New Filming Location in Cuba

Hemingway's livingroom
Vigia Finca, Cuba. Hemingway’s Living Room, 60 feet long.

One Stateside filmmaker who recently took advantage of Cuba’s retro look is Bob Yari, who spent a month shooting his Ernest Hemingway biopic “Papa” entirely on location in and near Havana in March and April of 2014.

Cuban Jazz
Cuban Jazz
Pug
I’m a Cuban Pug
The old man and the sea
written in Cuba about Cuba
Close up
A Pensive Hemingway

Now that Cuba has opened a bit, more opportunities for on location filming is possible. The new biopic about Hem’s declining years was just filmed and it sounds like the producer was able to use the actual Cuban locations. However, more of this should be possible in the future.