Did Hemingway Have a Favorite Wife? Part 1: Hadley

Did Hemingway have a favorite wife?  Of course he did.  (But the others are interesting women, too.)

 

This will be a five-parter.   If you’re a Hemingway buff, you’ll know without asking who the fifth part will be about. If you’re a more casual observer, you’ll learn it here.

 

Hemingway actually had four wives:  Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn, and Mary Walsh. Of the four, three were from the St. Louis area.  Only Mary was from elsewhere—Minnesota actually. Hadley was the great love of his life, in my opinion. Surely in retrospect, based on A Moveable Feast, she was.

Hadley and Hem were married on September 3, 1921 in Horton Bay, Michigan, and they spent their honeymoon at the family summer cottage, which featured significantly in Hemingway’s early short stories.  Hemingway’s biographer, Jeffrey Meyers, noted in his biography that, “with Hadley, Hemingway achieved everything he had hoped for with Agnes:  the love of a beautiful woman, a comfortable income, a life inEurope.” (Agnes as in Agnes Von Kurowsky, his nurse in Italy who was the prototype for Catherine Barkley) He called her Tatie or Hash.

While the Hemingways had little money as they headed to Paris, Hadley’s modest trust fund sustained them. They had a small apartment, as well as a rented studio for Hemingway’s work, plus an abundance of expatriot and European friends, most of whom were writers.  Gertrude Stein’s salon was nearby and she was a mentor, although ultimately there was a falling out. 

 

The great drama of their marriage occurred in December, 1922, when Hadley was traveling alone to Geneva to meet Hemingway there (he was covering a peace conference), and Hadley lost a suitcase filled with Hemingway’s manuscripts.  One can only speculate about what impact this ultimately had on his writing.  At the time, he was devastated.  As any writer knows, you can never recreate the first cut. However, scholars opine regularly about whether the loss enabled him to start from scratch and do a better job or whether it was an irreplaceable loss. Clearly, he did okay despite . . .

Pamplona

Still, Hadley was there at the beginning before he was the famous Ernest Hemingway. She was there during the ever-productive Paris years, which proved to be a touchstone gift that kept on giving. She funded his ability to write in Paris, enabling him to eventually at warp speed finish the first draft of The Sun Also Rises in six weeks 

 To Hadley’s dismay and hurt, she never figured significantly as a character in any of Hemingway’s books, which did tend to be based on actual people in his life.  The new fictional memoir, The Paris Wife, paints Hadley as wounded that she was written out of The Sun Also Rises while starring Lady Brett Ashley, who’s based whole hog on Lady Duff Twysden.  

Hadley settled into married life as a wife and mother, but trouble was near. She and Hem met the charming Pfeiffer sisters.  Although initially Hemingway thought Jinny was the more attractive, it was the petite Pauline, a writer for Paris Vogue, who ultimately captured his attention.  As Pauline played the role of loyal, jokey pal to both Ernest and Hadley, she set her cap for Hem and he fell hard.

Now it was Hadley’s turn to be devastated. Still, Hadley graciously accepted Hemingway’s offers of the royalties fromThe Sun Also Rises as child support and alimony.  At the time, she had no way of knowing whether those would amount to anything.  Of course, the rest is history.  Hadley and Hemingway divorced in January of 1927.  The Sun Also Rises was published shortly before the final formal divorce.  Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer in May of 1927.  When The Sun Also Rises was made into a film, profits from the film also went to Hadley.  

Hadley and Hemingway remained friendly throughout their lives.She and Hem didn’t socialize, but they were in touch regarding their son, Jack, who was known in the family as Bumby).

Hadley stayed on in France until 1934.  Paul Mowrer was a foreign journalist for the Chicago Daily News.  She’d known him since the spring of 1927.  Mowrer was no light weight himself, having received the Pulitzer Prize as a foreign correspondent in 1929.  Hadley and Paul married inLondonin 1933.  The Mowrers ultimately moved to a suburb ofChicago.

After the divorce from Hemingway, Hadley saw Ernest once again.  She and Paul Mowrer ran into him while vacationing inWyoming.  Hadley died on January 22, 1979 inLakeland,Florida.  She is the grandmother of Mariel and Margaux Hemingway, who are the children of Jack/Bumby.

Did Hem have a favorite wife? Hell, yes. Her name was Hadley.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/10/hadley-freeman-richardson-ernest-hemingway

 

Hemingway and the Movies

Hemingway’s big novels have all been made into movies, some several times. He

Saturday Night at the Movies

claims to have hated to go to see his books as cinema. Aside from enjoying the paycheck that came with the adaptations, (he was paid $ 80,000 for A Farewell to Arms in 1932, which was an enormous sum in those day and $ 150,000 for the rights to The Old Man and the Sea in 1958) he was disturbed to see the ending of A Farewell to Arms altered in the first movie version.  Death is apparently unacceptable and well, a downer, we know, but that was the true ending. David O. Selznick did better in the 1955 version but Hem was still not thrilled. The entire production of The Old Man and the Sea was a frightening tug of war among all involved.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Hollywood only made the kind of pictures that people wanted to see and the public had bad taste”, Hem opined.

Still, over fifteen of his short stories and novels were adapted for movies, and Hemingway became a Hollywood star leading to a major gripe he had with Hollywood: that it had no respect for his need for privacy and he became a product available for  marketing or, put less benignly, image exploitation. He did not like that one bit.

Frustration!

A few of the novels/short stories that were made into film were:

A Farewell to Arms (1932): Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes ( The ending was changed so that Catherine lived.  More recent adaptation called In Love and War with Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell.

For Whom the Bell Tolls(1943): Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman

Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as Robert and Maria

 

To Have and Have Not (1944): Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952): Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Susan Hayward.  Ending changed so that Gregory Peck lives.

The Sun Also Rises (1957): Ava Gardner, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn.

The Old Man and the Sea(1958): Spencer Tracy. Anthony Quinn and Tracy had lobbied hard for the role and Tracy won out. Hemingway thought he was too portly for the role of the gaunt Santiago. This movie was two years in development and another two years in production. It was beset with troubles upon troubles despite being a one character story. Hemingway’s contempt for Hollywood was well known but he reacted badly to the first screenplay by Paul Osborn which eliminated all flashbacks and narration and added whole new scenes.  Hemingway insisted that Osborn be replaced by Peter Viertel, who had adapted the Sun Also Rises to the screen.  Hemingway was named technical advisor. The movie ultimately garnered respect and Academy Award nominations but not before Spencer Tracy almost walked off the set, started drinking during the filming, and tore up a bar with Hemingway.

Spencer Tracy as Santiago

 

Ultimately, Hemingway was cynical about Hollywood and his literature. He once said “that the best way for a writer to deal with Hollywood was to meet the producers at the California state line, throw them your book, they throw you the money. Then you jump into your car and drive like hell back the way you came.” Oliver. A Hemingway Retrospective.

All was not a loss however. He met Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, Howard Hawkes, and Ingrid Bergman, who all became close friends, especially Gary Cooper.

Next post, I’m going to suggest who could play these roles in modern versions. I have ideas and am interested in yours!

I love a good movie!

 

 

 

 

Answers to Trivia Test

Real aficionados will find this so easy but casual readers . . .  not so much. Answers below!

trivia contest ready
Mary’s book

1)        Which Hemingway novel(s) were made into movies (Check all applicable)

  1. The Sun Also Rises   YES
  2. Old Man and the Sea  YES
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls  YES
  4. A Farewell to Arms   YES

2)        Number of wives

  1. Three
  2. Four   X
  3. Five
  4. Two

Bonus point for first names  (Hadley, Pauline, Martha, Mary)

3)        What was Hemingway’s nickname for the Nobel Prize for Literature?  THE IGNOBLE PRIZE

4)        What animals populated his Cuban home?  CATS

5)        As a writer, was the Hemingway the type to:

  1. get it down right the first time with few revisions or
  2. did he revise extensively  YES

6)        Famous couples in his books

  1. Jake and ?  (BRETT)
  2. Robert Jordan and ?  (MARIA)
  3. Frederic and ?  (CATHERINE)
  4. the Colonel and ? (RENATA)

7)        What was Hemingway’s personal nickname from the time he was 27?  PAPA

8)        Which book was Hemingway’s memoir and love story to the city of Paris? A MOVEABLE FEAST

9)        In what state was Hemingway born?  ILLINOIS

10)    In what state did Hemingway die?  IDAHO

11)    Where do Hemingway’s original papers and most of his memorabilia reside? THE KENNEDY LIBRARY

12)    To whom did Hemingway say “Never mistake movement for action.” MARLENE DIETRICH

13)    Who was Hemingway’s closest Hollywood friend, starred in one of his movies, and who “made it to the barn” (their slang for ‘died’) before Hem, much to Hemingway’s grief.  GARY COOPER

14)    Who said that Hemingway needs a new woman for each new book?  F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

Marlene