Hemingway on Screen
Written by: Christine K.
If you have been reading The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 2, you know that the author has led a life that was far from boring. Between that and his larger than life persona, it is no wonder that a fictionalized Hemingway has popped up in several television shows and movies. Below is a list of five of our favorite moments of Hemingway on screen.
5. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Tales of Innocence
A young Indiana Jones and a young Ernest Hemingway meet in WWI Italy and end up inadvertently courting the same young woman. Hemingway gives the romantically inexperienced Jones some ridiculous advice about women and writing. He also has a habit of calling Jones “Dumb head.” Skip ahead to 6:43 for Hemingway masterfully playing the cello. Then Jones rocks out on the oboe. Classic.
4. Animaniacs: Papers for Pappa
This bit dodged the bullet of last place merely because it is the only children’s television show I know to reference Alice B. Toklas.
3. In Love and War
Here’s another look at a smitten young Hemingway, this time played by an affable Chris O’Donnell in what looks like a sweeping romantic epic directed by Richard Attenborough. Everyone’s favorite actress Sandra Bullock plays Hemingway’s first love Agnes von Kurowsky.
2. Midnight in Paris
In this recent offering from Woody Allen, Owen Wilson plays a rather hapless and earnest time traveler who stumbles upon Hemingway and the other literary greats. There are two memorable Hemingway moments in the film. One where he dispenses with literary advice and another in which he ruminates upon love and death. I find this Hemingway a bit too fast-talking and too much like Woody Allen himself. It is a caricature, but a thoughtful one.
1. Hemingway & Gellhorn
This is perhaps the first time that Hemingway has appeared as a completely three dimensional character. This HBO movie isn’t a romanticized image of the author. Though Clive Owens is a little too pretty to play Hemingway at this period in his life, Owen’s Hemingway is temperamental and brash and in the same breath, gentle and devoted and brilliant. The movie also brings more attention to the life of Martha Gellhorn, and rightfully so.
Editor’s Note: For more on Hemingway’s letters, visit The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 2 (1923-1925).