Islands in the Stream
(1977) An American artist named Thomas Hudson has retired to an island in the Bahamas where he sculpts, fishes, and drinks. When his three sons from two ex-marriages come to spend the summer with him he starts to think and feel again.
This movie is based on the book of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. It was the first book released by his wife after Hemingway’s death in 1961 (at age 61.)
When I saw the title of the movie I thought it might be Dolly and Kenny, you know, back when they looked like themselves. Then in the opening credits I saw it was Hemingway’s.
George C. Scott is excellent as Tom, Papa, Captain, Hemingway’s alter ego … in particular as the father who lovingly re-connects with his three boys. The segment when his middle son hooks a giant marlin is very reminiscent of ”The Old Man and the Sea.” “Islands in the Stream” was actually written first, around 1950-51, discovered after the author died.
I loved seeing Gilbert Roland as Captain Ralph. It was one of his last movies. And also the beautiful Claire Bloom as the ex-wife that Hudson really did love. She is still acting and played Queen Mary in “The King’s Speech.”
The scenery and the house right on the water were gorgeous. I read that the movie was filmed in Hawaii.
So, what is the World War II connection? The story takes place in 1940 on the island of Bimini, incidentally where Hemingway lived from 1935 to 1937. The islanders can see freighters that have been torpedoed by the U-boats burning on the horizon. Jewish refugees are straggling in from Europe, trying desperately to get to a safe haven, the U.S. or to Cuba.
I didn’t particularly like the ending but I cried … if that’s what they wanted, they got it.
I’ve had a lot of luck to have such a life. I wish there were some way to pass on what I’ve learned though. My God, I was learning fast there at the end.