Jun 5, 2012

Wolcott on Hemingway & Gellhorn

'Owen’s Hemingway has nothing of Nick Adams in his harmonium. He’s on high alert every moment, a predator in pursuit of other predators, bullying and brazening his way to the center of attention, barking out epigrams and instructions (“There’s nothing to writing, Gellhorn--all you do is sit down to your typewriter and bleed”), a life-force that never lets up. He writes like he fucks and he fucks like he drinks and he drinks like he fights and he fights like he fucks, and all this ferocity do get wearisome. Sexually, Hemingway and Gellhorn get on like a house afire, literally. Their first torrid fusion occurs during a bombing raid in the Spanish Civil War, their nude bodies in D. H. Lawrence primal eros embrace lit by the flames outside the window as ash and falling plaster fall like angel fluff in benediction. Pretty tough act to top, but later we see them grab a quickie in the wardrobe room of a Cuban showgirl troupe, the camera ogling the sumptuous rears and breasts of the showgirls as they change costumes as Hemingway and Gellhorn continue doing the locomotion. When the film cuts from this furtive, tropical coupling to a closeup of a hummingbird dipping its long beak into a flower, I didn’t know whether the laugh it got from me was intended or if Kaufman had lost his mind, thought he was doing something arty.' — James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

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