|Posted: 13 March 2006 at 5:09pm | IP Logged
I remember seeing FWTBT as a kid when it first out.
My first impression of watching the movie a year or so ago, this time as a Hemingway aficionado, was that it follows the book so well. I have an awful habit of reading a book first and then seeing the movie and comparing the two. I’m a Libra and I have to do that even though the comparison between the two art forms is not fair.
I believe that Hemingway was writing with the movies in mind maybe not as a primary motive but definitely as a secondary motive. He had already enjoyed movie success with A Farewell to Arms and he was at a stage in his life where he could use the extra money: three kids, two Xs, a farm, a boat and a new, young wife to support.
During my commute I am currently reading Hemingway and his Conspirators by Leonard J. Leff. I’ve just started the book but I did a look ahead and there’s only one mention of FWTBT but the book is about Hollywood, Scribners and the making of American celebrity culture.
The Maria character “…was based on a lovely, dignified young Spanish nurse whom Ernest had met at a coastal hospital near Barcelona in the spring of 1938.” [The Hemingway Women page 334] and her personality was an amalgam of Hemingway’s wives and other women friends. The Robert Jordan character is an amalgam of Hemingway.
Based on these facts, I wouldn’t say that he wrote Maria’s character with Ingrid Bergman in mind. But the movie$ were all the time in his subconscious and he could well have been thinking of an actor and actress to play these parts. My inclination would be that Hemingway thought more about Gary Cooper playing the Robert Jordan part than Ingrid Bergman playing the Maria part. After all, Gary Cooper had already starred in one Hemingway film: A farewell to Arms, the 1932 release. And, Hemingway and Cooper were drinking and hunting buddies.