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: John Huston and Hemingway :

an excerpt by Jeffrey Meyers


Andrew Sarris called Huston "a Hemingway character lost in a Dostoyevsky novel."  Norman Mailer-who portrayed Huston as Charles Eitel in The Deer Park (1955)- observed that he is "the only celebrated film artist to bear comparison with Hemingway.  His life celebrates a style more important to him than film."  In an interview Huston said of Hemingway, "I was very influenced by his writing and by his thinking. . . . His values, his reassessment of the things that make life go."  These suggestive statements merely hint at the striking parallels between the two men.  Both sought to live a life filled with the action, adventure, and romance they created in their work.  Keen sportsmen who courted danger and took risks, they enjoyed early success, cultivated a Byronic persona, and knew the satisfactions of celebrity and the perils of fame. Hemingway's character, virile ethos, and code of honor strongly influenced Huston, whose best films can be thematically defined by Hemingway's titles: Men Without Women and Winner Take Nothing.



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