The Sun Also Rises (1957 film)

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The Sun Also Rises
Australian film poster
Directed by Henry King
Screenplay by Peter Viertel
Based on The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Starring Tyrone Power
Ava Gardner
Mel Ferrer
Errol Flynn
Cinematography Leo Tover
Edited byWilliam Mace
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • August 23, 1957 (1957-08-23)
Running time
130 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million [1]
Box office$3,815,000 (US rentals)

The Sun Also Rises is a 1957 American drama film adaptation of the 1926 Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name directed by Henry King. The screenplay was written by Peter Viertel and it starred Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer, and Errol Flynn. Much of it was filmed on location in France and Spain as well as Mexico in Cinemascope and color by Deluxe. A highlight of the film is the famous "running of the bulls" in Pamplona, Spain and two bullfights. [2]



A group of disillusioned American expatriate writers live a dissolute, hedonistic lifestyle in France and Spain in the 1920s.


Production notes


Film rights to the novel were sold in the late 1920s for a reported $10,000. These rights were transferred to Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, by the author at the time of their divorce, so he never personally benefited from the sale. [3]

Originally the film was going to be made at RKO, possibly starring Ann Harding. In 1940 agent-producer Charles Feldman bought the rights from Harding's one-time husband, actor Harry Bannister, for a reported $35,000. [3]

In 1948, it was announced Howard Hawks had bought the film rights. He subsequently sold part of his interest to Feldman, but the project did not go beyond the development stage. [4] In 1955, Hawks and Feldman sold the rights of the novel to Darryl F. Zanuck at 20th Century Fox, who still hoped to use Hawks as director. [5] This was part of a deal whereby Feldman sold his interest in a number of projects to Fox – the others included Heaven Knows, Mr Allison , The Wayward Bus and Oh Men! Oh Women!. Of this deal, the rights to The Sun Also Rises were estimated at $125,000. [3]

Zanuck hired Peter Viertel to write the script. [6] Viertel later reflected:

The long lapse of time since the book was published will not cause it to lose its value. The story is ageless. It should renew its impact for our modern generation. It is fascinating in its impressions of Europe after World War I, because so many of these impressions are duplicated again today. [3]


Zanuck wanted the lead played by Gregory Peck, who had previously appeared in several Hemingway adaptations, including the popular The Snows of Kilimanjaro . [7] Jennifer Jones signed to play Lady Brett. [8]

The movie became the first to be produced for Zanuck's own independent production company following his departure from Fox (although Fox would still distribute). [9]

Cinematographer Charles Clarke started filming bullfighting sequences in Pamplona in June 1956. [10]

Henry King signed to direct and Walter Reisch to produce. Jennifer Jones had to pull out from the film because of her commitment to make A Farewell to Arms for her husband David O. Selznick. Dana Wynter and Robert Stack were mentioned as possible leads. [11] Ava Gardner was announced for the female lead, but then pulled out to make Thieves Market with William Wyler, so Susan Hayward was cast in her place. [12]

However, Hemingway insisted that Gardner play Lady Brett so Zanuck went after her and succeeded in getting her to sign. [13] "I am convinced Lady Brett Ashley is the most interesting character I have ever played", said Gardner. [3]

Zanuck later claimed that the casting of Gardner forced the film to be postponed from September 1956 to February 1957. This meant the film could not actually be shot in Pamplona "unless we wanted to shoot a fiesta in the snow". It was decided to film it in Mexico instead. [14]

In February 1957, Tyrone Power signed to play the male lead. [15] Mel Ferrer then joined, followed by Eddie Albert and Errol Flynn. [16] [17] Singer Juliette Gréco was also given a role after being spotted singing in a cafe by Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn. [18]

Walter Reisch withdrew as producer because of his other commitments to Fox and Zanuck decided to produce the movie personally. [19]

Producer Darryl F. Zanuck spotted suit salesman Robert Evans at the El Morocco and decided to cast him as the young bullfighter Pedro Romero in the film. [20] He did this against the wishes of co-stars Ava Gardner and Tyrone Power, as well as Hemingway himself. [21] Zanuck overruled all involved, and Evans – who later became a popular producer himself – used Zanuck's response as the title for his 1994 autobiography, The Kid Stays in the Picture . [22]


Filming started March 1957 in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. [23] (It had been intended to shoot in Pamplona but the trees were not in foliage and the production could not afford to wait.) [3] There was also shooting in Spain and France.

Although Hemingway's novel had an undefined "mid-1920s" setting when it was published in 1926, the film adaptation places the story around 1922. The film uses the song "You Do Something To Me", which was not written until 1929, as a motif.

Zanuck had originally intended to shoot some scenes on the Fox backlot in Hollywood but changed his mind and took the unit to Paris and Biarritz instead. This added an estimated $250,000 to the budget. [24]


Hemingway reaction

Ernest Hemingway saw the film but walked out after 25 minutes stating:

I saw as much of Darryl Zanuck's splashy Cook's tour of Europe's lost generation bistros, bullfights, and more bistros... It's pretty disappointing and that's being gracious. Most of my story was set in Pamplona so they shot the film in Mexico. You're meant to be in Spain and all you see walking around are nothing but Mexicans... It looked pretty silly. The bulls were mighty small for a start, and it looked like they had big horns on them for the day. I guess the best thing about the film was Errol Flynn. [14]

"That was a kind of lousy thing to say about my picture before the reviews came out", said Zanuck:

I think a writer is entitled to criticize if there is a complete distortion. But if he sees that there has been a serious attempt to put his story on the screen, even if it failed in some instances, he doesn't have the right to destroy publicly something he's been paid money for... Over 60% of the dialogue in the picture is out of Hemingway's book... We treated it as something Holy... We showed the script to him and he made some changes. We even showed it to him again after the changes were made... If the picture doesn't satisfy Hemingway he should read the book again... because the book won't satisfy him... I don't think he saw the picture. I think someone told him about it. [14]

Flynn's performance was highly acclaimed and led to a series of roles where he played alcoholics. [25]

Box Office

It made $3 million in its first year of release. [26]


Filmink magazine later wrote that "For the most part, the handling of the movie is wrong, wrong, wrong; indeed, some of it is downright hideous... The treatment is too reverential when it needs to be a film about real, breathing people." [27]

Later version

A later film version of the novel, directed by James Goldstone, was made for American television as a 2-part mini-series in 1984.

See also

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  2. The Sun Also Rises at IMDb.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Schallert, Edwin (June 2, 1957). "Hemingway's 'Sun Also Rises' Filmed After 30-Year Wait". Los Angeles Times. p. F1.
  4. A.H. Weiler (Feb 5, 1950). "Random Notes About People And Pictures: Jed Harris To Direct Film—of Bogart And Bacall—sequel To 'Iwo Jima' B And B: Sequel: Bonanza". The New York Times. p. 93.
  5. Thomas M. Pryor. (Oct 14, 1955). "Hemingway Book Bought For Film: 'Sun Also Rises' Acquired by Zanuck for Fox From Hawks, Who Will Be Director"". The New York Times. p. 22.
  6. Thomas M. Pryor (Jan 9, 1956). "Gene Kelly Ends One Metro Pact: Actor's Exclusive Service Contract Is Replaced by Five-Year Agreement Shaw Screen Play Due Of Local Origin". The New York Times. p. 19.
  7. Hopper, Hedda (January 14, 1956). "Greg Peck Sought as Star of Story by Hemingway". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 12.
  8. Parsons, Louella (February 8, 1956). "The Sun Also Rises for Jennifer". The Washington Post and Times-Herald. p. 32.
  9. Godbout, Oscar (June 21, 1956). "ZANUCK WILL FILM 'CRIMES OF STALIN': Life of Late Soviet Dictator Will Include Data From Speech by Khrushchev On the Story Front Of Local Origin". The New York Times. p. 33.
  10. Godbout, Oscar (June 25, 1956). "SELZNICK TO FILM HEMINGWAY BOOK: Production on 'Farewell to Arms' to Begin January-- Jennifer Jones Will Star 'Sun Also Rises' Planned". The New York Times. p. 19.
  11. Pryor, Thomas M. (October 4, 1956). "FOX NAMES STARS OF 'WAYWARD BUS': Widmark and Gene Tierney to Act in Movie Version of John Steinbeck Novel Welles to Co-Star". The New York Times. p. 29.
  12. Pryor, Thomas M. (December 26, 1956). "SUSAN HAYWARD TO STAR FOR FOX: She Will Appear in 'The Sun Also Rises' Film Under Henry King's Direction Extra! Extra! Of Local Origin". The New York Times. p. 34.
  13. Pryor, Thomas M. (January 29, 1957). "NOVEL BY LEMAY BOUGHT FOR FILM: Unforgiven, About Indian Wars, to Be Produced by Hecht-Hill-Lancaster". The New York Times. p. 27.
  14. 1 2 3 Buchwald, Art. (Nov 29, 1957). "THE GREAT FEUD OF MR. HEMINGWAY AND MR. ZANUCK". Los Angeles Times. p. B5.
  15. Hopper, Hedda (February 26, 1957). "'Boy Friend' Musical Will Have Star Cast". Los Angeles Times. p. 22.
  16. Schallert, Edwin (March 1, 1957). "Mel Ferrer Gets Top 'Sun Also Rises' Role; McCrea 'Walk Tall' Star". Los Angeles Times. p. 19.
  17. Schallert, Edwin (March 12, 1957). "Flynn Joins All-Star Zanuck Cast; Skelton Wester on Schedule". Los Angeles Times. p. 27.
  18. Buchwald, Art (November 23, 1958). "ZANUCK VS. DARRYL". Los Angeles Times. p. B5.
  19. Pryor, Thomas (February 1, 1957). "STUDIO INVESTING IN 35 NEW MOVIES: Warners Announces Outlay of $85,000,000, Voicing Faith in the Industry Change of Title". The New York Times. p. 25.
  20. Hopper, Hedda (April 3, 1957). "Businessman Signs for 'Sun Also Rises'". Los Angeles Times. p. B6.
  21. "Robert Evans biopic studies producer fated to the screen". High Beam Research. May 23, 2003. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  22. Naugle, Judge Patrick (August 4, 2003). "The Kid Stays in the Picture". DVD Verdict . Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  23. Pryor, Thomas M. (March 12, 1957). "'JET PILOT' TO GET TARDY LAUNCHING: Universal Will Release Film Finished by Howard Hughes at R.K.O. in 1949–50 Flynn in Zanuck Film". The New York Times. p. 39.
  24. Pryor, Thomas M. (May 7, 1957). "WRITERS EYE PART OF PAY-TV PROFITS: Guild Will Ask Separate Remuneration for Stories Used on Toll Video Setting for 'Sun Also Rises'". The New York Times. p. 40.
  25. Thomas, Tony and Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 212-213.
  26. "Top Grossers of 1958". Variety. 7 January 1959. p. 48. Please note figures are for US and Canada only and are domestic rentals accruing to distributors as opposed to theatre gross
  27. Vagg, Stephen (December 15, 2019). "The Films of Errol Flynn: Part 6 – The Final Adventures". Filmink.