The Sun Also Rises ★★★★

Henry King's The Sun Also Rises really works. It may have no acts, no real plot, no real momentum, but it works. Ernest Hemingway with Hollywood sheen. Crisp prose given languorous shade.

A long first-sequence, from a journalists day-job, to a night on the town, to Ava Gardner ransacking your sleep at 4:30am. The first 50 minutes of the film is gloriously good fun, light jazz, sweating, pernod, flirting and melancholic dancing. It lays the film out: Tyrone Power was injured in the war, which has led to his impotence, meaning he is running around believing in his lost generation. Since he won't marry Ava Gardner, she drinks. Mel Ferrer. Power's best friend, sees Gardner, and like the audience, falls in love. The night swirls and hazes.

Then, the second sequence: Errol Flynn and the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Flynn welcome, bullfighting (which is pretty gross) less so. Flynn is gloriously good in the movie, drunken, and funny, energetic. He looks like a ravaged George Sanders and is shockingly still in his 40s, but he is great. I had never seen a latter-day Flynn performance before, but he has so much screen charisma, I'd like to see more.

Both Power and Flynn would be dead less than a few years after this film was completed, meaning it feels like an end of era studio movie. Exotic, warm, sunny end of days. Power and Flynn, formerly handsome, Gardner, still stunning.

The Sun Also Rises is a really good film. It does nothing. It doesn't say anything. But it lives in the moment and has character, and Hollywood glamour, and sadness and fun.