Ernest Hemingway was not only one of the favorites of the universal readers in the 30s, 40s and 50s, but also of Hollywood film producers who decided to move their sets to the Caribbean and use their arguments.
Historians of the Californian Mecca of Cinema discovered that because of the Second World War, Hollywood couldn’t afford real locations for pictures with exotic settings. Then producers moved the scenes of their films to Mexico, the Caribbean, and finally to Europe.
One of the results of the Hollywood decisión was probably to boost the great tourist industry of the Caribbean region, which was then in its infancy.
In addition, they made another happy find. Hemingway’s novels were so international that sold very well all over the planet, specially his Caribbean’s novels.
The Hollywood version of To Have and Have Not (1944) was filmed in Florida’s Key West and Martinique, and it was the only time two Nobel prize-winners were credited on a Hollywood film, Hemingway as author of the original novel and William Faulkner as scriptwriter.
Hollywood thus opened a new path to literature in the cinema in the middle of an era of unforgettable artists such as Humphrey Bogart and Errol Flynn extraordinary in plots of adventures.
Hemingway made his home in Cuba and Key West. In those islands he wrote some of his most enduring stories: A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, To Have and Have Not and For Whom the Bell Tolls, all later made into classic films.
The star of To Have and Have not, Humphrey Bogart, was still enjoying the success of Casablanca, made two years earlier, when he starred in his Caribbean film with what would later be his wife, Lauren Bacall. Errol Flynn s Captain Blood hit the silver screen in 1935. It brought him stardom and a first taste of the Caribbean.
The Havana scenes in Mankiewicz’s 1955 film version of Frank Loesser’s musical Guys and Dolls, with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra, were set in the Cuba capital, but were actually realized on a Hollywood sound stage.
It did not happen with Cojimar, a suburb of Havana where actually were filmed the Hollywood film version of Hemingway’s evocative novella The Old Man and The Sea. A bust of Hemingway stands in the coastal town.
Hemingway himself can be glimpsed as a spectator in one brief flashback scene, an arm-wrestling fight involving the hero, Santiago, played by Spencer Tracy.
Many of the movies filmed in the Caribbean seem unforgettable. Here are some of the most famous.
The 007 Dr. No. was filmed on the island of Jamaica. In Casino Royale, after receiving a license to kill, James Bond (Daniel Craig) spends time at the luxurious One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas.
The Beatles Help! was shot in London, Salisbury Plain, the Austrian Alps, New Providence Island and Paradise Island in the Bahamas and Twickenham Film Studios, beginning in the Bahamas on 23 February 1965.
The movie “Lord of the Flies” was shot around Puerto Rico, including Aguadilla, Vieques and El Yunque. Fans of Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman will remember Papillon, shot on Devil’s Island in French Guiana.
And the very popular Pirates of the Caribbean films have shot in the Caribbean Islands St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tortuga, Dominica, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico.