Steve Simels
August 23, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hemingway’s famous fish story makes its video debut here, and fortunately, it’s been letterboxed; as seen previously on TV in pan-and-scan form, it might as well have been called Just the Old Man. However, even restored to its original dimensions, The Old Man and the Sea is still not very good; essentially, it’s a slow-moving, low-rent Moby Dick with portentous voice-overs and unconvincing process shots of Spencer Tracy in a studio tank. In fact, why director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven) bothered to make it remains a mystery. As one wag put it at the time, it’s a literary property as suited to film as ”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” C

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