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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 27 October 2007
This is an oddity in Michael Palin's celebrated series of travel programmes for the BBC. Unlike the others, which generally consist of the courageously chipper Palin travelling by any means necessary from one set location to another, this one is basically just Palin going to various places that have been associated in one way or another with Ernest Hemingway. As a result, the drama of shows like 'Around the World in 80 Days', 'Full Circle' or 'Pole to Pole' is lacking; Palin simply roams around the world as the course of Hemingway's life takes him.

It becomes clear that the legendarily macho Hemingway is a bit of a hero for the apparently mild-mannered Palin, which at first seems surprising, but when you consider some of the more manic turns Palin produced as a member of the Python team (such as the neurotic barber who dreamed of being a tough and manly albeit transvestite lumberjack, or the various savage impersonations he did of a repressed accountant) it becomes more understandable. Moreover, Palin went on to write a novel, 'Hemingway's Chair', about a suburban English middle-class guy who develops an ultimately suicidal identification with Hemingway. Clearly, Palin is not free from demons.

However, this show also falls down in its persistent refusal to take those demons seriously. The tone throughout is one of constant mild silliness, which starts out being amusing but which, when you realise it's to disguise the lack of real content, soon becomes annoying. The only moments of real interest are where Palin's more-than-geekish enthusiasm for and knowledge of Hemingway become apparent, and these moments don't happen often. It's as if the programme-makers were embarrassed by how passionate Palin is (or was) about Hemingway.

I love watching Palin's travel shows - we even have a word for them in our house, 'michalpalin', pronounced (with the stress on the second syllable, mik-AL-pa-lin) as if they were a drug that, at the end of a long day, soothes, stimulates and restores one's interest in the wide world, which is the effect of most of the shows Palin has done. Not this one, though. It's only mildly interesting, and was a sign that Palin and his team were running out of ideas.

Fortunately, they got it back. 'Himalaya', his most recent show apart from the current one, was a return to the old intrepid style of one polite comic actor/writer against the elements, and gripping stuff it was. He's not getting any younger, and has recently returned to less trying climates than the roof of the world, but I'll keep watching Palin the traveller. He's good company, and at his best he makes a potentially boring experience (like crossing the Atlantic in a freighter) into something that makes you wish you were there. That's a gift.
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on 25 March 2016
This is Palin at his best. I am an avid Hemingway fan and with trepidation I ordered this travelogue with Palin. But, I shouldn't have worried. Palin gets the essence of Hemingway all the way through. A 'must have' for anyone who loves Hemingway or travelling.
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on 4 October 2004
I can't rate this highly enough. As a fan of both Ernest Hemingway and Michael Palin and given that their characters appear to be rather like chalk and cheese, I wondered if he would be able to capture the essence of Hemingway.
I wasn't disappointed. As he traces Hemingway's steps, we are given a wonderful insight into the man's life. Helped along by Michael Palin's charm and wit, this is funny, poignant and thought-provoking.
Even newcomers to Hemingway could not fail to be enthralled.
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on 1 March 2012
This was the missing link in Michael Palin's travel logs for me. What I enjoyed about this journey was that I experienced Palin as more serious than I have seen him before. Why there are fewer jokes and a serious touch to Palin, I do not know. I suppose some of the matters featured, like bull fighting and game hunting, are serious on many levels. Do not get me wrong, I love his jokes, which he usually places aptly during other journeys. By no means are they all gone but his more serious approach during this trip seemed to work well with the subject matter. Palin is meeting interesting, engaging people along the way and weaves Hemmingway's life pleasantly into the story. It makes for good viewing and will not disappoint anyone enjoying good travel stories.
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on 30 March 2001
This is a must have. If you have enjoyed any of his other adventures like Pole to Pole, Around the World in 80 days & Full Circle, you'll love this one. Highlights include a visit to Communist Cuba and a Hemingway look a like competition.
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on 2 March 2015
"Hemingway Adventure" was Michael Palin's fourth adventure and in my opinion it is his weakest. The reason why is because some scenes seemed to be badly acted out, such as the scene when Palin is kicked out of a bar in America and the scene in Cuba where Michael tries to interview Fidel Castro. I found the comedy scenes to be unfunny at times and I just didn't see the point of it, because his other three series were nothing like this. Also another problem with "Hemingway Adventure" is that it wasn't as exciting as his other series, because there were no time limits and Palin wasn't starting at one destination to another. But overall the series is interesting to watch and Michael Palin is a delight to listen to as always. But the series would have been a lot better if it wasn't for the silly comedy elements and luckilly his next series "Sahara" and "Himalaya" were nothing like this.
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on 3 March 2015
"Hemingway Adventure" was Michael Palin's fourth adventure and in my opinion it is his weakest. The reason why is because some scenes seemed to be badly acted out, such as the scene when Palin is kicked out of a bar in America and the scene in Cuba where Michael tries to interview Fidel Castro. I found the comedy scenes to be unfunny at times and I just didn't see the point of it, because his other three series were nothing like this. Also another problem with "Hemingway Adventure" is that it wasn't as exciting as his other series, because there were no time limits and Palin wasn't starting at one destination to another. But overall the series is interesting to watch and Michael Palin is a delight to listen to as always. But the series would have been a lot better if it wasn't for the silly comedy elements and luckilly his next series "Sahara" and "Himalaya" were nothing like this.
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on 8 June 2016
I find this to be an appalling series, everything that's so attractive about Palin, his likeability and brilliant instinctive humour has been negated. My guess is that there was huge financial pressure for this project to be a success. So emphasise Palin's greatest selling points to the infinite degree. The result: An unholy mish mash that must make the Python cringe now as he checks his ever growing bank balance. There's no insight into Hemingway, there's no temporal structure, just a chaotic traveling from one place to another where Michael DOES something Hemingway did..... What is the point in that? He also shamelessly rehashed his past Python characters, the surviving cast members must have hated him for that as Palin chased all over the world for potential royalties. Perhaps what really emerged from this show was Michael Palin's greed and selfishness and single minded determination to succeed, this a very far cry from his comfy pipe and slippers image, but as another reviewer shrewdly pointed out, perhaps Hemingway represents Palin's own alter ego, the ruthless self centred man who has achieved so much. Will the real Michael Palin please stand up?
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on 9 August 2009
If you liked Michael Palin's other adventures, this is another sure fire winner. Very enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2015
This follows the Michael Palin presentation formula. I think as he has gotten a bit ruder in his old age. Still he looks for the little boy bits on a couch.

The presentation is split into three parts as he follows Hemmingway's trail across the world. We get plenty of small details as Palin tries to do Hemmingway type stuff.

In the in there is a Hemingway overload. If you do not know his writing before the presentation you will not get it here.

Still you get to tour Hemingway's old haunts:
Chicago
Malan
Pamplona
Key West
Uganda
Etc.

I would say this presentation is best taken in small doses.
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