03/26/1990 at 01:00 AM EST
NBC (Sun., March 25,9 P.M. ET)
Once in a while there's a perfect casting choice, such as Anthony Quinn in this TV remake of Hemingway's novel. As in his other great peasant-king roles, like Zorba and Eufemio Zapata, Quinn plays Santiago, a simple, proud, blood-wise Cuban fisherman, from the inside out.
This version does not offer the grim battle for survival that the 1958 Spencer Tracy's film did. Roger O. Hirson's script throws a lot of wrinkles into the mix, including flashbacks that feature Quinn's son Francesco and Gary Cole as a glum American writer visiting the island. Although even these additions fail to make the story dramatically compelling, you can be sure of one thing: No matter what the rest of this TV year brings, you'll see nothing like the mighty Quinn.