Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Some Came Running|
Actors: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Leora Dana, Roy Engel
After a round of partying he can?t remember, World War II veteran Dave Hirsh is placed on a bus headed for the last place he?d choose: Parkman, Indiana, the hometown Hirsh hasn't seen in well over a decade. Frank Sinatra p... more »
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The Still Underrated Dean Martin's Best Performance!
Ted Strong | San Francisco | 06/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Minnelli's rad, at times garish, and Sirkian, later period melodramas (also see Minnelli's Home from the Hill (1960); and The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) -- remember the scene where Ronny Howard is screaming because his fish died and Glenn Ford doesn't understand what's going on).Anyway, Sinatra's good, and MacLaine is very good, but Dean Martin is beautiful. Very understated, he also had a great skill for using props on film (watch him dealing cards and holding his hat). Arthur Kennedy got an Oscar nom for his portrayal of Frank's rather weasel-ish brother.Elmer Bernstein's score is jarring and perfect. Dope cinematography by William H. Daniels in shocking Metrocolor. Produced by Sol C. Siegel for MGM. This is Sinatra's second appearance in a filmed version of a James Jones novel, the previous being From Here to Eternity.With Martha Hyer, Nancy Gates, Larry Gates, Leora Dana, Connie Gilchrist, Len Lesser, Denny Miller, William Schallert."
The Prodigal Son Returns....
Thomas Plotkin | West Hartford CT, United States | 02/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To the untrained eye this 1958 Vincente Minnelli MGM melodrama looks like an excerise in Rat Pack sleaze, as it stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine at the summit of their ring-a-ding-ding hijinks. Don't be fooled -- this movie is absolutley dead serious, even as it flies as luridly over the top as the last act of a bel canto opera. Based on James (From Here to Eternity) Jones' unreadable novel, story tells of Dave Hersch (Sinatra), a just de-mobilized World War Two vet and novelist who returns to his small mid-Western hometown of Parkman, Ill. Hersch apparently was a troubled delinquent after being orphaned as a teen, and eventually his older brother (Arthur Kennedy) stuck him in an orphanage. Dave ran away, and this is his first time back in years. He had published some fiction with mixed success before the war, and now he's blocked and trying to figure out his next move. His brother, who is now owner of the local bank and a pillar of the community, is terrified Dave is a)out for some kind of revenge and b)will do something to bring scandal down on his good name. Parkman, incidentally, is the kind of white-picket fence churchgoing place where every pillar of the community family man harbors a drinking problem, a mistress, and teenage kids who are veering towards delinquency.
As the older brother correctly feared, Dave has grown up to be a tough, cynical, hard-drinking womanizer who trouble usually follows, and as soon as he arrives in pastoral Parkman, he gravitates to the Wrong Side of the Tracks, sleazy downtown taverns where professional gambler 'Bama Dillard (Dino) hold court, surrounded by the local working-girls (MacLaine being the most outrageously trashy and dumb -- but with a heart of gold and an indescribable wardrobe). Dave spends his nights drowning in dissolute behavior with the Pack, and his days trying to hammer out a novel, under the watchful eye of the frigid yet beautiful local patroness of the arts (Martha Hyer), who sees in Dave a new Thomas Wolfe. The suspicion soon arises that Dave has only started writing again to see if he can meet the challenge of getting the 40-year old virgin into bed.
It is not long before the three worlds Dave attempts to integrate -- the country club world of his brother, Dino's sleazy dives, and Hyer's isolated writer's workshop/mansion/sexless life of the mind -- create only conflicts that messes up everyone in the town of Parkman.
Dave's conflict between the life of the artist and his attraction to the working class lower depths pre-figures Jack Nicholson's similar conflict in Five Easy Pieces over a decade later.
Except this isn't the ersatz Antonioni-world of Pieces; this is a full-blown technicolor melodrama with a fabulous Elmer Bernstein score, that puts the "opera" back in soap opera. Best described as somewhere between Peyton Place and Blue Velvet, Some Came Running belongs to the melodrama subgenre of "Let's look beneath the placid suburban surface and see what maggots crawl out." A very prevalent theme in '50's cinema (see the works of Douglas Sirk), I believe this genre was the descendant of '40's noir, as it allowed subversive film-makers to illustrate the moral and sexual hypocracies of our "straightest" communities and citizens, thus prefiguring 1960's concerns in the supposedly placid Eisenhower era. "Some Came Running" is of particular interest in that it deploys the sleazy mores and manners of the town's underclass to critique the respectable citizens of Parkman.
Director Minelli, known for his studio-bound, arty musicals, made the decision to shoot on location in a small Indiana town; yet the movie's deranged lighting, elaborate set-dressing and color palette(the bars are eyeball searing infernal visions in red and green neon reminiscent of the joint in Fire Walk With Me),over-the-top performances and wall-to-wall music defeat naturalism. While dramatically a tad aimless (the book its based on is as long as War & Peace, no joke)"Some Came Running" is perhaps the most visually sumptuous of '50's melodramas -- Visconti comes to the Midwest. And the climax -- a nearly wordless dance of death at a garish night-time carnival -- is a classic Minelli set-piece, an inversion of his trademark musical numbers, representing a nightmare rather than a dream. Where Minnelli's first great musical, "Meet Me in St. Louis," lyrically waxed nostaligic about midwestern small town virtues, "Some Came Running" luridly lingers over midwestern smalltown vices without a hint of nostalgia or sentiment.
This is a fascinating period piece, doubly interesting to see the aesthete Minelli wallow in sleaze. And Frank and Dino turn in solid in-character performances, and don't sing a note. MacLaine's trashy B-Girl, who loves Dave unconditionally even as he treats her like a doormat, is both bravely over-the-top and very poignant, the most memorable of the gallery of prostitutes she typically played in her early career.
Finally, if you're a fan of 50's -early '60's long-take,Cinemascope/Technicolor mise-en-scene, all eye-popping color, oddball camera angles, and cluttered compositions, this is really one of the finest examples, the kind of thing that routinely sent Jean-Luc Godard into raptures when he was a critic at Cahiers du Cinema. It looks like a Renaissance fresco, a style that has been lost in our post-TV/CGI stylistic era.
An Ensemble Tour de Force
Jack Rice | California, USA | 06/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the most heart-rending films I have ever seen. There are many levels in this story of the returning soldier, Dave Hirsh: his conflict with his brother, with his community, with his beloved and with himself. But for me, the most poignant is the story of Dave Hirsh (Frank Sinatra) and Ginny Moorhead (Shirley Maclaine). Dave is searching for redemption; he is emotionally needy and spiritually enervated. He thinks he can find love in someone who can fill his creative needs and the void in his heart created by the war.Here is the tragedy: Dave does not realize that real love can only come from a sense of self worth, from finding someone whom he not only needs but, just as important, who needs him. Ginny is an angel, an angel in the form of a wrong-side-of-the-tracks bimbo; but of all those in Dave's world, Ginny is the purest of heart and the purest in love, and her love is for Dave. When Dave finally realizes that his bliss lies with Ginny, it is too late, for both him and Ginny. And this ending comes in a moment that left me shattered, my mouth agape.While the ending was not expected, neither was it contrived, and with hindsight, one could see its coming. "Some Came Running" captures a time and culture only now beginning to fade from the collective memory, as its cohort ages and dies off, America immediately following World War II. And as a period piece, "Some Came Running" is quite successful. But I believe the story depicted here is a universal one, and I think the characters of Dave and Ginny and their sidekick Bama, played wonderfully by Dean Martin, are to be found anywhere. In fact, "Some Came Running," along with "From Here to Eternity," is the closest American cinema has come to being Shakespearian, without consciously trying to be."
Peter Kenney | Birmingham, Alabama, USA | 08/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"SOME CAME RUNNING is a fairly entertaining movie about a returning soldier and his attempt to adjust to life in his hometown after World War II. Sinatra is an inactive writer who falls in love with a local professor of creative writing (Martha Hyer). He meets her through the introduction of his phony older brother (Arthur Kennedy). Sinatra's friend ( Dean Martin) is a gambler and a tragic figure who manages to keep up a cheerful front. Shirley MacLain is a floozie who loves Sinatra without any reservations.The acting in this film was superb. It received Oscar nominations in 1958 for Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Actor (Arthur Kennedy) and Supporting Actress (Martha Hyer). Vincente Minnelli received an Academy Award in that same year for his direction of GIGI."