Some Came Running

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Vincente Minnelli

REVIEWED: 07-27-98

Of course we all recognize Vincente Minnelli (Mr. Judy Garland and father of Liza) as the quintessential maestro of the golden-age MGM musical (An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain). And to that I say bravo and amen. But love the musicals though I do, the Minnelli films that really cause my heart to flutter wildly are the melodramas (Home From the Hill, The Cobweb, The Bad and the Beautiful). Chief among them is Some Came Running, a film adaptation of James Jones' novel (the first to be published since his bestseller From Here to Eternity six years previously). Sinatra (who was so good in From Here to Eternity) returns to the fold in this story about a prodigal son's return to his provincial Indiana hometown. The hypocrisy, sexual repression, and backwater snobbery here is enough to make Peyton Place look like Vatican City. Tagging after Sinatra's unwelcome hero is the waif-like tramp played by Shirley MacLaine, a dumb, blowzy child-woman whose heart is bigger (and more fragile) than that of the whole town combined. And Dean Martin, as the card-sharp best friend, has rarely appeared as seamlessly smooth as he does in this film. The sexual repression subplot in this 1940s-set film seems rather dated today, but Minnelli's recurrent theme of the artist divided against himself is given full expression. Most glorious, however, is Minnelli's use of CinemaScope. Some Came Running is a film conceived for the wide screen. Often it seems barely broad enough to contain the distances between its characters. And the climactic set-piece at an amusement park is choreographed in pure horizontal action. Minnelli ... always the maestro.

--Marjorie Baumgarten

Other Films by Vincente Minnelli
The Bad and the Beautiful

Film Vault Suggested Links
Black and White and Red All Over

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