Some Came Running

US critic Andrew Sarris once noted that arch cinematic stylist Vincente Minnelli used his camera to ‘turn corn into caviar’, and this swooning, nostalgic, and luridly coloured encapsulation of the stale underbelly of small-town Middle America and its effect on the nervously vacillating social attitudes of a struggling artist does all that and more.

Based on the novel by WWII veteran James Jones, the film sees malcontent army officer Dave Hirsch (Frank Sinatra) returning to his sickeningly quaint hometown in a bid to reconcile a latent desire to be accepted as a serious novelist with his family and the local literati. This is despite some of his more unsociable quirks, most notably an unhelpful camaraderie with hat-wearing card sharp, Bama (Dean Martin) and unshakably sanguine drifter, Ginny (Shirley MacLaine).

It’s a bitter and occasionally conceited film, but Minnelli’s fluent, intense direction makes it a marvel to behold, especially the shocking fairground denouement which displays all the technical virtuosity (and none of the pretension) of the ballets featured at the tail-end of ‘An American in Paris’ or ‘The Band Wagon’. Wonderful stuff.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday May 16 2008
Duration: 136 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Screenwriter: John Patrick, Arthur Sheekman
Cast: Frank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Shirley MacLaine
Martha Hyer
Arthur Kennedy
Nancy Gates
Leora Dana
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