A Movie A Day: Quint on SOME CAME RUNNING (1958)
You must be a writer, you’re a fool.
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here keeping the Sinatra theme running for one more film. Today’s movie is SOME CAME RUNNING a melodrama about a man returning home, based on a novel by James Jones.
The beginning of the movie is really well done, a beginning that feels like we’re dropping into a story as it is already unfolding. Sinatra, dressed up in military garb, is on a bus, the opening credits over seeing the countryside outside the windows. The driver announces their stop and Sinatra sits up, tips the hat and exits into small town America.
A few rows behind him, a red-head also wakes up and follows him out. This is young Shirley MacLaine, a dumb, but loyal girl who has eyes for Sinatra and was put on the same bus as Sinatra by his buddies after a night of drunken debauchery in Chicago. He doesn’t remember her, but tells her to take off, peeling a fifty dollar bill out of a fat roll and handing it over.
I like that we don’t see his backstory, but learn it as the movie goes along. It opens the movie with a mystery. Who is this guy? Why does he have so much money? Why is he wearing the uniform? Why did he just throw a big batch of papers in the trash? What is his deal?
I found the entire film solid, but kind of unmemorable. The performances are strong across the board, including Sinatra’s brother in the movie, played by Arthur Kennedy, his niece, played by Betty Lou Keim, and especially a gambler buddy of his, played by Dean Martin.
I love Dean Martin. I love his delivery, his swagger, his slur, his charisma. Out of all the rat packers he’s my favorite as a movie personality. In fact, I had many avenues to jump to as my next movie… either following more Sinatra or Shirley MacLaine, but I chose to go to RIO BRAVO in order to follow Dino in what I hear is his best performance.
MacLaine’s character sticks around, of course, and follows Sinatra with a puppy dog like mentality. Her character is pretty blunt, dumb as a bag of hammers, but she’s in love with Sinatra and can’t help herself from pursuing him. She’s got a high pitched, annoying voice, but she’s cute, so every time Sinatra gets down in the dumps he goes back to her.
MacLaine borders on annoyance in the movie, but her whole character clicks into place about an hour and half into the movie, with a beautifully heartfelt scene where she goes to meet a schoolteacher that Sinatra is courting.
It’s a very vulnerable scene between these two women, no anger involved. She just wants to find out if the schoolteacher really loves him because all she wants is for him to be happy. She’d rather it be her that makes him happy, but as long as the schoolteacher will be good to him, she is willing to let him go.
Of course, MacLaine herself represents everything the schoolteacher, played by Martha Hyer (MY MAN GODFREY), hates about Sinatra’s past and causes all sorts of drama to unfold for the last act of the movie.
To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy the film while watching it, but thinking back on it I like what they did. It’s not an exciting film at all… it’s quiet, brooding. It’s not one I’d easily recommend to anybody, but it’s a solid flick, with good direction by Vincente Minnelli (Liza’s daddy, who also directed the great BRIGADOON and the awesome CABIN IN THE SKY).
Here’s the schedule for the next seven days:
Monday, June 9th: RIO BRAVO (1959)
Tuesday, June 10th: POINT BLANK (1967)
Wednesday, June 11th: POCKET MONEY (1972)
Thursday, June 12th: COOL HAND LUKE (1967)
Friday, June 13th: THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950)
Saturday, June 14th: CLASH BY NIGHT (1952)
Sunday, June 15th: SCARLET STREET (1945)
Coming up tomorrow is RIO BRAVO!
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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June 8, 2008, 7 p.m. CST
June 8, 2008, 7:04 p.m. CST
OOH LOOK AT ME I SCROLLED ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE END OF THE STORY TO POST FIRST!!!! OH JOY! WHAT ARE YOU 11? OH AND KEEP OFF OF THE LOST TALKBACKS YOU FUCKTARD! GET A LIFE FAT SLOB!
June 8, 2008, 7:13 p.m. CST
I enjoy following along with these when I've seen the films. I'm looking forward to Rio Bravo tomorrow (and Cool Hand Luke shortly thereafter, which I too haven't ever seen).
June 8, 2008, 7:14 p.m. CST
F For Fake Touch of Evil Citizen Kane MR. Arkadin Magnificent Ambersons Third Man Rediscovering the Genuis of Welles. F for Fake is fucking amazing!!!
June 8, 2008, 7:17 p.m. CST
I think the full title is Rio Fucking Bravo.<br><br> It's gonna kick your ass and leaving you begging for more.
June 8, 2008, 7:25 p.m. CST
It's from a novel by James Jones, not James Joyce (read the poster). Although Frank Sinatra would have played the hell out of Finnegans Wake, I bet. And the James Joyce version of From Here To Eternity would be wild...
June 8, 2008, 8:05 p.m. CST
When Iran is finally brought back into the real world, I hope that Welles' unreleased movie The Other Side of the Wind will be released so the world can behold what might be a lost classic. I love 'F' is for Fake because of the ending, which I won't spoil. The Third Man stands solidly on the shoulders of Harry ime's cuckoo clock speech, and Touch of Evil (corrected) has one of the most amazing one-shots in history, and that, plus the seriously creepy Mercedes McCambrdge (the demon-voice of Regan in The Exorcist) is enough to make up for Charleton Heston as a Mexican. Welles fucking RULED when he stopped partying long enough to concentrate on finishing what he started (Kane, Chimes at Midnight, Macbeth).
June 8, 2008, 8:10 p.m. CST
I think you mean James Jones.
June 8, 2008, 10:16 p.m. CST
it's accentuate how little AICN posts articles anymore.
June 8, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST
Blade Runner is one of the most overrated flicks ever (and it really isn't overrated because everybody got it right the first time when they hated it). Ford has proven that outside of the first two Indiana Jones films and Star Wars that he's a subpar actor. He was just so good in those movies that everybody's given him a break for the last 20 years.
June 8, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST
"Do you always drink this much? Only when I have money"... I wish I had lines like that. Once I got past the fact that the lead character Dave, and the lead actress, Gwen, fall in love within about a five minute time span and the fact that Dave is total dick to Ginnie - then I had a great time. How in the world did Martha Hyer get nominated for this? Wow - I thought she was totally wooden. Her character was a little bizarre also - I thought the only thing she provided was to hammer home the fact that Dave was never loved... (when Dave is talking to Bama about Ginnie) ... "The way she feels about me - nobody ever felt that way about me" Ginnie - what a lovable, tragic, character. I can see why MacLaine got nominated for this role. she brought so much to Ginnie. While watching her, I was pulled in two different directions at the same time. I simultaneously felt sorry for her,and loved her. She was so cute and had so much energy. I think her and Bama were the only truly likable characters in this movie. All of the other charachters had secrets, flaws etc. Dean Martin as Bama was a kick. I had to smile whenever he was on camera. Dean has such a fun-loving vibe - I thought the scene where he was shaving in his boxers, t-shirt and hat was hilarious. And he was pouring a little coffee in his whiskey instead of the other way around - hilarious. When he takes off his hat at the end... so sad. Does anyone know why they put in the scene where the doctor tells Bama that he had diabetes? That he should not drink? Were the hell was that going? All in all I had a great time watching this film. I think I'm in love with Ginnie... Once again Quint - thanks for doing this. Great idea.
June 8, 2008, 11:26 p.m. CST
by The Funketeer
It's not only a great movie with great performances, it's a pretty damn influential movie and if you consider yourself a fan of sci-fi you really oughta see where a lot of the movies you like are ripping off their material from. Also, Ford is a great actor. He's been phoning it in for awhile but if you think Star Wars and Indy are his only good performances then you need to check out Witness and Mosquito Coast.
June 9, 2008, 3:52 a.m. CST
Gimba, thanks for talking about the flick a bit. It's his kind of trading of opinion that I hope to really dig into with this column. I think you're right about MacLaine in the movie, but I suppose it's all in what you want. It's undeniable that it'd be amazing to be loved like that, but I got the feeling that Dave was a worse character for giving into her adoration because he was totally rebounding. Love is a two-way street and he clearly didn't love Ginnie, even if he did care for her a great deal.<BR><BR>Union - I'd love it if there was a regular '80s column and we'll definitely hit some '80s movies in this one, but the whole point of the column is for me to watch movies I haven't seen before. I'm pretty well up on the films of the '80s, so there's not as much to pick from.
June 9, 2008, 4:27 a.m. CST
Hahahahahahah mate i think thats the dumbest statement i've ever read on here.
June 9, 2008, 7:43 a.m. CST
Must be that time of the month. <p> Anyhoo, thanks for the article, Quint. I've been curious about this one for a while. Never made the time to watch it, but I will eventually. Any James Jones adaptation is worth my time.
June 9, 2008, 8:43 a.m. CST
Shirley MacLaine rocks! She was so hot back in da day.
June 9, 2008, 11:08 a.m. CST
Especially in Irma La Douce and Gambit. Quint, I can't believe you HAVE NEVER seen Rio Bravo before! Wow. I'm with you about the coolness of Dean Martin and he was awesome in this movie.
June 9, 2008, 11:27 a.m. CST
Quint, I never was a big fan of "ol' blue eyes" (atleast when it came to movies). Now that you've seen a few of his films, what would you say has been his strongest and maybe i'll give him a second chance.<br><br>And since you're watching Rio today... I just watched Keoma last night. If you have not seen that western yet, you must. Fantastic! Just set yourself on a Franco Nero path :)
June 9, 2008, 12:48 p.m. CST
Keoma is crazy, man. I couldn't get that dang song out of my head for days. <p> Keooooooooma...
June 9, 2008, 12:55 p.m. CST
Who better to appreciate this stuff other than a film GEEK? I like this column a lot and appreciate giving films from this period some spotlight (Harry's dvd column is primarily older movies, too).I always saw this site as for people that are passionate about film…not just Trekkie types (and I love Star Wars, BSG, Blade Runner, and most of the geek perrenials).
June 9, 2008, 1:54 p.m. CST
I don't watch a lot of old movies...
June 9, 2008, 2:52 p.m. CST
Could not agree with you more - I think on the surface most of the characters seem to be nice people, but you start to see the cracks and flaws as the movie goes on - Especially in the case of Frank's brother's indiscretion (mr. successful but unhappy) and the way Frank treats Ginnie (yet settles for her when he is dumped)
June 10, 2008, 1:51 a.m. CST
I love this movie, it's melodrama as art in its highest form. Truly powerful stuff from Frank and an incredibly sincere Dino performance, this is unlike any other Rat Pack flick. I feel it's a meditation on love and spite and how feeling sorry for oneself can affect those around you. Some of the best use of Cinemascope ever, especially in the bizarre carnival climax. Watch for the guys who keep walking around with this giant wooden frame. Sinatra's character has turned a whole town into Hell.
June 10, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST
...usually she makes my teeth itch, but here the way she commits to this character 100% (comedically, pathetically, sincerely) is amazing. And Dino's speech about how Sinatra needs to ditch her is terrific. I think what I like is how none of these actors were afraid of looking bad, which in a frickin' MGM Minnelli movie in the fifties is mindblowing. Sinatra is dour, Martin is this weird combination of cool and snob (think how refers to MacLaine as trash) and MacLaine is so tragic. Great film.
July 5, 2008, 10:54 p.m. CST
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