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What is the genre of "Some Came Running"?


FredCDobbs
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Fred, I think you've described it well. You could also call the genre "movie adaptation of a long novel by a prestigious author." Because Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are in it, it overlaps with the genre "Rat Pack movie," although that suggests comedy rather than heavy drama.

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TCM has the genre listed just as Drama.

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/1607/Some-Came-Running/genre.html

 

It has a set of keywords too:

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/1607/Some-Came-Running/keywords.html

 

This film reminds me of the small town atmosphere of Picnic, with some of the characters mixing in with upper class, middle class, and lower class people and their private lives. I think this is a very interesting film.

 

Everyone in Indiana might recognize all these local characters, but to me they should all be located down in either Louisiana (like in A Streetcar named Desire, or The Rose Tattoo) or in some little town in Mississippi (such as in The Fugitive Kind, or The Long Hot Summer).

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>But there isn't any doubt that the "genre" could only be "Drama".

 

I know it's a drama. Call it a sub-genre if you like.

 

I'm talking about this type of film, such as Picnic. Young man with some experience in life but no solid direction drifts back into his hometown, or some small average American town. He meets some dames and falls for one or two. The audience learns some very private stories about some of the local people, often involving secret romances. The young man drifts in and out of their lives and he holds the whole picture together. At the end, he either stays and settles down, or he leaves and goes on drifting, and by the end he has influenced a lot of people in that town, in just a short amount of time.

 

Sometimes there are many other variations, such as a girl drifting into town, or an old guy, or like Van Heflin in "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers". He solves a big mystery when he returns to town.

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"Sirkian" is the best way to describe this film, even though he didn't direct it.

 

I may be in the minority, but I think it's one of Minnelli's two or three best movies.

 

And one of Sinatra's best performances for me. He plays a brooding, jaded man who lives in both the floozy/gambler world, and the bourgeoisie/mainstream world. He thinks both are phony and doesn't know what to believe in anymore. He ultimately chooses the honest Shirley MacLaine character, and the film ends in tragedy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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{font:Arial}It’s definitely a drama and always has been considered so. The whole idea to create a film version from what was originally another novel by James Jones, turned out to be MGM’s answer to the big block-buster hit a year earlier of “{font}{font:Arial}Peyton Place{font}{font:Arial}.” The casting of Frank Sinatra was important to the whole creative process, due in large part to already having made his own huge impact in the 1953 film version of what is James Jones greatest and most revered book, “From Here To Eternity.” It’s as if there is something of a repeat to a past aura being presented in the making of "Some Came Running," all due to Frank’s previous connection to Jones. Frank was pretty much in control of this whole project. He was by 1958, one of the top ten movie stars world wide. Director Vincente Minnelli had one very legendary rift with Frank during filming. The problem occurred when Minnelli asked one of the assistant directors’s to tell Frank, there were pages of the script that needed to be filmed that day and possibly finished. Frank was too content drinking his booze and chatting with Dean and Shirley, sitting in the afternoon shade, outside of his trailer. Upon receiving the request, Frank then asked the assistant to show him what pages of the script were the ones to be shot. The assistant gladly showed Frank the portion of shooting material in the script he had in his hand. Frank then quickly snatched the script from the assistant and tore out that section of the script that he was shown, ripping up all the pages. Frank replied, “So there, now we don’t have to worry about shooting this part of the script.”{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}This film marked the first time Frank and Dean worked together on screen. They had already known each other, years earlier from the days they both appeared at {font}{font:Arial}Atlantic City{font}{font:Arial}’s famous hot spot, “The 500 Club.” Dean was working with Jerry at the time and it’s always been believed that Dean was on that first encounter, intimidated by Frank’s tremendous success and perhaps it was on that occasion began Dean’s alienation towards his teaming with Jerry. “Some Came Running” was as important for Dean as it might have been for Frank. Dean was after all, playing a character he probably once was in his youth!! He had been born and raised in that part of the country and as a teenager, hung around gambling joints, seedy hotels and nightclubs. He had been famous in his own {font}{font:Arial}Ohio{font}{font:Arial} hometown for running a floating crap game! Dean was without question the most connected member of the cast to the aura of the storyline. His credibility to the role he played resulted in a marvelous performance, most of which he improvised and added his own bits of dialog. As for Shirley, well she practically stole the film right from under both Frank and Dean and the rest of the cast! What was bothersome about the role Shirley played was that even if one hadn’t read the book, everybody could figure out the character was a hooker. Nothing about the character’s so assumed background was clearly exposed! Naturally, there were fears from the censorship board and it was felt to best let the audiences figure it out for themselves.{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}Now, whether this film is good or not, depends upon a selective process. In other words, because the film does lack a solid continuity to the storyline, all we are left with are the performances and certain technical touches director Minnelli gave the film. As a whole, the movie is a bit too chopped up, as if its attempting to add as much from the novel as possible, but we are in the end not left with much, other than the strains of the main characters. Minnelli had originally wanted to shoot the film as a three hour dramatic epic. It’s with this idea that the film is trying to emulate the success of “{font}{font:Arial}Peyton Place{font}{font:Arial}” that was for all intended purposes, a massive road-show presentation. This would not occur with “Some Came Running” and Minnelli had to cut the film down and eliminate certain scenes that he believed were crucial. The deleted material was for those who saw it, rather interesting and adding more flare. One of the deleted scenes was a compassionate rendezvous in a bedroom between Frank and Shirley. Minnelli wanted that scene in, because it displayed the pathetic nature of the hooker, pleading in a pitiful way to Frank’s character to allow her to love him and perhaps he might come around to loving her.{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}I do feel that the highpoint of the film, the now famous last scene at the carnival, with all the colored lights and rides was impressively filmed by Minnelli. Just the idea that he filmed the whole ordeal at a real honest to God carnival was something quite remarkable for its time. Most of the film was shot on location and this I believe does give the film some technical quality and should be admired at certain points. One of my favorite scenes is the beginning of the picture, with Frank on the bus and then getting off to return to his home town, right in the middle of {font}{font:Arial}Main Street{font}{font:Arial}. One can clearly tell the scene is for real and not at a {font}{font:Arial}Hollywood{font}{font:Arial} back-lot. TCM has a wonderful short documentary about the making of the film, with interviews of the real town’s people who participated in various scenes as extras. While I can’t really rank “Some Came Running” as a bona fide classic, it is a nicely made motion picture that delivers more on the performances than the overall storyline. Certainly, this film marked the beginning of Shirley’s raise to international super stardom. There is also the point that Frank and Dean became really close after this film, they became something like brothers. So, if you’re a die-hard movie fan and sentimental about the behind-the-scenes antics of what goes on to make a motion picture, this has to be your sort of movie. It’s a film that is admired and cherished by the devotion of the fan base the stars have acquired. And, this isn’t really part of or connected to the whole “Rat Pack” era, because Frank and Dean hadn’t yet begun to gather up the gang and head to {font}{font:Arial}Las Vegas{font}{font:Arial}. There still was about one more year to come for all hell to break loose at the Sands Hotel in Vegas and a lot of history would be made there; both for show business and on a hidden political point of view.{font}

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Fred, *Some Came Running* also fits into the subcategory of 1950s repressed sex movies. The split of good sexless girl/bad sexy girl is particularly nasty in this film, despite the charm Shirley MacLaine brings to the role of the good-hearted floozy, with Martha Hyer's feeble performance, if Oscar-nominated, as the frigid good girl, who has zero chemistry with Frank Sinatra. In this film a female can be only a (probably frigid) virgin or a ****, with nothing in between. The scene where Uncle Frank Sinatra lectures his niece on this is especially obnoxious.

 

I guess we're supposed to find the characters played by Sinatra and Dean Martin sympathetic, but I don't. Because the scenes with Arthur Kennedy are writtenly so one-sidedly and Kennedy presumably has been asked to play his character with one note, I perversely end up rooting for Kennedy. MacLaine is charming, and so is the actor who plays Hyer's father, but otherwise, I care nothing about any of the characters.

 

We had an interesting discussion about this film at the SilverScreenOasis website. In general, straight guys liked it, women and gay guys did not. I think *Some Came Running* is overrated, badly dated, and unpleasant.

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> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}

> MacLaine is charming, and so is the actor who plays Hyer's father, but otherwise, I care nothing about any of the characters.

That was Larry Gates, the man that was slapped by Sidney Poitier in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. He's also the other doctor in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

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{font:Arial}Here’s a tidbit that isn’t generally known about the film . . . It was decided not to have the film end, as it was written by Jones in his novel. Instead of the hooker getting killed, originally it was the writer who dies at the end of the story. Shirley has always said that in a hard way of thinking, having the hooker killed off added a sense of moral fiber. Everyone, including director Minnelli felt by changing the original ending, there would be an ethical and compassionate mood towards an understanding that the writer and this wayward girl just weren’t right for each other. Therefore, the storyline ends with the girl giving to her lover a noble, self-sacrifice towards protecting not so much him, but the love and benevolence he has given unto her. At this point in the story, she can’t go back to her life of **** around. Upon her pimp tracking her down and demanding she return to him, her love for the writer has totally push her beyond a limit she can no longer control and she believes this is her one and only chance to find some decency to her life. . .She wants to strongly believe, she can make the relationship work.

 

I think screenwriters John Patrick and Arthur Sheekman were right in changing the ending, because the girl could have never really satisfied the writer’s intellect. His pathway is already laid down for him and it’s all about the creative process for him to tell the tragic story or write it. And, in doing so, he will realize there were boundaries for everyone involved they didn’t understand or want to accept. Life is full of so many plain and simple restrictions for all of us to deal with. It’s a crap shoot and we can never know what numbers are going to show up at the throw of the dice. There’s no loading the dice of life! It can never be done. We just have to throw the dice and hope! In the case of “Some Came Running,” it was “snake-eyes” for just about everybody in the story, while everyone kept yearning to get that magical number in their favor. {font}

 

 

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Hi, Professor. Thanks for your analysis. Very interesting.

 

The following is just my personal opinion:

 

Sinatra never convinced me that he was actually a professional writer or an intellectual. He seemed to be a simple boy from a small town, who had only a simple local vocabulary, and he seemed to be playing pretty much the same character he played in From Here to Eternity. If anyone in the movie convinced me they might be able to write, a little, it was the school teacher.

 

Shirley seemed like a smart woman pretending to be a dumb woman who was trying to be a smart woman. I got confused while listening to her talk. The ending seemed really contrived as an artificial way of trying to make the whole film seem profound and having some higher meaning than just a bunch of peeping-tom type vignettes. The daughter, while necking, seeing her father necking with his secretary, two cars over, seemed like a joke. Was there only one single place in that community to park and neck? Didn't the father think to look around to see who might be watching? That seemed contrived too.

 

But, like a peeping-tom, I did like the movie overall.

 

Oh, and PS: Who were the "some" who "came running"?

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>Fred, Some Came Running also fits into the subcategory of 1950s repressed sex movies. The split of good sexless girl/bad sexy girl is particularly nasty in this film, despite the charm Shirley MacLaine brings to the role of the good-hearted floozy, with Martha Hyer's feeble performance, if Oscar-nominated, as the frigid good girl, who has zero chemistry with Frank Sinatra.

 

I think you are right. But I wonder if the difference between these northern small-town sex movies and the southern small-town sex movies of the same era, was the "repression" being more of a factor in the North? I grew up in the South in small towns and lived there later in life too, and I don't remember a whole lot of "repression". :)

 

For example of Southern movies covering some hot topics, see The Fugitive kind, Walk on the Wild Side, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Rose Tattoo, Baby Doll, and even Gone With the Wind, and many others...

 

1qopia.jpg

 

story.jpg

 

2888bas.jpg

 

Maggie the cat. Not at all repressed. Just denied visitation rights by her husband. Seems he missed his guy pal and is not turned on by half-naked Maggie:

 

liz_taylor_300.jpg

 

From The Horse Soldiers: "Have some fried chicken, Captain. Would you like a leg or a breast?":

 

1409-3.jpg

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