Some Came Running

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Some Came Running
Poster of the movie Some Came Running.jpg
Directed byVincente Minnelli
Produced bySol C. Siegel
Written byJames Jones (novel)
John Patrick
Arthur Sheekman
StarringFrank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Shirley MacLaine
Martha Hyer
Arthur Kennedy
Nancy Gates
Music byElmer Bernstein
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Editing byAdrienne Fazan
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release datesDecember 18, 1958
Running time137 min.
CountryU.S.A.
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3,151,000[1]
Box office$6,295,000[1]
 
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1st edition (publ. Scribners)

Some Came Running is a novel by James Jones, published in 1957. It is the story of a war veteran with literary aspirations who returns in 1948 to his hometown of Parkman, Indiana, after a failed writing career. (Parkman was loosely based on Jones's hometown of Robinson, Illinois.) A film version starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine was nominated for five Academy Awards.

Plot[edit]

Dave Hirsh is a cynical Army veteran who winds up in his hometown of Parkman after being put on a bus in Chicago while intoxicated. Ginny Moorehead, a woman of seemingly loose morals and poor education, has taken the same bus.

Hirsh had left Parkman 16 years before when his older brother Frank placed him in a charity boarding school, and is still embittered. Frank has since married well, inherited a jewelry business from the father of his wife Agnes, and made their social status his highest priority. Dave's return threatens this, so Frank makes a fruitless stab at arranging respectability, introducing him to his friend Professor French and his daughter Gwen, a schoolteacher.

Dave moves in different circles, however. He befriends Bama Dillert, a gambler who has serendipitously settled in Parkman. Two factors seem to offer Dave hope and redemption: he takes a fatherly interest in his niece, Frank's daughter Dawn, and falls in love with Gwen. Despite his somewhat notorious reputation, Dave is basically a good, honest man, well aware of his own shortcomings. His cynicism is often a mask to hide the pain of rejection.

Though Ginny is not his social or intellectual match, he eventually sees the basic good in her and responds to her unconditional love. In the end, Ginny, stalked by her former boyfriend (a Chicago hoodlum), proves unequivocally the depth of her love for Dave by taking a fatal bullet for him. In the novel, however, it is Dave who is the innocent victim.

Critical reception[edit]

The book was savaged by the critics. Due to frequently "misspelled" words and punctuation errors, critics were generally harsh, not recognizing that such elements were a conscious style choice by Jones to evoke the provinciality of the novel's characters and setting.

Film adaptation[edit]

Some Came Running
Poster of the movie Some Came Running.jpg
Directed byVincente Minnelli
Produced bySol C. Siegel
Written byJames Jones (novel)
John Patrick
Arthur Sheekman
StarringFrank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Shirley MacLaine
Martha Hyer
Arthur Kennedy
Nancy Gates
Music byElmer Bernstein
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Editing byAdrienne Fazan
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release datesDecember 18, 1958
Running time137 min.
CountryU.S.A.
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3,151,000[1]
Box office$6,295,000[1]

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in a bid to duplicate the success of the multi–Academy Award winning film adaptation of James Jones' earlier novel, From Here to Eternity (1953), optioned the 1,200-plus-page book and cast Frank Sinatra as the lead. Sinatra approved Dean Martin for the role of Bama, in what would be their first film together. Vincente Minnelli directed. Much of the film was shot in and around the town of Madison, Indiana.

Shirley MacLaine was cast as Ginny Moorehead. MacLaine garnered her first Academy Award nomination, which she credited to Sinatra for his insistence on changing the film's ending. Hailed in years to come as a masterpiece of American cinema, Some Came Running was also a box-office success, earning $4.3 million in rentals and ranked by Variety as the 10th highest-earning film of 1958.[2]

Martin Scorsese included a clip from the film for his A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies; the film's final carnival scene remains for Scorsese one of the best and most expressive uses of CinemaScope.

In his book Who the Hell's in It, director Peter Bogdanovich writes extensively about Some Came Running. He later filmed a short segment for Turner Classic Movies on its influence on cinema.

Critical reception[edit]

Released to critical plaudits, Some Came Running was praised both nationally and internationally on release, with Sinatra garnering some of the strongest notices of his career. Variety noted that "Sinatra gives a top performance, sardonic and compassionate, full of touches both instinctive and technical. It is not easy, either, to play a man dying of a chronic illness and do it with grace and humor, and this Martin does without faltering."

Box Office[edit]

Although the film was popular - according to MGM records it earned $4,245,000 in the US and Canada and $2,050,000 elsewhere - its high cost meant MGM recorded a loss of $207,000.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Some Came Running was nominated for five Academy Awards, for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Shirley MacLaine), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Arthur Kennedy), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Martha Hyer), Best Costume Design, Black and White or Color (Walter Plunkett), and Best Music, Original Song, "To Love and Be Loved" (words and music by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn).

MacLaine also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Drama.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34

External links[edit]