IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 78%
Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress – Shirley MacLaine
Best Supporting Actor – Arthur Kennedy
Best Supporting Actress – Martha Hyer
Best Costume Design
Bet Original Song
Directed By – Vincente Minnelli
Starring – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Arthur Kennedy, Martha Hyer
Dave Hirsch, a writer and army veteran, returns to 1948 Parkman, Indiana, his hometown. His prosperous brother introduces him to Gwen French, a local teacher. But the more flamboyant Ginny has followed him to Parkton, where he also meets gambler Bama Dillert. Dave must come to terms with his roots and with his future.
This film is a bit of a unique monster that took me by surprise. The beginning was a bit boring, the middle was hilarious, and the end was a total shift in narrative but it all seemed to flow into one overall enjoyable and entertaining film. This is also the fist film I’ve seen with Frank Sinatra where I actually paid attention the entire way through. I wasn’t a fan of the original Oceans 11. It’s a film that took the Academy Awards by surprise with three acting nominations and two more to bring a total of five. Yes, I know math as well.
What I liked…
It had a strong cast. Shirley MacLaine is amazing in this film and is further proof that during the late 50s and early 60s there wasn’t a more electrifying actress than her. She was funny and heartbreaking all wrapped up in this little annoying but endearing fool of a girl. It was a great character. Sinatra and Dino were charming as well and the rest of the cast held their own. I also liked the camera work from Minnelli. There were a lot of great shots as it seemed like he was discovering color for the first time and was in awe of what he could do with it. There were also great stand alone scenes, mostly involving MacLaine, but it seemed like everybody in the cast got at least one great moment.
What I didn’t like…
I just thought the ending was a bit rushed. Without spoiling the film, it seemed like they didn’t know whether they wanted a happy ending or a sad ending so we kind of got both although most would find the ending depressing. It just didn’t flow at all with the entire rest of the film. The beginning took a while to get going and there were unsolved issues throughout. It was really a weak script with instances of great dialogue.
The acting and the sporadic great scenes are enough to really enjoy this film though. It’s a lesser watched film that deserves to have recognition.