In the post-war, the alcoholic and bitter veteran military and former writer Dave Hirsch returns from Chicago to his hometown Parkman, Indiana. He is followed by Ginnie Moorehead, a vulgar ... See full summary »
Frank Sinatra plays Joe E. Lewis, a famous comedian of the 1930s-50s. When the movie opens, Lewis is a young, talented singer who performs in speakeasies. When he bolts one job for another,... See full summary »
Frankie Machine is a skilled card dealer and one-time heroin addict. When he returns home from jail, he struggles to find a new livelihood and to avoid slipping back into addiction. Written by
Mike Campanelli <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fleabag settings via Hollywood, given a glossy coat and melodramatic treatment...
Director Otto Preminger makes a valiant attempt to interject some real feeling into this adaptation of Nelson Algren's novel, but the material is ultimately far too false and the film fails to come off. Frank Sinatra plays Frankie, an ace card-dealer and poker-player coming out of a six-month stay in an institution to kick his drug habit; in the interim, he's become a good drummer and hopes to land a job with a band, but troubles with his invalid wife and the low-life neighborhood characters set him out on the precipice once again. Preminger can't seem to eke out a realistic scenario within these studio back streets, and Elmer Bernstein's blaring music undermines the nuances with Prestige! and Importance! Sinatra manages some hard-knock looks of concern and hopelessness, but his well-intentioned Frankie is a distressing creation (and, with all that talk about the "bobbysoxers" turning out for him, he's an uncomfortable sketch of the real Frankie when he was down-and-out several years prior). Glamorous Kim Novak, cast as the local working girl, is perhaps too Park Avenue for these squalid settings, however this is one of Novak's best, most subtle performances and she carries a great many scenes in the second-half. Eleanor Parker's role as Frankie's wheelchair-bound spouse is something else altogether; played on the verge of hysteria, it's a stunning portrait of a parasitic woman on the edge, needling, needy and yet aggressive. Parker appears to relish this outré role (and chews up a few scenes in the bargain)--and her big exit scene is a beauty--but in the context of this film, the performance is too hyperbolic. It's indicative of much of the writing, which walks a fine line between human drama and soap opera. This effort, pumped up for big effects, crosses that line too many times, finishing up wilted and unsatisfying. ** from ****
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