Dave Hirsch, a writer and army veteran winds up in his small Indiana hometown, to the dismay of his respectable older brother. He meets and befriends various different characters and tries to figure out what to do with his life.
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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 and easy woman with whom he spent his last night in Chicago that has fallen in love with him. The resentful Dave meets his older brother Frank Hirsh, who owns a jewelry store and is a prominent citizen of Parkman that invites him to have dinner with his family. Dave meets his sister-in-law Agnes that hates him since one character of his novel had been visibly inspired on her, and his teenage niece Dawn. Frank introduces the school teacher Gwen French to him and Dave feels attracted by the beautiful woman that is daughter of his former Professor Robert Haven French and idolizes his work as writer. However, his unrequited love with Gwen drives Dave back to the local bar where he befriends the professional gambler Bama Dillert and meets Ginnie again with the Chicago's mobster Raymond Lanchak that was ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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You take my old man. Now he used to gamble when he was plowin' up his fields, hopin' for a crop. Sometimes he'd get one, sometimes he wouldn't. So figure if a man's gonna gamble, he might as well do it without plowin.'
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Dave Hirsh is through with the army. A drinking binge with his buddies results in Dave being loaded onto a Greyhound bus bound for Parkman, Indiana (his seldom-visited hometown) clutching the few things he has managed to collect - Ginnie the floozie ("that dumb poushover") and a bag containing two bottles of scotch, the tattered manuscript of a love story and Hirsh's beloved copies of Faulkner, Wolfe and Steinbeck. Dave was once a writer of considerable promise. It had not been Dave's intention to revisit Parkman, but now that he's here he decides to hang around for a while. He wants to settle a score with his brother Frank.
The proprietor of a thriving jewellery store and a rising star in the Rotarians, Frank Hirsh is the worst kind of small-town phoney. He is a master of glib sales patter and the vacuous small talk of country club social evenings. Though he would rather die than say so, he doesn't want his kid brother within a hundred miles of Parkman. Dave is bohemian, hedonistic, creative - in other words, thing which threaten scandal. Having to socialise with Dave (folks would gossip if he shunned his own brother), Frank spends the time alternately bragging about his vulgar prosperity and timidly hinting that maybe Dave should move on.
"I'm an expert on tramps," wisecracks Dave (played by Frank Sinatra). Typically of Ol' Blue Eyes' projects of the period ("Ocean's Eleven", "Come Blow Your Horn") women are depicted as chattles to be despised and traded.
Equally typically, it is from Dean Martin's character that the most virulent misogyny comes. Bama Dillert warns Dave that you either give women orders, or allow them to dominate you. There is no other way. Bama hangs around with Rosalie, the lowlife zombie, and tells Ginnie to "just be a good girl and shut up". It is poor, good-natured Ginnie who gets most of the abuse. "You'll go anywhere with anybody," says her husband-to-be. She is grateful when he allows her to clean the house for him. Edith the nice girl and Dawn the perfect daughter are shown to be whores at heart. Even superior, educated Gwen has her sluttish moments.
Dave's rediscovery of his writing talent is somewhat improbable, as is the volume of whiskey supposedly consumed by these 'real men'. Even more unlikely is Dave's romantic rush of blood to the head near the end of the picture, and the melodramatic consequences which flow from it.
There is a Cahn and Van Heusen theme song, of course ("To Love And Be Loved"). Shirley Maclaine is good as Ginnie the 'escort' with the heart of gold. She tended hereafter to be typecast as a trollop ("Irma La Douce", "Woman Times Seven", "My Geisha", "Sweet Charity", "Two Mules"). The set of the French house is marvellous, with its easy-on-the -eye three-dimensional layout. Martha Hyer as Gwen seems miscast as Frankie's love interest, not least because her head is twice the size of his.
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