Some Came Running
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
We've been swapping movies.
This is apt, since Kate & Ronny came in on James Grissom’s Follies of God, which is, among other things, a series of deeply felt love letters to an array of female performers who were beloved of Tennessee Williams. Within a couple of days of me visiting him over there, we watched two film that are somewhat sacred to Ronny - Bruce Weber's A Letter to True and There Might Be Giants. Joanne Woodward was never more homely, more unravelled or more enchanting.
Later, when I returned to Wales, he watched The Apartment for the first time, since Shirley and Jack are both holy to me – and Shirley and Jack together at the behest of Billy Wilder are, of course, magnificent.
So, Ronny is here with me in Wales now and we just watched Some Came Running. It is awkward viewing the movie you have often called ‘my favourite movie’ with someone significant. Suddenly the fight scene between Sinatra and that Chicago Hoodlum who looks like Richard Bradford feels as stagey and choreographed as a set-piece between The Jets and the Sharks. And while those tense scenes at the fairground, with Dean Martin eager to find Frank and Shirley before the hood guns one or both of them down, still look wonderful in a neon kaleidoscope kind of way, they are hokey and overdone, too.
However, the story, of small-town snobbery, and the missteps, traps and impediments to love is nuanced and melancholy, and, frankly, I would watch it on a loop with the sound muted to see Dean at his most godlike “like a milk fed quarterback” in Frank’s words.
And doesn't Shirley just wreck you as little Ginny Moorhead - a lost, mismatched rag doll in her thin and satin dress, toting that limp little purse fashioned like a kid's soft toy (is it a rabbit or a lamb?).
Since I revere Ben Wishaw, and the book and the movie, I ordered a DVD of Perfume, having described it somewhat clumsily to Ronny. It arrived yesterday and he said: “Are we watching the one about the redheads who get squished tonight?”