Some Came Running | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Some Came Running

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Some Came Running (1959) is arguably the greatest of the extraordinary series of 'Scope and color melodramas that Vincente Minnelli directed over the span of a decade, beginning with The Cobweb (1955). Minnelli, known for his handling of decor (he got his start in Chicago designing window displays for Marshall Field's), used his camera to weave character and setting into intense, sometimes garish fabric. In Some Came Running, Frank Sinatra plays a writer who returns to the midwestern town where he was reared, setting in motion a series of struggles between family members and lovers in which everyone seems to be running in place, trapped in patterns of cyclical repetition that are mirrored in carefully arranged, almost entrapping wide-screen images. Finally a carnival scene explodes the screen into a cacophony of colors as characters struggle between selfishness and selflessness, passion and freedom. Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine give superb performances that matter most for how they function in the film as a whole, and the script includes some wonderfully cynical comments on small-town America. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday and Sunday, March 15 and 17, 6:00, 443-3737)

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