This weekend: two Minnelli melodramas at the Cinematheque

There are only two screenings on campus this weekend that strike me as being absolute must-sees, and both of them are part of the Cinematheque’s ongoing Vincente Minnelli retrospective: tonight it’s The Cobweb (1955) and tomorrow night it’s Some Came Running (1958), and both will begin at 7:30PM.

I haven’t seen The Cobweb but it’s certainly got a strong-looking cast (Gloria Grahame, Lauren Bacall and Richard Widmark); Some Came Running, on the other hand, I have seen—on TCM—and am really looking forward to being able to see it on the silver screen that will doubtlessly do it the justice that my 13-inch TV couldn’t.

Some Came Running is undoubtedly one of Minnelli’s most endearing melodramas, as well as his most literary, even if Frank Sinatra isn’t 100% believable as an angst-ridden writer who turns to drink and private yet theatrical displays of affection to cope with his inability to compose the mythical “great American novel” (which, truth be told, was probably written by a Russian). Despite this slight problem of believability, Sinatra’s Dave is a much less repulsive character than is, say, Jeff Daniels’s creative writing professor/professional snob from Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale.

Aside from Sinatra, whose star burns too bright for my generation to be able to suspend our collective disbelief and view him as anyone other than Frank Sinatra, Some Came Running also features a strong-as-four-day-old-coffee performance by Dean Martin (the same performance that Michel Piccoli’s character references in Le Mépris) and Shirley MacLaine as a thoroughly sympathetic but thoroughly pathetic woman who can’t take a hint until she proves she can take a hint (and read a short story)—but at that point it’s too late and her fate has been sealed like a twice-licked letter.

Thus, there’s a lot to look forward to at the Cinematheque this weekend. If you’re not presently embroiled in an unfathomably thick situation vis-à-vis schoolwork, you should definitely consider checking these two out.

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