Please note I do discuss the whole plot in this review. Second World War melodrama Kings Go Forth is one of the Frank Sinatra films from the 1950s which tends to get overlooked. Some aspects of the love triangle story have dated – I’ll come on to those later – but it is still a film worth seeing. After having now seen it a couple of times through showings on the UK TCM, I have found it growing on me and especially like Sinatra’s delicate, understated central performance. Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood both do their best with difficult roles, and the sweeping black-and-white views of the French Riviera are memorable, as is the melancholy Elmer Bernstein score.
The trailer feels more soapy than the film itself, but gives a glimpse of the three leads, and is also interesting in the way it focuses on the source books for Sinatra’s films.
Director Vincente Minnelli created one of the warmest portrayals of American family life on film in the great musical Meet Me in St Louis (1944). But he gives a very different, darker take on families in Some Came Running, a 1950s melodrama which tackles the type of subject matter that Douglas Sirk made his own. The colour is gorgeous (or at least I assume it was originally – the DVD I have in the Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years collection looks a little faded at times), and there are many Cinemascope set pieces, including a glossy dance scene. However, the town’s idyllic appearance is constantly undercut by suggestions of the backbiting and nastiness just beneath the surface of life in the fictional Parktown.