One morning, a drunken soldier and a girl get off a coach. He is a disillusioned writer going home. There he makes friends with a gambler and ends up marrying the blonde who got off the coach that morning.
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I don't entirely know what the film was about as a whole, but that still didn't stop me from being thoroughly engaged by it. Despite the wonderful acting, the thing that struck me the most was the elegant and seemless camerawork and beautiful expressionistic lighting. This came especially into focus in one of the most erotic kiss scene of any film, with the sound of deep breathing as two lovers are wrapped in shadows
Jack Lehtonen said it best a few posts down: "One of the Great American Films." This one was a revelation when I finally watched it. Something about James Jones' novels in the hands of such talented directors created classic films.
"I don't understand you neither, but that doesn't mean I don't like you." From then on, the ridiculous 'side character' gets the center stage, an earned close-up, the carnivalesque cliché of a mask turned into a touching human face. Like the film itself, gradually becoming gloomily vigorous.
The way Minnelli paints the scope canvas (inspired by the insides of jukeboxes) & his attention to framing (oh man, those interiors) are immaculate. The ending in particular is almost a microcosm for the film itself. Transformed into the fairgrounds, Parkman becomes a literal stage for the melodramatic expression of these characters’ psychologies - a collision of neon lights, stark emotions, and jarring cuts.
A somewhat forgotten gem. Minneli brings his musical tastes and flair for technicolor and brings a palette of beautiful color to this rather grey and bleak tale of characters who are all troubled in their own unique way. The cast is excellent, the script tight, and the direction and climax beautiful. Highly recommended.