EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|A HOLE IN THE HEAD (director: Frank Capra; screenwriter: Arnold Schulman/based on his play; cinematographer: William H. Daniels; editor: William Hornbeck; music: Nelson Riddle/song "High Hopes" by James Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn; cast: Nelson Riddle/song "High Hopes" by James Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn; Cast: Frank Sinatra (Tony Manetta), Edward G. Robinson (Mario Manetta), Jimmy Komack (Julius Manetta), Eddie Hodges (Ally Manetta), Eleanor Parker (Mrs. Rogers), Carolyn Jones (Shirl), Thelma Ritter (Sophie Manetta), Keenan Wynn (Jerry Marks), Benny Rubin (Abe Diamond), Joi Lansing (Dorine), George De Witt (Mendy Yales), Ruby Dandridge (Sally); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Frank Capra; MGM Home Entertainment; 1959)|
film of the 61-year-old Frank Capra."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Another annoying Frank Sinatra pic, another
box-office hit. The penultimate film of the
61-year-old Frank Capra ("Lady for a Day"/" Pocketful of
Miracles"/"It's A Wonderful Life"), his
first pic since "Here
Comes the Groom" in 1951, is a lighthearted family
comedy, a lesser film in his oeuvre, one that is best
remembered for Sinatra singing its Oscar-winning theme
song "High Hopes." It's based on the hit Broadway play
Schulman, who handles the screenplay. The author was
forced by the studio to change his Jewish stage
characters to Italian for the film.
The transplanted New
Yorker, the widowed forty-year-old Tony Manetta (Frank
Sinatra), is a ne'er-do-well small-time hustler
running the Garden
of Eden, a
shabby hotel in Miami's South Beach. Tony's to be
evicted in 48 hours because he falls behind on his
mortgage payments. Kept busy raising his mature and cute
11-year-old son Ally (Eddie
Hodges) and dreaming of creating a multimillion dollar
Disneyland-type resort, Tony leads the life of a bum
as he's a womanizer running around with his kooky
tenant Shirl (Carolyn
living a life beyond his means.
In hopes of getting
bailed out of his predicament, Tony asks for financial
help from his square overbearing big brother Mario (Edward G. Robinson), a self-made successful
New York five-and-dime store owner. Mario arrives in Miami
Beach with his disapproving loyal wife Sophie (Thelma
Ritter), who feels sorry for Ally and she wants him in
their custody because his dad is irresponsible.
Sophie also fixes Tony
up with a wealthy widow, Mrs. Rogers (Eleanor Parker), who turns
out to be warmhearted and attractive, and someone Tony
falls in love with despite them getting off to a bumpy
It turns out that Tony
is really a good parent and a decent guy, and refuses
to be a heel and use his relationship with Mrs. Rogers
to advance his dreams of being a rich businessman.
By the end everything seems so fake, a typical Capra flick about a little guy with big dreams, as Tony is forced to learn a few life lessons about love, responsibility and how to live a decent life. The undeserved happy ending gives us the impression that being broke is not the end of the world--which is enough to give one a hole in the head.
REVIEWED ON 1/30/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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