|STUDS LONIGAN (director: Irving Lerner; screenwriters: novel by James T. Farrell/Philip Yordan; cinematographers: Arthur H. Feindel/Haskell P. Wexler; editor: Verna Fields; music: Jerry Goldsmith; cast: Christopher Knight (Studs Lonigan), Frank Gorshin (Kenny Killarney), Helen Westcott (Miss Julia Miller), Dick Foran (Patrick Lonigan), Venetia Stevenson (Lucy Scanlon), Carolyn Craig (Catherine Banahan), Jack Nicholson (Weary Reilly), Robert Casper (Paulie Haggerty), Katherine Squire (Mrs. Lonigan), Jay C, Flippen (Father Gilhooey); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Philip Yordan; United Artists; 1960)|
|"To cheer things up, a contrived
happy ending is attached."
by Dennis Schwartz
long popular trilogy classic book by James T. Farrell,
written in the 1930s about life for overgrown troubled
teens in the 1920s, is compressed and compromised but
not enough to keep it from still being a fine literate
film. Director Irving Lerner ("Murder by Contract"/"Cry
of Battle"/"Suicide Attack") creates a grim narrative.
To cheer things up, a contrived happy ending is
attached. Writer Philip Yordan works
hard to keep his screen adaptation faithful to the
book and succeeds.
follow the aimless Chicago South Side-living
disillusioned 18-year-old Irish lad Studs Lonigan (Christopher
Knight) and his Irish wastrel pals (Frank
Gorshin, Jack Nicholson and Robert
Casper) hang out at a pool hall, chase the girls,
drink a lot and goof around with many adventures.
Though Studs is a decent sort, he's lost in not
finding himself. Studs develops a chaste relationship
with nice girl Lucy Scanlon (Venetia Stevenson),
a girl he idolizes, but she wants a better future and
sees herself attending an out-of-town college while
holding out no plans in the future for him.
follow Studs for ten years, and when the stock market
crashes in 1929 it leaves the 28-year-old
bachelor jobless as dad's (Dick Foran)
business goes under.
period piece details are well-handled. Dick Foran and
Frank Gorshin are naturals for this story and elevate
the dramatics greatly. However newcomer Christopher
Knight doesn't have the full emotional range to
draw the best out of his complex leading role.
became the basis for a 1979 TV miniseries.
REVIEWED ON 4/24/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ