When he came to headline his second James Jones adaptation, however, he knew that MGM needed his presence after the 1,266-page novel had failed to find critical favour. He secured a three-picture deal worth an unprecedented $400,000 against 10% of the gross.
Yet, this study of small-town manners and sibling rivalry says more about director Vincente Minnelli than Sinatra or co-stars Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine.
Sinatra knew Minnelli through Humphrey Bogart’s Holmby Hills Rat Pack but quickly came to dislike his relaxed style of directing actors and his perfectionism in composing the CinemaScope imagery.
He also took against the intrusively starstruck residents of Madison, Indiana, but he holds this ensemble melodrama together, as a cynical writer with a foot on either side of the tracks.
Betty Lou Keim
Professor Robert Haven French
Sister Mary Joseph
George E. Stone