Some Came Running
Some Came Running is a novel by James Jones, published in 1957. It is the story of a war veteran with literary aspirations who returns in 1948 to his hometown of Parkman, Indiana, after a failed writing career. (Parkman was loosely based on Jones's hometown of Robinson, Illinois.) A film version starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine was nominated for five Academy Awards.
Dave Hirsh is a cynical Army veteran who winds up in his hometown of Parkman after being put on a bus in Chicago while intoxicated. Ginny Moorehead, a woman of seemingly loose morals and poor education, has taken the same bus.
Hirsh had left Parkman 16 years before when his older brother Frank placed him in a charity boarding school, and is still embittered. Frank has since married well, inherited a jewelry business from the father of his wife Agnes, and made their social status his highest priority. Dave's return threatens this, so Frank makes a fruitless stab at arranging respectability, introducing him to his friend Professor French and his daughter Gwen, a schoolteacher.
Dave moves in different circles, however. He befriends Bama Dillert, a gambler who has serendipitously settled in Parkman. Two factors seem to offer Dave hope and redemption: he takes a fatherly interest in his niece, Frank's daughter Dawn, and falls in love with Gwen. Despite his somewhat notorious reputation, Dave is basically a good, honest man, well aware of his own shortcomings. His cynicism is often a mask to hide the pain of rejection.
Though Ginny is not his social or intellectual match, he eventually sees the basic good in her and responds to her unconditional love. In the end, Ginny, stalked by her former boyfriend (a Chicago hoodlum), proves unequivocally the depth of her love for Dave by taking a fatal bullet for him. In the novel, however, it is Dave who is the innocent victim.
The book was savaged by the critics. Due to frequently "misspelled" words and punctuation errors, critics were generally harsh, not recognizing that such elements were a conscious style choice by Jones to evoke the provinciality of the novel's characters and setting.
The book was adapted to Some Came Running, a 1958 American film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine. The role earned MacClaine her first Academy Awards nomination.