|GOING HOME - 1971 page 1
SYNOPSIS: A boy (JMV) who's seen his mother killed at the hands of his own father grows up insecure and angry espcially when he finds out his father has been let out of jail early and has shacked up with a new woman.
Thanks to Ruth for submitting the scans
|MOVIE REVIEW by Lorraine
GOING HOME - STARRING ROBERT MITCHUM
& JAN MICHAEL VINCENT - 1971
Review by Lorraine Beasley - 5.2.06.
This movie is very dark, very deep and very thought provoking.
The story begins with flashbacks to the night when a young boy, Jimmy Graham, wakes to hear his parents fighting, viciously, brutally, bloodily and as it turns out, murderously.
The boy, probably no older than about six, comes out of his room to find his bloodied and beaten mother coming down the stairs toward him, she falls, and dies before his eyes. Scared witless the distraught child rushes back to hide in a corner of his room, and watches as his father, Harry Graham, comes to the bottom of the stairs and stands over his dead wife.
The child is judged competent to give evidence against his father in court and when his father is sent to jail, he is condemned to a life of orphanages, boys homes and foster homes.
Present day is the early 1970's with the Vietnam War in full flow. Jimmy, now 19 years old is rejected by the military because he has asthma (although this does not appear to hinder the young man when he needs to run, or when he gets involved in a fist fight with some rowdy sailors on leave), and although the reason is not fully explained, young Jimmy goes out to the jail to visit his father …. Only to find that Harry was released on parole over a year before.
Finding out where his father now lives, Jimmy hitches a ride on a freight train and then finds it difficult to actually go through with meeting up with his father again after all those years apart.
The rest of the movie is taken up with the strange relationship between father and son, sometimes confrontational, sometimes awkward. At times, young Jimmy seems to be making an effort to get along with his father, seeming to have forgotten the awful thing he did to his mother only to then become dark and broody and write on the men's room wall that people should Beware Of Harry Graham Who Killed His Wife …. Or going to the local police to swear out a complaint against his father for killing his mother, although it happened thirteen years before, and the police are aware that Harry is living in their jurisdiction.
Obviously the young Jimmy was damaged by the incident he witnessed and is looking for answers …. Why did his father kill his mother? Why didn't he give a damn about his son? Even after he got out of jail? He also seems to have been damaged by the tough and unstable life in the juvenile care system, shunted from one home to another and one foster family to another.
Robert Mitchum is very good in a rough and ready way as the ex con who is trying to make a new start in a new town with a younger woman, Jenny (played by Brenda Vaccarro)
and is spot on with his portrayal of a man confused and uncomfortable when confronted with a grown up son he has never really known, who is also a living reminder of what he did to his wife.
Jan Michael Vincent is also very good as the confused and broody young man, full of rage and despair one minute and jovial and friendly the next, bragging about his sex life only to avoid an opportunity to sleep with a very willing friend of Jenny's. It is also somewhat confusing at times in so much as these two sides to the character Jimmy, are not easy to follow and neither is fully developed.
Mitchum and Vincent paired up for the first time, look good together and seem comfortable, Vincent holding his own very well in such auspicious company, as he would also do when the pair met up again to star in The Winds Of Wars, again as father and son.
With a surprising twist in the tale towards the end of the movie, it is not always a comfortable or pleasant piece to watch, but it is dramatic and thought provoking and proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jan Michael Vincent had real acting talent and could do more than just look good.
This early in his career it was a risky part to accept, but he pulls it off very well and shows great scope of emotion all the way through the movie.
Score out of 10 - 8.5
PAGE CREATED: 10/29/05 UPDATED: 11/02/14