Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Even Top Stars Can't Make Much Of "Going Home"

Cleveland Press November 27, 1971

Old sleepy-eyed Robert Mitchum and Brenda Vaccaro with that edge-of-toughness voice of hers are capable of making something out of nothing.

But even with them in it, "Going Home" remains pretty much a nothing.

The movie is about a tortured father-son relationship. Mitchum plays a man who has killed his wife and who was convicted of the crime on the testimony of his young son.

Now it is 15 years later and the man has been paroled. The son, in and out of orphanages and foster homes all these years, still hates him, wants to see him back in jail, but feels the need of having a father.

The boy drifts in where his father is living in a trailer camp, keeping intimate company with a young woman he hopes to marry. Mitchum wants to be a father to the boy while the young man remains tight-lipped, seething inside.

The story hints at much that is never there. Is there some explanation for what had happened 15 years before? The movie suggests that there is more to all this than we can see, that there is some underlying complication.

There isn't. There are some moments that generate real tension and then just dissipate into nothing.

There are also excellent performances from Mitchum and from Miss Vaccaro as his woman. As the son Jan-Michael Vincent is properly uptight, but whether this is a performance or how he is all the time is difficult to judge since there is no variety in his expression.