Movie Review: Dino
- Review by John Seger
Starring SAL MINEO, SUSAN KOHNER, BRIAN KEITH. BLACK & WHITE. Released
Originally a hit teleplay , Sal Mineo reprised his role of Dino Minetta for this
1957black & white theatrical version. Dino is almost 17 years old,
and just got out of a reform school, for participating in a murder at age 13.
When he arrives at his family's modest apartment, he finds his mother left a note,
explaining she and his father had to go to work, and couldn't
welcome him home. All the neighbourhood kids know of his crime, and make wise
cracks. Dino, is on the verge of "exploding", and his parole officer
knows it, so he convinces a social worker, named, Sheridan (played by Brian Keith,
of tv's "Family affair"), to try and help Dino, and keep him from going
back to prison. But, Dino's not open for discussion! He wants
nothing to do with Sheridan, or his parole officer's help.
At home, things are not getting better, as Dino's father is very abusive, and his
mother doesn't try to understand. Only, his younger brother, Tony, looks at
him with the respect Dino seeks. Only, Tony admires Dino's criminal ways, and talks
him into helping a neighbourhood gang plan an armed-robbery.
Sal's performance here is very convincing. Creating a character who is hard
as nails on the surface, slowly revealing the scared, lost boy who lurks under all
the loneliness. In a key scene, where Dino breaks down in
Sheridan's office, Sal emotes so much gut wrenching emotion, in this
scene, revealing he never got affection from his parents. And when he says
the line, "How come nobody ever kissed me?", and breaks down in tears,
you feel his pain. Riveting.
This film also pairs Mineo with actress, Susan
Kohner. (This beautiful, talented, young actress would later again star
with Sal, in the classic hit, "The Gene Krupa story"). As Dino's
interest, Shirley, she also provides Sal with his first onscreen kiss. As
the film approaches it's exciting climax, Dino has learned, he can be
loved, and you can see how his character finally feels hope. But after saying
goodnight to Shirly, Dino goes to meet the gang for the planned robbery.
WIll Dino have the guts to stand up to the gang? Or will he decide to go
through with the robbery, and go back to jail?
One of Sal Mineo's best
performances, and a top notch cast, and production, make this movie a