Going Home is a most unusual and intruiging melodrama about a teenage boy’s vengeance against his father for the long-ago killing of his mother. Robert Mitchum in an offbeat role gives an excellent performance as the crude but sensitive father. Jan-Michael Vincent is very effective as his son. Brenda Vaccaro, as Mitchum’s sweetheart, makes a catalytic role into a memorable experience.
The script takes Vincent on a search from prison, where Mitchum was incarcerated, to the sleazy seashore environment where the paroled father is eking out a living. The boy’s love-hate relationship with his father is developed neatly and often to a terrifying degree. Vaccaro, in the literal sense an innocent bystander who gets hurt for her trouble, fills in with human emotions the two men cannot express to each other.
As the undaunted but well worn-down Korean War hero 20 years later, fresh out of stir with a son who hates his guts, with a beer belly and a black future, Mitchum presents a characterization that combines a wide range of acting talents.