Sinatra blogathon thanks – and Happy Christmas!

Frank at ChristmasAfter catching up with all  the wonderful contributions to the Sinatra blogathon, I must again thank everyone who took part, and Emily of The Vintage Cameo for all her work in co-hosting and organising. You’ve all been fantastic! I also want to wish everyone visiting my blog a Happy Christmas.

If you missed any of the postings, here are the links:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

And here’s a link to the master list.

I’m now inspired to watch a lot more of Sinatra’s films, so will be catching up with some of those I’ve never seen over the coming weeks and then returning to read the relevant postings again!

 

Meet Danny Wilson (Joseph Pevney, 1951)

This is my second contribution to the Sinatra Centennial Blogathon, which I’m hosting together with Emily from The Vintage Cameo. Emily is hosting the last two days of this event, so please head over to her site to see the latest postings.  My first contribution was Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

Meet Danny Wilson 1It’s not one of Frank Sinatra’s better-known films, and was released as his career was heading for the rocks in the early 1950s. Yet Meet Danny Wilson, an uneven melodrama laced with music and comedy,  contains some of his finest singing, and also gives hints of the acting triumphs which were to come. Made in black-and-white, this film was produced on a low budget and is admittedly no masterpiece, but all the same I really enjoyed it and found it a great way to celebrate his centennial.

In particular, he gives an absolutely spellbinding performance of She’s Funny That Way. The film is also interesting to watch because there are quite a few echoes of Sinatra’s real life, something which was commented on at the time. The film is available on DVD in the UK/region 2, from Eureka, but looks as  if it is harder to get hold of for those of you in the US. The UK DVD, which I own, has pretty good picture quality, but no extras except for the original trailer.

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Sinatra Centennial Blogathon Day 2 Round-up

SinatraCentennial-SQWelcome to day 2 of the Sinatra Centennial Blogathon!  We’ve had a fantastic selection of postings today, so congratulations to all! Also, here are links to the Day 1 round-up in case you missed it, and the master list of blogs taking part.

Thanks so much to everyone who is joining in this 100th birthday celebration for Frank Sinatra – to all the wonderful bloggers posting their contributions, to everyone reading and commenting and to my amazing co-host Emily of The Vintage Cameo.

Emily is hosting tomorrow and Sunday, so she will include any contributions which were too late for me to get into today’s round-up. You can either leave a comment at her blog or as a comment to this posting, or tweet me at @MovieClassicsWP and/or Emily @vintagecameos. It would be great if you could use the hashtag #Sinatrablogathon.Again, thanks to everyone!

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Sinatra Centennial Blogathon Day 1 round-up

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Happy 100th Birthday, Francis Albert Sinatra! The Sinatra Centennial Blogathon is here, running from December 10 to 13. I’m hosting the first two days, Thursday and Friday, here at Movie Classics, before Emily at The Vintage Cameo takes over  for the 100th birthday itself, Saturday, and Sunday.

If you’re taking part, please let us know when your postings go up, so we can spread the word! Either leave a comment on this posting or you can tweet us at @MovieClassicsWP and/or @vintagecameos – or email me at cstmdrama@gmail.com. If you’re tweeting, it would be great if you could use the hashtag #Sinatrablogathon.

Here is a round-up of the first day’s postings, which cover a great variety of films and themes, with many thanks to all the wonderful bloggers taking part. And thanks so much to everyone who is supporting this event! Also, here’s a link to the master list of blogs taking part. If you have put up a post but were too late for today’s round-up, please leave a comment and I’ll add you into tomorrow’s posting.

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Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby

Frank and Bing

Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank

This piece is my first contribution to the Sinatra Centennial blogathon, which I’m proudly co-hosting with Emily at The Vintage Cameo. I’m also hoping to put a second piece up before the event ends on Sunday!

They might have only co-starred in two movies, but Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby loom large in each other’s legend. Sinatra took inspiration to start out on his singing career from Crosby’s success, while Bing jokingly spoofed Frank on film. Although best-known as singers, both were also Oscar-winning actors. They appeared together on radio and TV over the years, most famously in the TV special Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank, which has recently been resurrected – and is perfect festive viewing for Sinatra’s Centennial.

According to a biography of the young Sinatra I read a few years ago, Frank: The Making of a Legend by James Kaplan, the young Frank had a picture of Bing on his wall and wore the style of cap favoured by his idol. Once Sinatra started to make a name for himself as a singer and followed Crosby into films, comparisons were soon being made between the two.

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Sinatra Centennial Blogathon – it’s almost here!

The Sinatra Centennial blogathon is almost upon us! It will run from tomorrow, Thursday, December 10, through to Sunday, December 13. I’m hosting the first two days here at Movie Classics, and Emily at The Vintage Cameo will be taking over for Saturday (the birthday itself!) and Sunday.

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I’ll put up a posting tomorrow morning and please leave a comment with details of your posting when it’s up, or you can email me at cstmdrama@gmail.com  if you prefer. Alternatively, you can tweet me at @MovieClassicsWP and/or Emily at @vintagecameos. If you’re tweeting about your post, it would be great if you could use a #Sinatrablogathon hashtag.

Here’s a link to the blogathon announcement with the full list of those taking part. We haven’t allocated days in the end, so it’s up to you when to post.

Looking forward to it, and so glad you can join us!

Sinatra blogathon update

Thanks so much to everyone who has signed up to take part in the Sinatra Centennial Blogathon, which I’m hosting jointly with Emily over at The Vintage Cameo – and thanks so much again to Emily for co-hosting and creating all our fabulous banners. :)

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We’ve had a great response and are looking forward to the 100th birthday fun from December 10 to 13, but this is just an update to say that there are still quite a lot of Frank’s films available for any bloggers who haven’t yet joined the party!

Here’s a list of those which are still available – but, of course, you don’t just have to write about a specific film he starred in.

Other themes, such as Sinatra events in your area, his work with other stars and his theme songs offer loads of possibilities. We’re looking for no exact duplicates, but he had such a packed career, that shouldn’t be a problem! If you’re tempted by a theme posting, just check the original blogathon announcement to see whether your chosen theme is still available.

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Announcing the Sinatra Centennial Blogathon

Come fly with us and join the Sinatra Centennial Blogathon! As you’re probably aware,
December 12 this year would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday. Many celebrations are being staged around the world to mark his Centennial – and now classic movie bloggers can raise a toast too.

Emily of The Vintage Cameo and Judy of the Movie Classics blog are joining forces to hold a blogathon over the birthday weekend, from December 10 to 13, and we would love you to join in.

Although Sinatra is of course best-known as a singer, he also starred in many films, from the 1940s right through to the 70s, and won an Oscar for his role in From Here to Eternity.

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Three Coins in the Fountain (Jean Negulesco, 1954)

This is my contribution to the CinemaScope blogathon, running from March 13 to 16, which is being organised by Classic Becky’s Brain Food and Wide Screen World – please visit and take a look at the other postings!

Three Coins in the Fountain 1I’m a fan of Frank Sinatra, so in his centenary year I couldn’t resist choosing Three Coins in the Fountain to write up for the blogathon. While Sinatra doesn’t appear – and isn’t even credited! – his singing of the great title song is probably the first thing that comes to mind for most people when thinking of this film. My mum tells me that everyone came out of the cinema singing it when the film was released in 1954.  The lyrics of the Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn number don’t have a great deal to do with the plot, but it really doesn’t matter. This is a movie where you definitely wouldn’t want to miss the first few minutes, with the song swelling out over stunning footage of the Trevi  Fountain, followed by sweeping shots of Rome.

Of course, another reason for visiting this film this year is in tribute to French star Louis Jourdan, who died a few weeks ago aged 93. Sadly he doesn’t get a chance to sing here, as he did in Gigi a few years later, but he does play the piccolo – and gives an amusing performance as a conceited prince. There’s no explanation as to why an Italian prince has a French accent!

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Which is Frank Sinatra’s best film performance as an actor?

Golden Arm 8I’ve enjoyed watching and writing about some of Frank Sinatra’s films over the last few weeks – and would like to thank everyone who has contributed such great comments. People made a lot of interesting suggestions in response to my question about which were his greatest film songs – and now I’ve got another question to pose. Which is his best film performance as an actor? Here are a few thoughts, linking in to some of the reviews I’ve written here. I have quite a few well-known films still to see, so would especially appreciate thoughts and recommendations on those.

Rod, one commenter who knows a lot about Sinatra’s work, has already suggested that the answer to that question might be the film I’ve just written about, The Man with the Golden Arm.  Sinatra is full of intensity, but never hammy, as junkie Frankie Machine – and heartbreaking as the  character’s desperation for a fix builds. As I said in my review, I feel the film somewhat cops out towards the end, but Sinatra himself gives a fearless performance and fully deserved his Oscar nomination.

So what about the film he actually won a supporting actor Oscar for, and which reinvigorated his whole career after a famously bleak patch – From Here to Eternity? I’ll admit it is quite a while since I saw this (I meant to fit in a viewing over the last few weeks but time ran out) – but, apart from the iconic image of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr lying on the beach, the scenes which stick in my mind the most are those involving Sinatra’s character, Angelo Maggio. I can’t be sure how the performance compares with his others after all this time, but would be interested to hear what others think.

Another film which many would pick as his finest, and which he himself describes in an interview on the DVD as the best in his career, is The Manchurian Candidate. I saw this recently but didn’t write about it because I must admit I found the plot very hard to follow. I’ll need to see it again, but was impressed by the surreal opening sequence and by just how vulnerable Sinatra lets himself be in the scene on the train where he can’t light his cigarette because his hand is shaking. He looks grey and ill, with a patch of sweat breaking out on his upper lip – you want to look away, but can’t.

Yet another acclaimed performance is his role as the soldier coming home to a small town in Some Came Running.  He also makes a compelling nervous gangster in Suddenly (1954), a role which has a lot in common with Bogart’s performance in Wyler’s The Desperate Hours

Then of course there are the films where he combines acting and singing, such as the biopic of comedian Joe Lewis, The Joker Is Wild and the musical Young at Heart, a personal favourite for me. As has often been said, Sinatra really acts when he is singing – he used to study the lyric like a poem and make every word count. Recently I saw a documentary about his career which included a black and white clip of him singing One For My Baby in a TV studio, at a mocked-up bar. I don’t know whether this went out live on air or not, but it was impressive how he acted the scene at the same time as singing the words with passion. Fellow-blogger Patti wrote an interesting comment on one of my postings, after she and her son had a discussion about the question  “Was Frank an actor who could sing? Or was he a singer who could act?” I’d have to say I see him as a singer first and foremost, but his acting is deeply connected to his singing – as in both cases he feels the words and gives them their weight.

Before I start to sound too gushing (if I haven’t done that already), I must say that I’m by no means a fan of every Sinatra film I’ve seen. Rat Pack self-indulgence like Robin and the Seven Hoods leaves me cold, and I was disappointed recently by Double Dynamite (1951), a very weak musical with hardly any songs, where Sinatra is miscast as a meek, boring bank teller and Groucho Marx gets all the good lines!