Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Film: From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity featured a terrific cast, including Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, and Donna Reed. It received 13 Oscar nominations, winning 8, including Best Picture. Uploaded by 2sao.vn.

What does it take for a movie to rise above an enjoyable diversion for a couple of hours and achieve status as a classic? A great story, of course – in this case provided by the James Jones novel. An outstanding cast – would Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, and Donna Reed suffice? And a talented director, like the underappreciated Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, Oklahoma!, A Man for All Seasons, Julia).

Uploaded by i.mtime.com.

Made in 1953, From Here to Eternity is noteworthy for several reasons. It includes one of the iconic scenes in all movie history, with Lancaster and Kerr kissing (wink wink) in the surf. The Army wouldn’t cooperate in the making of the movie until the filmmakers agreed to make changes that didn’t reflect so harshly on the service. And the movie is credited with saving Frank Sinatra’s career, the singer having got the part only after begging Harry Cohn for the part – and after the original selection for Maggio, Eli Wallach, changed his mind and took a Broadway role instead.

From Here to Eternity received 13 Oscar nods, and won 8, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Sinatra) and Actress (Reed). In the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies, it ranked number 52.

Music: Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey had an amazing 286 songs make the Billboard charts, and 17 went all the way to number one. Three of his recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Uploaded by wikimedia.org.

America has produced some great American pop and rock performers. I’ve paid tribute to some of them here: Tom Petty, The Rascals, Credence Clearwater Revival, Jack White (see more in the Singer category). But I believe the finest popular music America has ever produced came during the big band era, most notably from Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.

Uploaded by mysticgames.com.

Tommy’s first success came with his brother Jimmy in the late 1920s, but they had different musical directions in mind, and split to form their own orchestras in 1935. One of Tommy Dorsey’s hallmarks was his ability to surround himself with great musicians. Among those who sang or played in his band were Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Doc Severinsen, Buddy DeFranco, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa.

Tommy Dorsey and his smooth trombone placed a phenomenal 286 songs on the Billboard charts, with 17 making it to number one. Among his most memorable songs:

  • “Marie”
  • “Stardust”
  • “Little White Lies”
  • “I’ll Never Smile Again”
  • “I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You”
  • “Dolores”
  • “Opus One”
  • “Music, Maestro Please”
  • “Hawaiian War Chant”
  • “The Lady is a Tramp”

Dorsey’s recordings of “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Marie,” and his theme song, “I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You,” have been inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame. One side note…Tommy and Jimmy made up in the 1950s, and had a TV show called Stage Show. Its claim to fame is that it marked the first television appearance of a young Southerner named Elvis – before his famous Ed Sullivan Show gig.

Film: The Philadelphia Story

In a powerhouse cast that included Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart, only one earned an Academy Award for acting - Jimmy Stewart. Uploaded by listal.com.

This movie starred Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart.

Really, do I need to say anything else? Could that incredible cast possibly produce anything less than a timeless gem? We don’t know the answer to that, but The Philadelphia Storyis one of the best representations of the romantic comedy, probably the most popular film genre. Directed by the great George

Uploaded by fanpop.com.

Cukor and released in 1940, the movie is taken from the play of the same name in which Hepburn also starred. (Joseph Cotten played the Cary Grant role, and Van Heflin had Jimmy Stewart’s part. Hepburn had wanted Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy for the movie roles.)

The Philadelphia Story received seven Academy Award nominations, winning two – Best Actor (Stewart) and Best Writing, Screenplay. In the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies, it ranked number 51. By the way, the film was adapted to a musical (High Society) in 1956 with another blockbuster cast: Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Grace Kelly. You can bet that movie will be on this list before long.

Holiday: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" made its debut in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. Judy Garland introduced it to the world. Uploaded by annyas.com.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the relatively few Christmas songs  to have their genesis in films or on Broadway. This song made its debut in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis, sung by Judy Garland.

Uploaded by pattisprimitives to etsy.com.

In the movie, Judy Garland’s father planned to move the family to New York, a move which pleased no one. Garland sang this song to her little sister to cheer her up. One line in the song, still heard occasionally, went:

From now on we’ll have to muddle through somehow.

Then in 1957, Frank Sinatra recorded the song for his album A Jolly Christmas. He asked the song’s writer, Hugh Martin, to change that line to make it more, well, jolly. So now we usually hear:

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

Since that time, there’s been one more change to the lyrics. A line that always bugged me was “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.” Turns out Martin originally wrote: “…if our Lord allows,” but it was removed so the song wouldn’t be too religious. I’m surprised to see that this kind of negative sentiment already existed more than 60 years ago.

Music: The Rat Pack

Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Dean Martin. And Sinatra was the Chairman of the Board. Uploaded by writeonnewjersey.com.

They called themselves “The Summit” or “The Clan.” Everyone else called them something else – The Rat Pack.

While those five were the heart of the Pack, membership was somewhat fluid. Lawford was the brother-in-law of President John Kennedy, and Sinatra thought he’d have some influence on the administration as a result. The Government was wary of his perceived mafia connections, however, and never allowed him the access he desired. As a result, Lawford was never part of the group again after 1962.

Uploaded to Flickr by popartdks.

A still developing Las Vegas was their headquarters, and their popularity was a significant factor in the city’s growth. When one member had a concert, the others would often show up for an impromptu group show. The Sands Hotel even put on their sign “DEAN MARTIN – MAYBE FRANK – MAYBE SAMMY.”

The five appeared together in two films, the original Oceans Eleven (1960) and Sergeants 3 (1962). At least two of the group appeared together in six other movies.

Of course, women were a major part of the Rat Pack as well. Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, Angie Dickinson, Marilyn Monroe, and Judy Garland all had their times hanging out with the guys. They didn’t perform with the Pack, but definitely partied with them. As they might have said, “They were broads and they were barn burners, baby, but they were always the end.”