That Old Frank (Film) Magic

This is obviously a bit belated but I wanted this to be perfect.

 

tumblr_nzqc9riaOE1r0dj31o1_500On the 12th December the great Frank Sinatra turned 100. Everyone was jumping on the band wagon by playing his great songs and telling us stories about his less than perfect private life. I’ve actually heard someone say they don’t like the guy now they’ve heard some of the sordid tales from his Vegas and married days. Let me assure you these probably are true, there’s lots of other similar tales from friends, family and acquaintances, but this shouldn’t put you off his magnificent work whether it be his song writing, his singing or his acting.

His acting is where we come in. I could spend days talking about his music and his Rat Pack singing days. I could tell you tales of who he inspired, how he was one of the few celebrities of the time who basically needed the press to survive.tumblr_nz9e4vfjJR1r3rmj3o1_500

High Society (1956)

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Grace Kelly & Frank Sinatra

One of the first films I ever watched that starred Sinatra and, to this day, it is still one of my favourite films. Sinatra stars with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Celeste Holm in this fun musical based on The Philadelphia Story. Sinatra is Mike Connor the journalist who is picked to report on the wedding of socialite Tracy Lord. True love ensues for Connor and Holm’s character, Liz Imbrie, yet it’s fun to watch them get to this point. The film has some great songs, some classic funny moments and an all over light hearted feel.

Anchors Aweigh (1945)

One of the first films Sinatra did with Gene Kelly.tumblr_mg8uq2h4IO1qapcnno1_250 This is a great film where Clarence Doolittle (Sinatra) and Joe Brady (Kelly) are on 4 days shore leave in Hollywood. They go on a musical journey where Joe teaches Clarence to pick up girls and he eventually finds an aspiring actress (Kathryn Grayson) who is the love of his life. There’s a mix of animation with Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse. There’s some excellent songs and it is a lovely story. You’ve probably heard of another sailor themed film, On The Town, featuring Sinatra and Kelly but this one is well worth a watch too.

Von Ryan’s Express (1965)

tumblr_mx3cqlhmkh1r3mh0to1_400.gifA Sinatra film that everyone should know about and one that’s a bit different to the others he was famous for. A war film in every sense the film is set in WWII and sees a group of allied soldiers try to escape by hijacking a train. Sinatra plays Joseph Ryan who is a US Air Corps pilot and gets taken to a concentration camp after being shot down. Here the film unfolds into a thrilling story of bravery and courage. Sinatra gives one of his best performances in this role. If you’ve read the book you’ll notice a few differences but I think you’ll agree they work perfectly in the film.

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

A true Rat Pack film, maybe not as famous as Ocean’s Eleven but this is still everything that made the Rat Pack films fun and enjoyable to watch. Sinatra truly made this film brilliant with a glittering cast and some memorable songs all done to the storyline of Robin Hood. Sinatra obviously has the leading role of Robbo and sees that fun, adventure and true spirit takes place in the ranks of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Peter Falk. It’s fun to watch while still teaching the meaning of Robin Hood.

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From Here to Eternity (1953)

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This film basically relaunched Sinatra’s film career and was nominated for and won many awards. It’s based on the book by James Jones and makes for the perfect movie. Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster play three US Army soldiers stationed in Hawaii months before Pearl Harbour. They each have their different problems and we learn a great deal about them throughout the film, as well as the jobs they do. Maggio (Sinatra) is a fun character and yet suffers terribly throughout the film. Sinatra, rightly so, won Best Supporting actor at the Oscars for his role.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Where to start with the film. It’s based on thetumblr_n8aeofHfwt1sjmaqio1_500 Broadway musical but there are some differences most noticeably with there been extra songs written for the film. Sinatra plays gambler Nathan Detroit who’s finding it difficult to find somewhere to hold an illegal crap game because of the police. Then comes in Marlon Brando’s Sky Masterson and they bet on taking a girl out to dinner. Detroit also has to deal with his fiancé of 14 years wanting to tie the knot. The film is very upbeat and has some great romance to it. Sinatra fits the role of Detroit extremely well as if the part was made for him. If you’ve never seen it you’re missing one of the greatest musicals ever.

 

Frank Sinatra made films his own and brought so much emotion and drama to both the big and tv screen it’s a wonder his films aren’t more famous. He’ll always be remembered for his stunning vocals, even in films, but remember the guy won Academy Awards so he definitely did something right somewhere.

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Happy 100th Birthday Vivien Leigh!

Today is special. No. It’s more than special. It’s a day for celebrating Vivien’s life, achievements, loves and losses. Born in India while it still belonged to Great Britain she was our original Golden Girl if you like. Her and … Continue reading

November: Dracula, Classic Horror and Vivien Leigh

I was looking through my Simon’s Cat diary and was quite pleased by what’s coming up over the next month. We thought it was our duty to fill you in on all the goodies that we have to look forward to.

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Friday 25th October brings Dracula to US screens. This version looks sinfully brilliant with the very pretty Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing Dracula (We drooled and squealed so much when this was announced.) Meyers is a great choice for Dracula and after seeing him a few times in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones I think he’ll pull the sexy supernatural role off very well. The trailer also looks quite amazing. I’m hoping it lives up to expectations as there seems to be a few gothic style TV Shows airing this fall/ autumn. Sleepy Hollow and Witches of East End to name a few. British fans will recognise Katie McGrath who played Morgana in BBC’s Merlin, in Dracula she plays Lucy. The 10 episode show airs in the UK on Sky Living on 31st October. This means we’ll be in for a ghoulishly good Halloween Night.

Where Horror films are concerned there’s a great film event you need to look out for at Independent cinemas. The event creatively titled Gothic: The Dark Artelsa-lanchester-bride-of-frankenstein-c10102251-1_7942 of Film runs fully at BFI London where they are showing a huge selection of old and classic horror films. Think Nosferatu Symphony of Horror, Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee Draculas and The Bride Of Frankenstein and you’re definitely on the right lines. After some checking at my local cinemas (Showroom Sheffield and City Screen York) we’ve found out that they are also showing selected films (YAY!) Obviously they don’t have the full selection but they do have some corkers. This Sunday I’ll be in York to see Nosferatu in all it’s silent glory. Showroom are running Gothic well into December so people of Yorkshire you have no excuse to miss classic horror!

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For all the films in Gothic: The Dark Art of Film visit BFI: http://www.bfi.org.uk/gothic

Vivien_Leigh_BFI5th November marks Vivien Leigh’s 100th Birthday. Me and Cat are big lovers of this golden starlet and so are making the effort to make her birthday as big as can be. BFI Southbank are also celebrating by showing her films until January 2014. They’re showing classics like Gone With The Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire along with Waterloo Bridge and The Deep Blue Sea. Keep an eye out because there’s also a few talks taking place at BFI, National Portrait Gallery (with none other than Kendra Bean, Exciting!) and one at V&A Museum on 13th November. I’m very much looking forward to all these. Those who are free on Saturday 16th or Monday 18th November can also buy tickets to have a sneak peek in the V&A archives which now contain some of Ms. Leigh’s clothing and personal affects. What a perfect month November will be!

For a more detailed list on Vivien Leigh talks and events visit http://www.vivandlarry.com This site is basically all you need for everything Vivien. It’s ran by Kendra Bean. All screening times are available here: BFI Vivien Leigh showtimes

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As you’ve been warned we will be contributing lots on Vivien Leigh throughout November. It’s our way of showing our love and appreciation. You’re welcome to get involved too!

Happy Birthday Ol Blue Eyes!

Frank Sinatra. He really needs no introduction. Good Ol Blue Eyes broke many a lady’s heart, even after his death. Multi talented, beautifully handsome and a bad boy for some of his life this man really was the best of … Continue reading