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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Angela Lansbury, Happy Birthday!

One of the, “Should be,” Queens of England (She has a CBE, so, we could be getting there), she was born in England and moved to America where the start of her mind blowing career started.

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It’s this amazing lady’s 88th birthday. Now most of you should recognise at least one piece of her work, her career has span over 7 decades. She’s still alive and looking fantastic so, I’m sure- unless I’ve missed the memo of retirement- there could be more to come.

Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast?

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Miss Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks?

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Aunt Adelaide in Nanny McPhee?

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Growing up you must have watched one of these movies, definitely heard the iconic Beauty and the Beast song Tale as old as time (The normal version- do not mention the Kate Price version)

It’s not just kids who are effected by her acting and voice over work. Some of my favourite work she has done, involves her in a TV series which lasted 10 years- And I’ve tried to watch all the episodes and movies, unfortunately I can’t make any promises as this was when they aired repeats on TV and I have a download limit so it’s not exactly possible to download them all as it’s one of America’s longest running detective drama series (12 seasons over 200 episodes)-

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Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.

Honestly, I break out into a smile every time I hear the name of this series. It’s 90’s Murder style (well it was filmed in the 80’s/90’s), today it could be vaguely related to the TV series Castle, Jessica Fletcher is an author who gets involved in a murder case where ever she seems to go. There’s hardly any forensic science and the police in this case comes in the form of- in most episodes- a sheriff. The series follows Jessica around as she goes visiting family or just stays in her home town of Cabot Cove, Maine.

Angela Lansbury’s acting as Jessica Fletcher, brings about a case of no one else would have been able to portray that character as perfectly as that, she brings about humour and drama to the series but also their are cases where you can actually relate to the character. She may solve, “Whodunnit,” Crimes in this series but really you want to be asking the Murder, She Wrote crew, “Whodunnit?” To pat whoever suggested Angela Lansbury should play this role on the back.

I hope Angela Lansbury is one of these actresses that is remembered forever, I know, for me personally, she is one of my favourites. Which, means in my house when The Harvey Girls is put on the TV, I’m glued to the screen and will fight anyone who talks as that movie stars both Angela Lansbury and Judy Garland. The number of people Angela Lansbury has starred with, is enough to get any old movie fanatic jealous as she has even starred with dancing Actor Gene Kelly in The Three Musketeers (1948), A.K.A The Movie that makes Natalie cry, but then any movie which Gene looks heart broken and cries, she will cry. Angela Lansbury must know about her brilliance due to the amount of fans she has plus the amount of awards she has received for her work.

Happy Birthday Angela Lansbury! We Love you!