The Cinematic Legacy of Frank Sinatra. David Wills. Amberley
Frank Sinatra (1915 -1998) was the Godfather of cool. He’s such an iconic drinker that we put him on the cover of the first ever issue of The Carouser. He is best remembered now as the ultimate late night singer who gave us wonderful albums such as Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, In The Wee Small Hours and Come Fly with Me. Frank began his recording career in 1939 and released around 60 studio albums plus numerous compilations and live records. For many people to be one of the most famous and influential singers of all time would be enough. But Francis Albert Sinatra strived for more and he sought to crack one of the toughest industries around – the Hollywood film business.
Franks cinematic career began with cameo appearances as a singer in the early 1940’s and from 1944 to 1970 he appeared, often in a starring role, in over 50 feature films. He also produced 7 films and directed a film. Frank was a serious actor, unlike fellow famous singer, Elvis Presley, who appeared in many lightweight, forgettable films. Frank won an Oscar for his role as best supporting actor in From Here to Eternity (1953) and made many other fine films such as The Man with the Golden Arm, The Manchurian Candidate and Von Ryan’s Express. Cinematic Legacy of Frank Sinatra is a beautifully illustrated tour of Frank’s mammoth movie career. The book utilises stills and film posters to illustrate most of his films together with contemporary quotes from co-stars and move critics.
This book could be classed as a “coffee table” book but I feel it is more of a beginners guide to the vast cinematic oeuvre that is Frank Sinatra. The book has a useful 10 page introduction to his film career and also includes short essays by his 3 children, Tina, Nancy and Frank jnr. who all share memories of their favourite Frank films. If you are already a fan of Frank’s films then this book will be an essential addition to your bookshelves. If you are someone who has seen one of his films scheduled on TV on a Sunday afternoon and wondered what the fuss was about then do try to catch some of his films and revel in the presence of the great man. A theme that keeps coming thought the book was that Sinatra was a giant, a man who without any formal training in either acting or singing, instinctively knew what to do to give a great performance. Sinatra’s film career effectively ended in 1970 when he announced his retirement when he was still at the top of his game. He knew that winners quit when they were ahead.
Whilst you are looking through this fine book, do what Frank would have done and pour yourself a generous measure of Bourbon and sing along to, Come Fly with Me, the title track from the superlative 1957 album.