HE to HBO Publicists: “Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All pops next Sunday and Monday on HBO, and aside from Deadline‘s Michael Fleming and his ex-Variety boss and colleague Peter Bart, I don’t know a soul who’s been offered access to a screener or an online code or a theatrical screening or anything. N.Y. Post contributor Robert Rorke critic ran a review on 3.25, but nobody in my realm has seen it or anything. Anything you can tell me?”
About six and a half years ago I posted an mp3 of Sinatra’s “Soliloquy” — not the’46 version but the one recorded for the 20th Century Fox/Henry King film version of Carousel before Sinatra abruptly quit and Gordon MacRae was hired to replace him. Sinatra wasn’t quite the belter that MacRae was, but he brought so much more finesse to this song. The intimate phrasing, soulful tremolo, bassy comfort zone, etc.
“For a good part of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra dominated American pop culture, first as an artist and then as an icon of what is now a bygone idea of masculinity,” Rorke wrote.
“As seen in the worshipful HBO documentary, Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, his fame was so unexpected and so instantaneous that it startled him, a young band singer with a wife and two children, but he was a fast learner, whether it was how to tap dance for his first film (‘Anchors Aweigh’), seduce starlets or insinuate himself into the coterie of campaign aides to John F. Kennedy when he ran for president.
“For the only child of Italian immigrants who settled in Hoboken, such a trajectory would have been unimaginable in 1915, the year Sinatra was born.
“The film, which was directed by Alex Gibney (Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown), stresses the most evolved parts of the singer’s personality — using his celebrity to stamp out bigotry in Hollywood, for example — while giving him a pass when his trademark volatility left collateral damage. As Lauren Bacall, whose engagement to Sinatra was abruptly terminated when the press learned of it, tells a television interviewer, ‘I haven’t spoken to Frank since 1959 and that was a very long time ago.’
Ava Gardner: “He was good in the feathers. You don’t really listen to what people tell you when a guy’s good in the feathers.”