title
FILMS I (1941-1949)
I  II  III
  IV  V

NOTE: Sinatra's film career was an offshoot of his success as a solo artist.  Initially, his films showed him as the sentimental crooner, always ready to transform an ordinary love scene into something to make the bobby-soxers swoon.  The musicals he performed in were light vehicles for other artists, or paired him with other stars to fit into a sometimes awkward musical pairing.  But these were the films that introduced him to an ever-widening audience, and honing his acting skills, which would come into full flower by the following decade.


Las Vegas Nights (1941)
Paramount Pictures;
Screenplay by Harry Clork and Ernest Pagano;
Directed by Ralph Murphy,
90 min.

Cast:
Phil Regan ....  Bill Stevens
Bert Wheeler ....  Stu Grant
Tommy Dorsey ....  Himself
Constance Moore ....  Norma Jenning
Virginia Dale ....  Patsy Lynch
Lillian Cornell ....  Mildred Jennings
Betty Brewer ....  Katy
Hank Ladd ....  Hank Bevis
Eddie Kane ....  Maitre D'

REVIEW:  Sinatra's first foray into motion pictures couldn't have been more ignominious. He's just another singer in the band in Las Vegas Nights, which lists such where-are-they-now "stars" as Phil Regan and Lillian Cornell. Dorsey & Co make a showing in the background and if you don't blink, you'll see Frank standing in the forefront, as the band plays "I'll Never Smile Again". It's notable for being Frank's entrance into motion pictures, but don't expect to see or hear him (much); Dorsey's band gets much more screen time as the plot revolves around three sisters in a vaudeville troupe who inherit a dusty old building and decide to convert it into a nightclub. ("Hey kids, let's put on a show!") - you get the idea. The plot was recycled in a later film, Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), which starred June Allison, Gloria De Haven and Van Johnson where two girls are bequeathed an unused warehouse by a rich, mysterious benefactor (Van Johnson) and turn it into a ritzy G.I. Canteen!  But in Vegas Nights, Constance Moore plays "Lucky" Norma, Virginia Dale is the dancer, whose big number is swooshing around with the pigeons, and Lillian Cornell sings in a high, vibrato-heavy trill which makes me yearn for Frank to take over the reigns. There's lots of shenanigans, as love interests (who are naturally rich) take an interest in the budding hot-spot, and Bert Wheeler, who plays Stu Grant, gets the show's high point by singing his signature song "Dolores" and playing the comic for the first reel. This film doesn't get shown much, so if Turner Classic Movies ever gives it a run, make sure your TIVO is fired up!



Ship Ahoy! (1942)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer;
Screenplay by Harry Clork,
Directed by Edward Buzzell,
95 min.


  

Cast:
Eleanor Powell ....  Tallulah Winters
Red Skelton ....  Merton K. Kibble
Bert Lahr ....  Skip Owens
Virginia O'Brien ....  Fran Evans
William Post Jr. ....  H. U. Bennet
James Cross ....  'Stump', a dancer
Eddie Hartman ....  'Stumpy', a dancer
Stuart Crawford ....  Art Higgins
John Emery ....  Dr. Farno
Bernard Nedell ....  Pietro Polesi
Tommy Dorsey ....  Himself, orchestra leader
Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra ....  Themselves

REVIEW: This isn't the first film that Frank appeared in, (that honor going to 1941's Las Vegas Nights, but Ship Ahoy is more readily available, showing up on VHS and also making occasional splashes on Cable TV. Frank appears with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as a singer, but has some prominent featured moments, which really electrify the screen. The plot of this wartime diversion has Powell as a singer/dancer in a travelling troupe of players who is conned into carrying a "magnetic mine" overseas on a cruise ship, believing that she's working for the U.S. Government, when she's been duped by a (GASP!) Axis of evil Nazis who got the zany idea for their plot from a dime-store crime novel. Coincedentally, the author of that novel, played by over-hammy funnyman Red Skelton, is also on the cruise, and by another remarkable coincidence (this show is full of them), he falls in love with Powell's character, while she thinks he is a foreign spy after the mine. A remarkably amusing film, typical of the period, with lots of impromptu musical numbers, and plenty of "Perils of Pauline" moments for all the main players. Bert Lahr also brings his natural humor to his role as a smitten suitor for one of Powell's friends. My favorite moment: when Powell uses a featured number to tap-dance out a morse-code message for American agents in the audience!  A real hoot, and Sinatra shines in his featured moments when he sings "Last Call For Love", "Poor You" and "On Moonlight Bay". 



Higher And Higher (1944)
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Screenplay by William Bowers, Jay Dratler, et.al, based on the play by Gladys Hurlbut & Joshua Logan;  
Directed by Tim Whelan, 
90 min.



  

Cast:
Michèle Morgan ....  Millie Pico aka Pamela Drake
Jack Haley ....  Michael 'Mike' O'Brien
Frank Sinatra ....  Frank Sinatra
Leon Errol ....  Cyrus Drake
Marcy McGuire ....  Mickey the maid
Victor Borge ....  Sir Victor Fitzroy Victor aka Joe Brown
Mary Wickes ....  Sandy Brooks
Elisabeth Risdon ....  Mrs. Georgia Keating
Barbara Hale ....  Katherine Keating
Mel Tormé ....  Marty (as Mel Torme)
Paul Hartman ....  Byngham the Butler
Grace Hartman ....  Hilda the Maid
Dooley Wilson ....  Oscar the Chauffeur
Ivy Scott ....  Mrs. Whiffin the cook

REVIEW: Higher and Higher was Frank's first featured role in a film, of course, it's not much of a stretch, since he plays himself! The thin plot involves a rich older gentleman (Leon Errol) who remarkably loses all his money in a bad investment scheme (I guess portfolio diversification wasn't in vogue during the 40's). His servants, who all fear their situations will be terminated, plan an elaborate fix: to marry off the household's young, pretty maid to a rich bachelor, but this plot is put in jeopardy when Frank Sinatra moves in next door and Millie the maid (who is forced into playing the part of the gentleman's daughter) is secretly in love with fellow servant Michael. Frank gets to sing five numbers, only one of which survived from the original Rodgers & Hart broadway show, and also has to share screen time with Mel Torme. Songs include: "Lovely Way To Spend An Evening," "I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night", "The Music Stopped", "I Saw You First" (duetting with Marcy McGuire) and a group number: "You're On Your Own". The film itself is pleasant and lightly madcap, with fast-talking hustlers rubbing shoulders with starry-eyed ingenues. Frank doesn't seem terrible comfortable on screen here; his scenes are stiff and awkward, but when he opens his mouth to sing Jimmy McHugh's melodies he transforms into a buttery crooner - it's pretty remarkable to see how at ease he is singing, when just moments earlier he's as animated as the scenery. I have a feeling that the only reason this film has survived in people's memories at all is the presence of Frank Sinatra, but don't by discouraged from checking this film out - it's great fun, if ultimately forgettable fluff. The soundtrack is also available as a separate CD, paired with Step Lively (see below), but it's recorded directly from the film soundtrack and has lots of extraneous noise.  



Step Lively (1944) 
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Screenplay by Warren Duff and Peter Milne, et.al, based on the play "Room Service" by Allen Boretz and John Murray;  
Directed by Tim Whelan, 
88 min.



  

Cast:
Frank Sinatra ....  Glen Russell
George Murphy ....  Gordon Miller
Adolphe Menjou ....  Wagner
Gloria DeHaven ....  Christine Marlowe
Walter Slezak ....  Joe Gribble
Eugene Pallette ....  Jenkins
Wally Brown ....  Binion
Alan Carney ....  Harry
Grant Mitchell ....  Dr. Glass
Anne Jeffreys ....  Miss Abbott

REVIEW:  Frank's second film of 1944, Step Lively, is remarkably like his previous film in performance and quality, with a significant difference: for the first time, Frank is playing a character, although at this juncture, there's nothing much here for him to sink his teeth into. Sinatra plays Glenn Russell, an aspiring writer who just happens to be able to sing like... well, like Frank Sinatra! Pretty handy when you're putting on a musical, and this show pulls all the stops out: from the massive sets to the glorious interplay of light and shadow in the closing number, this is an impressive-looking show, shot in glorious black and white. The story is pure Hollywood: a hard-up for cash Broadway producer will stoop to anything in order to get his show on the stage, and luckily "discovers" Frank Sinatra in his writing staff. (Hey kids! Let's put on a show!) Other conceits include Frank trying to get from under the thumb of his overbearing father (who happens to be a judge), and even faking his own death! It's hard to believe that this musical was made the same year as the vastly superior Meet Me In St. Louis, but there you have it. This kind of fluff is still loads of fun, and the songs, by Sammy Cahn (including "Come Out, Come Out, Whereever You Are", "As Long As There's Music" and "Some Other Time") are not top-drawer, but enjoyable, and this film pleases a lot of film fans, including me.  The soundtrack is paired with Higher and Higher on a single CD, but contains lots of extraneous chatter and noise from the film with the songs. 



Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 
Screenplay by Natalie Marcin and Isobel Lennart; 
Directed by George Sidney, 
143 min.


   

Cast:
Frank Sinatra ....  Clarence Doolittle
Kathryn Grayson ....  Susan Abbott
Gene Kelly ....  Joseph Brady
José Iturbi ....  Himself
Dean Stockwell ....  Donald Martin
Pamela Britton ....  Girl from Brooklyn
Rags Ragland ....  Police Sergeant
Billy Gilbert ....  Cafe Manager
Henry O'Neill ....  Admiral Hammond
Carlos Ramírez ....  Carlos
Edgar Kennedy ....  Police Captain
Grady Sutton ....  Bertram Kraler
Leon Ames ....  Commander (Admiral's Aide)
Sharon McManus ....  Little Girl Beggar
James Flavin ....  Radio Cop
James Burke ....  Studio Cop
Henry Armetta ....  Hamburger Man
Chester Clute ....  Iturbi's Assistant

REVIEW:  Frank's jump into Technicolor came in a big way in Anchors Aweigh. Paired with screen greats Gene Kelly and  beauty Kathryn Grayson, Frank was expected to deliver in a big way, and although he noticably struggles with stiffness in his lines and dancing (more on that later), he still proves to be a huge asset in this wartime romantic musical. Forced to play yin to Kelly's yang as a nerdy sailor who pairs with his world-wise buddy on shore leave in NYC, Frank is suitably earnest and annoying as Kelly's hanger-on. He sings three big ballads, "What Makes The Sunset," "I Fall In Love Too Easily" and "The Charm Of You", as well as a reading of Brahms' "Lullaby", and his dewy-eyed performances were certain to hit audiences like a sledgehammer. Nobody sang like Sinatra during these years, with so much expressiveness and feeling. Less impressive is Sinatra's dancing with Kelly, who gained screen immortality that same year with his performance in Singing In The Rain - let just say it right now - Frank tries hard, but compared with the athletic grace of Gene Kelly, it's obvious that Frank is hanging on for dear life during the hoofing. Oh, well, you didn't go to the movies to see Frank dance, you went to hear him sing, and he delivers here in spades, and looks great in the amazingly vibrant Technicolor process. This is also the film where Gene Kelly makes history by sharing the screen with Jerry the Mouse in a spectacular Pas De Deux. Worth being in the library of every film fan. Again, the soundtrack is available separately in a messy dub from the original film.



Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 
Screenplay by Guy Bolton, George Well, et. al; 
Directed by Richard Whorf, 
132 min.


    

Cast:
June Allyson ....  Jane in 'Leave it to Jane'/Specialty
Lucille Bremer ....  Sally Hessler
Judy Garland ....  Marilyn Miller
Kathryn Grayson ....  Magnolia in 'Show Boat'/Specialty
Van Heflin ....  James I. Hessler
Lena Horne ....  Julie in 'Show Boat'/Specialty
Van Johnson ....  Bandleader in Elite Club
Tony Martin ....  Gaylord Ravenal in 'Show Boat'/Specialty
Dinah Shore ....  Julie Sanderson
Frank Sinatra ....  Finale specialty
Robert Walker ....  Jerome Kern
Gower Champion ....  Specialty in 'Roberta'
Cyd Charisse ....  Dance Specialty in 'Roberta'
Harry Hayden ....  Charles Frohman
Paul Langton ....  Oscar Hammerstein II
Angela Lansbury ....  London Specialty
Paul Maxey ....  Victor Herbert
Ray McDonald ....  Specialty in'Oh Boy' and 'Leave it to Jane'
Mary Nash ....  Mrs. Muller
Virginia O'Brien ....  Ellie Mae in 'Show Boat'/Specialty
Dorothy Patrick ....  Eva Kern
Caleb Peterson ....  Joe in 'Show Boat'
William 'Bill' Phillips ....  Joe Hennessey, Taxi Driver (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)
Joan Wells ....  Sally Hessler as a girl
Lyn Wilde ....  Specialty (as The Wilde Twins)
Lee Wilde ....  Specialty (as The Wilde Twins)

REVIEW:  Just one of the many bloated, mega-spectacular bio-pics that MGM was guilty of, Till The Clouds Roll By was the studio's attempt to cash in on the songwriting royalties of Jerome Kern.  Filled with reverential actors pretending that Kern's life is worthy of Shakespearean gravitas, there's the added attraction of several kitchen sinks thrown into the overblown musical numbers. The story is slight; a fictionalized retelling of Kern's life, accompanied by ridiculously ornate showpieces for the dozens of songs presented. The partial list of stars that are on the slate for this film should give you an idea of its scope - there are re-creations of scenes from Kern's bigest hits, including Roberta, Show Boat, Oh, Boy and Leave It To Jane. Frank shows up for the final number, a stirring rendition of "Ol' Man River" which became one of his favorite showpieces over the years. But before you see Frank, you'll have to wade through over two hours of the dry-as-dust Robert Walker-as-Kern reminiscing over his successes and failures, Judy Garland paying homage to Marilyn Miller to sing "Look For The Silver Lining", and a spectacular "Who?", Lena Horne giving a searing reading of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and a youthful Angela Lansbury asking "How'd You Like To Spoon With Me?" Other highlights include Dinah Shore singing "They'll Never Believe Me," Lucille Bremer and Van Johnson chirpily singing "I Won't Dance" and Virginia O'Brien covering the standard "A Fine Romance".  MGM allowed the copyright to expire and the film entered the public domain, which means several shoddy DVD editions are out there. MGM finally has released its own definitive version of the film on DVD, shown above, which has nice bonus features and the best overall sound and picture you can find. 



It Happened In Brooklyn (1947)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 
Screenplay by Isobel Lennart, based on a story by J.P. McGowan; 
Directed by Richard Whorf, 
104 min.


     

Cast:
Frank Sinatra ....  Danny Webson Miller
Kathryn Grayson ....  Anne Fielding
Peter Lawford ....  Jamie Shellgrove
Jimmy Durante ....  Nick Lombardi
Gloria Grahame ....  Nurse
Marcy McGuire ....  Rae Jakobi
Aubrey Mather ....  Digby John
Tamara Shayne ....  Mrs. Kardos
Bobby Long ....  Johnny O'Brien
William Haade ....  Police Sergeant

REVIEW:  Sinatra plays ex-G.I. Danny Miller who returns home after four years of service to Brooklyn and, having no family to live with, moves in with crusty janitor Jimmy Durante. While there, he meets and is smitten with Kathryn Grayson, but helps an old acquaintance (who just happens to be a rich young British bachelor) get the girl in the end, while he settles for second best. Offshoots from this romantic triangle include Grayson's dillema of being a failed Opera star who now teaches music, Sinatra being afraid to sing in public (!) and Durante stealing the show whenever he's allowed. There's also a sentimental subplot involving a fund-raiser for one of Grayson's students! Peter Lawford plays himself as the rich British bachelor ("He has a fine command of the English language" notes Durante), and generally has to stand around looking handsome (his one major talent). Songwriters Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn came up with an instant classic for Frank to sing: "Time After Time", and Sinatra duets with Durante on the memorable "The Song Gotta Come From The Heart", while Kathryn Grayson actually sings some Mozart ("La Carem la Mano" from Don Giovanni). This movie is really just a great big love letter to Brooklyn, with lots of shots of the city, and Sinatra and Durante gushing about how it's the greatest place on earth. I imagine if you're from the borough, it will evoke some nice memories, but as a film, It Happened In Brooklyn feels cobbled together, and all the nice moments don't quite add up to a satisfying experience. The soundtrack is available separately on CD, paired with a non-Sinatra soundtrack, Variety Girl, in a shoddy-sounding dub from the film.



The Miracle Of The Bells (1948)
RKO Radio Pictures; 
Screenplay by Ben Hecht and Quentin Reynolds, from the novel by Russell Janney; Directed by Irving Pichel, 
120 min.


      

Cast:
Fred MacMurray ....  William 'Bill' Dunnigan
Alida Valli ....  Olga Treskovna (as Valli)
Frank Sinatra ....  Father Paul
Lee J. Cobb ....  Marcus Harris
Harold Vermilyea ....  Nick Orloff
Charles Meredith ....  Father J. Spinsky
Jim Nolan ....  Tod Jones, Reporter
Veronica Pataky ....  Miss Anna Klovna
Philip Ahn ....  Ming Gow
Frank Ferguson ....  Mike Dolan
Frank Wilcox ....  Dr. Jennings

REVIEW:  This sentimental weeper, Miracle of the Bells is a real departure from other films that Frank participated in, is a straight drama, telling the story of an obscure movie star, who after making her first feature film (Joan Of Arc), dies, and her body is taken back to her gritty coal-mining hometown to be buried. Her cynical press agent, played with slimy gusto by Fred MacMurray, tries to drum up interest in the picture, which the studio wants to delay, by having the town churches ring their bells for three days. Siantra plays a hesitant priest, and this is perhaps the first role where he appears completely comforatable in front of the cameras. Despite the anomaly of having Frank as a member of the cloth, he's quite good in portraying the somber, uncertain man who has to deal with the onslaught of the Hollywood publicity machine. He sings the simple, lovely "Ever Homeward" a capella, and is marvellous in an understated performance. Valli, who portrays the actress Olga Treskovna in a series of flashbacks, is also very good as Joan Of Arc, reminiscent of the exotic Greta Garbo. The miracle that occurs at the end of the picture will surprise absolutely no one, but the heartfelt sentiment, and the convincing conflict between MacMurray's slimy character and Sinatra's sincere preist is worth seeing. Not exactly a feel-good movie, but a warm and earnest part for Frank - a turning point that would see greater leaps in his on-screen presence in just a few short years. 



The Kissing Bandit (1948)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 
Screenplay by John Briard Harding and Isobel Lennart; 
Directed by Laszlo Benedek, 
100 min.


       

Cast:
Frank Sinatra  - Ricardo
Kathryn Grayson  - Teresa
J. Carrol Naish  - Chico
Mildred Natwick  - Isabella
Mikhail Rasumny  - Don Jose
Billy Gilbert  - General Torro
Sono Osato  - Bianca
Clinton Sundberg  - Col. Gomez
Carleton Young  - Count Belmonte
Edna Skinner  - Juanita
Vincente Gomez  - Mexican Guitarist
Nick Thompson  - Pablo
Pedro Regas  - Esteban
Julian Rivero  - Postman
Cyd Charisse  - Specialty dancer
Byron Foulger  - Grandee
Mitchell Lewis  - Fernando
Joe Dominguez  - Francisco
Alberto Morin  - Lotso
Ricardo Montalban  - Specialty dancer
Ann Miller  - Specialty dancer
Henry Mirelez  - Pepito

REVIEW:  Sinatra apologists really need to stop harping over The Main Event and devote all their energies to erasing this collossal piece of miscasting from the public's memory. The Kissing Bandit is an all-too-typical overheated romantic musical, which probably could have succeeded had the powers-that-be had the grey cells to cast, oh, say, Clark Gable in the lead role opposite Kathryn Grayson. But no, as the role of the smoldering Latin lover they chose Sinatra, the skinny kid from Hoboken. It's pretty painful to watch Frank, with his hair dyed jet-black trying to be convincing as the son of the now-retired "Kissing Bandit", whose passion for theft was only surpassed by his passion for women. When mild-mannered Ricardo (Frank's character) takes on the persona of the hot-blooded Kissing Bandit (shouldn't it be "Bandito?") in order to overthrow the government's evil tax-collectors (are there any other kind?), he manages to win the heart of the governor's lovely daughter Theresa (Grayson), and of course, after several musical numbers everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. It's not that it's a horrible show, although it is dated and melodramatic; shows like this can be great fun in a camp sort of way, but Frank is just never convincing in the role, and the songs he has to sing ("What's Wrong With Me", "If I Steal A Kiss", "Siesta" and "Seniorita") are bottom-drawer slush. In a way, this movie reflects Frank's recording time at Columbia, when he was beginning to be given songs that were simply not suited to his style - so goes this movie. Other folks have better material, including the very funny J. Carroll Niash as Frank's mentor and sidekick, and Mildred Natwick, who plays Grayson's fussy aunt. Also check out the spectacular "Dance Of Fury" for a peek at future stars Cyd Charisse, Ricardo Montalban, and Ann Miller. For Frankoholics.



Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1949)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 
Screenplay by Harry Tugend and George Wells, based on a story by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen; 
Directed by Busby Berkeley, 
93 min.


        

Cast:
Frank Sinatra ....  Dennis Ryan
Esther Williams ....  K.C. Higgins
Gene Kelly ....  Eddie O'Brien
Betty Garrett ....  Shirley Delwyn
Edward Arnold ....  Joe Lorgan
Jules Munshin ....  Nat Goldberg
Richard Lane ....  Michael Gilhuly
Tom Dugan ....  Slappy Burke

REVIEW:  Gene Kelly, who by now had plenty of clout in Hollywood, dreamt up this zany vehicle as a showcase for himself and his Anchors Aweigh co-star Frank. Take Me Out To The Ball Game has the two starring as a pair of turn-of-the-century ball players who moonlight in the off season as Vaudvillian troupers (now there's a fresh twist), their lives are thrown into turmoil when they return and find that their team has been inherited by lovely Esther Williams!  I know, none of it makes much sense, but the gang is having so much fun romping around in this brilliantly staged Technicolor marvel, that the audience probably didn't care. This was extravaganza wizard's Busby Berkeley's last film, and he shows he still has a master's touch when staging unbelievably dense production numbers: from William's hotel-pool frolic (hey, had to get her in the water somehow) to Gene Kelly's goofy Irish jigging, to Frank's mooning over the new owner, and being mooned over by always-watchable Betty Garrett, this show is simply fun. Busby even throws in some gangsters to keep things interesting, but the film really doesn't need them - put these four stars on the screen and things go pop!  Frank's skinny frame is responsible for several jokes on his account, but he gets to sing the affecting "The Right Girl For Me", even though the rest of the numbers (by Singing In the Rain alum Betty Comden and Adolf Green) are pure corn: "O'Brien To Ryan To Goldberg" is just musical pap, "It's Fate, Baby, It's Fate" is a by-the-numbers duet between Betty Garrett and Frank, and Gene & Frank's duet, "Yes, Indeed" is old-school vaudville. Busby pulls out all the stops for the patriotic bombshell "Strictly U.S.A.", and ties everything up with a fairy-tale happy ending. If you're into car explosions, you'll hate this, but for everyone else - grab the popcorn and enjoy.



On The Town (1949)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 
Screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden, taken from their musical play; Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 
98 min.


         

Cast:
Gene Kelly ....  Gabey
Frank Sinatra ....  Chip
Betty Garrett ....  Brunhilde 'Hilde' Esterhazy
Ann Miller ....  Claire Huddesen
Jules Munshin ....  Ozzie
Vera-Ellen ....  Ivy Smith ('Miss Turnstiles')
Florence Bates ....  Madame Dilyovska
Alice Pearce ....  Lucy Shmeeler
George Meader ....  Professor


REVIEW: 
Kelly & Sinatra's third and final film pairing is without question their best.  On The Town, lifted from the Broadway stage, and jettisoning half of Leonard Bernstein's remarkable score (how does anyone jettison Bernstein?) manages to capture the fun and sparkle of the best of the Hollywood musicals. The film reunites three-quarters of the Take Me Out To The Ballgame cast, and brings in leggy Ann Miller as the brainy dancer who can strip off her skirt and do twirls 'til the cows come home. The film also receives a huge goose in the use of on-location shots of NYC in the opening moments, something no other musical had done, but which was repeated for other films like West Side Story. Sinatra plays it right in the pocket here, as eager, but misled sailor "Chip" who wants to "see it all" in just one day, but keeps getting sidetracked by one-track-minded taxicab driver Betty Garrett. Sinatra is hilarious as the intially hen-pecked but gradually thawing lover, leaving Gene Kelly to pursue his vision of finding and wooing "Miss Turnstiles" (Vera Ellen). Third wheel Jules Munshin is also a knock-out as the gawky "Ozzie" who finds his soul-mate in prim-then-fiery Miller. The locations, music (most of it newly written by Roger Edens) and cast simply give it their all - and I for one would have loved to see the heights that another Sinatra/Kelly pairing would have brought, but alas, 'twas not to be. My only complaint is that one of Bernstein's best-ever comedy songs, "I Can Cook Too" which was a smash on Broadway, is cut - too bad, 'cause Betty Garrett would have torn it up on screen; but nevertheless, run, don't walk to find a copy of this seminal American musical and see how when it was good, it was very, very good indeed. After this film, Sinatra took a year off to host his own television hour "The Frank Sinatra Show" and prepared to recast himself as a whole new kind of film actor.


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