FILMS IV (1960-1965)

NOTE: Sinatra had enough muscle in the movie biz by 1960 that he could pick and choose his own project, and even cast his friends, as evidenced by the Rat-Packed Ocean's Eleven.  Sinatra's films continued also to be hit and miss, with some immortal films like The Manchurian Candidate and Von Ryan's Express rubbing shoulders with dreck like Robin and the Seven Hoods.  Vanity projects were usually Sinatra's downfall, but if given the goods with a great script and director, Frank always came through. 

Ocean's Eleven (1960)
Warner Brothers;
Screenplay by George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell (Story), Harry Brown, Charles Lederer and Billy Wilder (uncredited);
Directed by Lewis Milestone,
127 min.

Frank Sinatra ....  Danny Ocean
Dean Martin ....  Sam Harmon
Sammy Davis Jr. ....  Josh Howard
Peter Lawford ....  Jimmy Foster
Angie Dickinson ....  Beatrice Ocean
Richard Conte ....  Anthony 'Tony' Bergdorf
Cesar Romero ....  Duke Santos
Patrice Wymore ....  Adele Ekstrom
Joey Bishop ....  'Mushy' O'Connors
Akim Tamiroff ....  Spyros Acebos
Henry Silva ....  Roger Corneal
Ilka Chase ....  Mrs. Restes
Buddy Lester ....  Vince Massler
Richard Benedict ....  'Curly' Steffens
Jean Willes ....  Mrs. Gracie Bergdorf
Norman Fell ....  Peter Rheimer
Clem Harvey ....  Louis Jackson
Hank Henry ....  Mr. Kelly (mortician)
Lew Gallo ....  Jealous young man
Robert Foulk ....  Sheriff Wimmer
Red Skelton ....  Cameo, gambler
George Raft ....  Jack Strager (casino owner)

Ocean's Eleven is an entertaining watch for the last forty minutes or so, but you have to wade through an hour-and-a-half of dreck before that.  Sinatra is Danny Ocean, a former World War II G.I. who decides that the world owes him.  He gathers together other ex-G.I.s including Sammy Davis Jr. (who drafted him?) Dean Martin (ran the platoon's still - obviously), Peter Lawford (we drafted rich, pretty-boy Englishman?) and Joey Bishop (playing a character called 'Mushy' - how appropriate).  The idea is pretty good on paper: Ocean carries out a plan originated by petty mobster Spyros Acebos where five gambling casinos (The Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, The Sand and The Flamingo) will be robbed simultaneously at midnight on New Year's Eve.  With the star power present and the location their home stomping grounds, how could it not be fun?  I'll tell you how: by making the first hour and a half of this two-hour plus movie all about planning the heist, getting in little "in-jokes", throwing in an interminable subplot about Ocean's ex-wife (a wasted Angie Dickenson), and throwing in a few musical numbers just because they can.  The story, which was pulled together by five different writers has no forward thrust - it just meanders from scene to scene before the actual heist begins and the interesting fallout from the robbery finally redeems the movie.  There are some interesting ideas: Sammy Davis as a singing garbage truck driver?  (Sammy gets to sing the theme song, which is a great little twelve-bar blues riff), Shirley MacLaine doing her tipsy call-girl bit, which she already nailed in Some Came Running, and Dean trying to be serious on camera for 30-seconds.  This could all be watchable if the humor was sharp, but it's mostly lame, and seemingly made up on the spot.  The story finally picks up during the heist (improbable, but fun to watch it unfold), and the final funeral sequence, which adds a wonderful twist at the end.  A film you truly have to endure to get to the good stuff.  Sinatra's next film appearance would be a brief cameo in the star-studded bomb Pepe.


The Devil At 4 O'Clock (1961)
Columbia Pictures;
Screenplay by Liam O'Brien, from the novel by Max Catto;
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy,
126 min.

Spencer Tracy ....  Father Matthew Doonan
Frank Sinatra ....  Harry
Kerwin Mathews ....  Father Joseph Perreau
Jean-Pierre Aumont ....  Jacques
Grégoire Aslan ....  Marcel
Alexander Scourby ....  The Governor
Barbara Luna ....  Camille
Cathy Lewis ....  Matron
Bernie Hamilton ....  Charlie
Martin Brandt ....  Doctor Wexler
Louis Merrill ....  Aristide Giraud
Marcel Dalio ....  Gaston
Tom Middleton ....  Paul, Co-pilot
Ann Duggan ....  Clarisse
Louis Mercier ....  Corporal
Michele Montau ....  Margot

A somewhat disappointing melodrama, The Devil At Four O'Clock is an almost prototypical 'disaster' movie, with a full roster of disparate characters all coming together in the face of impending destruction.  Father Matthew Doonan (played with the usual crustiness by Spencer Tracy) plays a faithless priest who oversees a leper colony on a remote island.  Sinatra is Harry, part of a trio of criminals (the others being Bernie Hamilton and Gregoire Aslan), whose only crime seems to be a general surliness.  When the plane that these three are being transferred on makes a stop at the leper colony, they are caught up in the drama of an unexpected eruption from the island's volcano.  Kerwin Mathews, an actor best known for his roles in Ray Harryhausen films (The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad), plays idealistic priest Jospeh Perreau, who has come to replace Spencer Tracy's character, and to complete the triumverate of faith vs. faithlessness, we have the athiestic Doctor Wexler, played by Martin Brandt.  Of course, you need a lovely lady to be distressed, and so we have the beautiful, blind Camille (Barbara Luna) - since peril is twice as perilous if you can't see it... urgh.  This mish-mash of characters and their various hang-ups is all supposed to be compelling drama, but it's clumsily handled in the by-the-numbers script, leaving the audience not much caring who lives or who dies when the volcano finally blows its top.  Sinatra isn't his best here, with a one-take performance which pales against Spencer's more nuanced portrayal, of even Kerwin Mathews exceptionally passionate priest.  But you can't really blame Sinatra, he probably saw from the first read-though that the star of the movie is the volcano, as the impressive visual effects team convincingly mimics the earthquakes and spewing lava that imperil everyone's lives.  An OK film for fans of the genre, but not Sinatra's finest  hour.

Sergeants 3 (1962)
Claude Productions/Essex Productions/United Artists;
Screenplay by W.R. Burnett;
Directed by John Sturges,
112 min.

Frank Sinatra ....  Mike Merry
Dean Martin ....  Sgt. Chip Deal
Sammy Davis Jr. ....  Jonah Williams
Peter Lawford ....  Sgt. Larry Barrett
Joey Bishop ....  Roger Boswell
Henry Silva ....  Mountain Hawk
Ruta Lee ....  Amelia Parent
Buddy Lester ....  Willie Sharpknife
Phillip Crosby ....  Cpl. Ellis
Dennis Crosby ....  Pvt. Page
Lindsay Crosby ....  Pvt. Wills
Hank Henry ....  Blacksmith
Dick Simmons ....  Col. William Collingwood (as Richard Simmons)
Michael Pate ....  Watanka
Armand Alzamora ....  Caleb
Richard Hale ....  White Eagle
Mickey Finn ....  Morton
Sonny King ....  Corporal
Eddie Little Sky ....  Ghost Dancer
Rodd Redwing ....  Irregular
James Waters ....  Colonel's aide
Madge Blake ....  Mrs. Parent
Dorothy Abbott ....  Mrs. Collingwood
Walter Merrill ....  Telegrapher

REVIEW:  The second Rat Pack movie is slightly better than the first, strangely, this film rarely makes an appearance on television.  I'm not sure if this is due to some kind of licensing problems or what, but it's certainly worth watching.  The story, borrowing liberally from Rudyard Kipling's Gunga Din, transposes the story to the old west, where Sinatra, Martin, and Peter Lawford play three calvary sergeants who, along with their intrepid bugler Sammy Davis Jr. decide to take on a trouble-making Indian Chief (Henry Silva) who plans to unite all the local Native American tribes into a huge army to fight the encroaching white man.  Despite the inherent improbability of these guys ever being convincing in these particular roles, the film works, since the story is infused with liberal amounts of Rat Packed humor, slapstick, and audience asides - from Sammy Davis Jr. being buried up to his neck in an anthill to Peter Lawford having to scale a roof to drop dynamite down a chimney, to Joey Bishop as a tightly-wound Leutenant who nearly snaps everytime the sergeants are up to their shenanigans, it's full of little fun moments for fans.  Notoriously hard to find.  After this film, Sinatra made two cameo appearances: the first as a walk-on in Bob Hope and Bing Crosby's last 'Road' picture Road To Hong Kong, and as a Club 602 singer in Advise and Consent (voice only).

The Machurian Candidate (1962)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists;
Screenplay by George Axelrod and John Frankenheimer (uncredited), adapted from the novel by Richard Condon;
Directed by John Frankenheimer,
126 min.

Frank Sinatra ....  Capt./Maj. Bennett Marco
Laurence Harvey ....  SSgt. Raymond Shaw
Janet Leigh ....  Eugenie Rose Chaney
Angela Lansbury ....  Mrs. Iselin
Henry Silva ....  Chunjin
James Gregory ....  Sen. John Yerkes Iselin
Leslie Parrish ....  Jocelyn Jordan
John McGiver ....  Sen. Thomas Jordan
Khigh Dhiegh ....  Dr. Yen Lo
James Edwards ....  Cpl. Alvin Melvin
Douglas Henderson ....  Col. Milt
Albert Paulsen ....  Zilkov
Barry Kelley ....  Secretary of Defense
Lloyd Corrigan ....  Holborn Gaines
Madame Spivy ....  Female Berezovo

REVIEW:  A stylish and brutal film, The Manchurian Candidate may be Frank's best film, even as it baffles and chills audiences as much today as when it was first released.  Sinatra even held this film from re-release for nearly 25 years after Kennedy's assasination, so potent is its vision.  Frank plays former Captain Bennett Marco, who is haunted by savage nightmares of himself and his platoon being captured by Korean forces, even though he has no memory of this ever happening.  He slowly becomes convinced that he and his buddies were brainwashed into forgetting the trauma, but more than that - one of his buddies, the medal of honor winner Raymond Shaw, may have been programmed to play a Chinese puppet in his bid for the White House.  Everyone on board is perfect, from Sinatra's deteriorating wreck of a man to Shaw's disturbing shifts from icy blank slate to charming man of the people; from Janet Leigh's sympathetic Eugenie Rose who is the first to believe Sinatra's unbelievable tale, to Henry Silva's believable pose as Communist agent who directs the brainwashing session.  But most fans point out Angela Lansbury's fanatical portrayal as Mrs John Iselin, wife of a U.S. Senator and Raymond Shaw's power-mad mother who is as wickedly funny as she is horrific in her unrelenting ambitions for her son (and herself).  The dream sequences as staged by director Frankenheimer are truly disturbing as they constantly shift perspectives and characters, and we see Shaw and his companions losing all sense of what is real, and are stipped of all compuctions and humanity.  Shot in stark black and white, the sense of impending doom builds to nail-biting intensity - it remains a classic of American filmmaking.  The DVD contains bonus footage of Frank talking about his role, as well as short featurettes and commentary by Frankenheimer.  Frank's next film would be a cameo in The List of Adrian Messenger.

Come Blow Your Horn (1963)
Essex Productions/
Paramount Pictures;
Screenplay by Norman Lear, from the stage play by Neil Simon;
Directed by Bud Yorkin,
112 min.

Frank Sinatra ....  Alan Baker
Lee J. Cobb ....  Harry R. Baker
Molly Picon ....  Mrs. Sophie Baker
Barbara Rush ....  Connie
Jill St. John ....  Peggy John
Tony Bill ....  Buddy Baker
Dan Blocker ....  Mr. Eckman
Phyllis McGuire ....  Mrs. Eckman (buyer for Neiman-Marcus)
Herbie Faye ....  Waiter
Charlotte Fletcher ....  Manicurist
Romo Vincent ....  Rudy, the barber
Greta Randall ....  Tall Girl
Joyce Nizzari ....  Snow Eskanazi
Carole Wells ....  Eunice, Blonde slapping Buddy

REVIEW:  Having been written by Broadway legend Neil Simon, I expected Come Blow Your Horn to be funnier than it is - not that it's terrible, but it lacks the snap and sparkle I would have expected, leaving a pleasant memory, but nothing more.  Sinatra plays older, wiser brother 'Alan Baker' to Tony Bill's 'Buddy', who is chafing at the restrictions his too-square parents put on him, so he decides to move in with his swinging bachelor brother, and Frank, perfectly parlaying the part of a swinging single (even if he is about 15 years too old for the part), teaches his little brother the "tricks of the trade".  This leads to all sorts of complications when Buddy begins to siphon off the chicks that Frank used to attract himself!  There are several zingy one-liners in the best Neil Simon tradition, and there's even a cameo by Dean Martin playing (what else?) a wino!  But despite the nifty day-glo colors and sixties cocktail party atmosphere (thanks in great part to Nelson Riddle's sparkling score), the film feels a little soggy - it should have been sharper, quicker and funnier; but pehaps the problem is the basic story, which is amusing, but not really high comedy material.  Sinatra too seems to be resting on his laurels after the intensity of Manchurian Candidate, this film feels like a come down from better things.  Worth finding for fans, and the theme song, by Jimmy VanHeusen, can be found on the Sinatra In Hollywood box set.  Sinatra's next film would be the singer behind the opening credits of A New Kind Of LoveVHS only

4 For Texas (1963)
Warner Brothers/Sam Company
Screenplay by Robert Aldrich, W.R. Burnett (uncredited) and Teddi Sherman;
Directed by Robert Aldrich,
124 min.


Frank Sinatra ....  Zack Thomas
Dean Martin ....  Joe Jarrett
Anita Ekberg ....  Elya Carlson
Ursula Andress ....  Maxine Richter
Charles Bronson ....  Matson
Victor Buono ....  Harvey Burden (President, Galveston Savings & Trust)

Edric Connor ....  Prince George (carriage driver)

Nick Dennis ....  Angel
Richard Jaeckel ....  Pete Mancini
Mike Mazurki ....  Chad (Zack's bodyguard)
Wesley Addy ....  Winthrop Trowbridge
Marjorie Bennett ....  Miss Emmaline
Virginia Christine ....  Elya Carlson's maid
Ellen Corby ....  Widow
Jack Elam ....  Dobie
Jesslyn Fax ....  Mildred (widow)
Fritz Feld ....  Fritz (maitre d' at Orlando's)
Percy Helton ....  Jonas Ansel (railroad agent)
Jonathan Hole ....  Headwaiter on riverboat
Jack Lambert ....  Monk
Paul Langton ....  Beauregard
Keith McConnell  
Teddy Buckner and His All-Stars ....  Group cast appearance
Michele Montau  
Maidie Norman ....  Burden's maid
Bob Steele ....  Bank board member
Mario Siletti  
Eva Six  
Abraham Sofaer ....  Bank board member
Michael St. Angel  
Grady Sutton ....  Bank clerk
Ralph Volkie ....  Spindrift survivor
Max Wagner ....  Blackjack dealer
William Washington ....  Bill Williams
Dave Willock ....  Alfred
Joe DeRita ....  Painting deliveryman (as The Three Stooges)
Larry Fine ....  Painting deliveryman (as The Three Stooges)
Moe Howard ....  Painting deliveryman (as The Three Stooges)

REVIEW:  Claiming that "They're Busting Up The West Like It's Never Been Busted Up Before!" 4 For Texas finds Frank and Dean teaming up for laughs in this pseudo-spaghetti western which takes place in 1870s Galvaston.  They play gambling and romantic rivals here, wooing the affections of European sex-pots Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress, who are just as wily as the two gentleman in procuring money.  Victor Bruno plays the amusing role of town banker Harvey Burden, who spends much of the film looking for a sandwich and something to wash it down with, the Three Stooges (in their Curly Joe incarnation) also show up for a couple of sequences taken from their classic schtick.  After a hilarious opening sequence of the two Rat Packers staggering through the desert, nicely establishing their antagonistic repartee, the film descends into a lazy slap-dash potpourri of dry in-jokes, guest shots and a sub-plot involving hit-man Matson, played by Charles Bronson, who acts his part so grimly, he seems to have wandered in from another film.  Whether you'll find all this laid-back fun and games worthwhile depends on how much tolerance you have for Frank & Dean's shenanigans on screen, which seems to have them walking through the scenery and dropping the off-the-cuff remark whenever it suits them, but it's all in good fun, and if you're not too discriminating, you'll find this film full of laughs and goofy good-natured romps.   

Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964)
Claude Productions/Essex Production/Warner Brothers;
Screenplay by David R. Schwartz;
Directed by Gordon Douglas,
123 min.

Frank Sinatra ....  Robbo
Dean Martin ....  Little John
Sammy Davis Jr. ....  Will
Bing Crosby ....  Allen A. Dale
Peter Falk ....  Guy Gisborne
Barbara Rush ....  Marian Stevens
Victor Buono ....  Sheriff Alvin Potts
Hank Henry ....  Six Seconds
Robert Foulk ....  Sheriff Octavius Glick
Allen Jenkins ....  Vermin Whitouski
Jack La Rue ....  Tomatoes
Robert Carricart ....  Blue Jaw
Joseph Ruskin ....  Twitch
Phil Arnold ....  Hatrack
Harry Swoger ....  Soupmeat
Bernard Fein ....  Charlie Bananas
Richard Bakalyan ....  Robbo's hood
Sonny King ....  Robbo's hood
Phillip Crosby ....  Robbo's hood
Al Silvani ....  Robbo's hood
Harry Wilson ....  Gisborne's hood
Caryl Lee Hill ....  Cocktail waitress
Mickey Finn ....  Bartender
Dick Simmons ....  Prosecutor (as Richard Simmons)

REVIEW:  I've never been able to warm to this tepid musical, which was the final entry in the so-called Rat-Pack films.  Maybe it's because Frank seems so uninvolved; maybe it's because the music is obviously second-rate Guys and Dolls ripoffs (with the exception of the classy "Chicago"), most guiltily on the flabby "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat" take-off "One For All And All For One" which features a singing Peter Falk!  Sammy Davis also gets in a memorable top-of-the-table dance sequence during his song "Bang Bang", but the dancing (and the occasional shattering of glass due to gunshots) is what sticks in the mind, not the song.  Other pale imitations include the laughable "Don't Be A Do-Badder", the soggy "Style" and the prohibition anthem "Booze".  None of these songs are top-drawer entertainment, and the performances, which could have saved them, are smarmy and half-hearted.  What's supposed to be a sharp, depression-era gangland war between Frank's 'Robbo' and Falk's 'Guy Gisbourne' turns into a front for various money-laundering charities, with Frank's character skimming his cut off the top while pretending to give to the poor.  Bing Crosby comes off best here, in a low-key performance as Robbo's accountant who pulls a trick on his boss, all with a twinkle in his eye and a well-rehearsed shuffle in his step.  Even Dean Martin's trademark drunk routine feels threadbare at this point, and his single song "Any Man Who Loves His Mother" is second skimmings of better things in the past.  It didn't help that when this musical was released, the Beatles invasion was in full force; the gang of once-hot entertainers suddenly look about as hip as your father's old 78 RPM records. 

None But The Brave (1965)
Sinatra Enterprises/Toho Film Co. Ltd/Warner Brothers;
Screenplay by John Twist and Katsuya Susaki, based on a story by Kikumaru Okuda; Directed by Frank Sinatra,
106 min.

Tatsuya Mihashi ....  Lt. Kuroki
Takeshi Kato ....  Sgt. Tamura
Homare Suguro ....  LCpl. Hirano
Kenji Sahara ....  Cpl. Fujimoto
Mashahiko Tanimura ....  Lead Pvt. Ando
Toru Ibuki ....  Pvt. Arikawa
Ryucho Shunputei ....  Pvt. Okunda
Hisao Dazai ....  Pvt. Tokumaru
Susumu Kurobe ....  Pvt. Goro (as Susume Kurobe)
Takashi Inagaki ....  Pvt. Ishi
Kenichi Hata ....  Pvt. Sato
Frank Sinatra ....  Chief Pharmacist Mate
Clint Walker ....  Capt. Dennis Bourke
Tommy Sands ....  2nd Lt. Blair
Brad Dexter ....  Sgt. Bleeker
Tony Bill ....  Air Crewman Keller
Sammy Jackson ....  Cpl. Craddock
Richard Bakalyan ....  Cpl. Ruffino
Rafer Johnson ....  Pvt. Johnson
Jimmy Griffin ....  Pvt. Dexter
Christopher Dark ....  Pvt. Searcy
Don Dorrell ....  Pvt. Hoxie
Phillip Crosby ....  Pvt. Magee
John Howard Young ....  Pvt. Waller
Roger Ewing ....  Pvt. Swensholm
Richard Sinatra ....  Pvt. Roth

REVIEW:  An odd, but interesting anti-war film which marked Frank's first and only time as director.  An unique joint production between Sinatra's Artanis Productions and Japan's Toho Studios (the studio that brought us Godzilla), this was one of the few films to show both sides of a conflict. None But The Brave begins by showing a Japanese platoon company that has become stranded on a tiny island in the Pacific, with the soldiers overseen by the strict Lt. Kuroki (Tatsuya Mihashi).  When an American troop plane crashes on the island, a deadly struggle between the two forces breaks out, with the opposing sides fighting over such basic necessities as fresh water. When Sinatra's character is called upon to treat a wounded Japanese soldier's wounded leg, it sets the stage for a truce, so the two sides can cooperate on building a wood ship so they all can escape the island. This film could've been a much more interesting look at prejudice and the reasons for war, but instead it takes a none-too-subtle tack of attacking war as wrong at in any instance, which is so obviously wrong-headed that it hamstrings the film from the start. Pretentious slogans like the final line: "No one ever wins" which spring from character's lips with all the earnest conviction that the '60s inspired feel out of place in a World War II drama, where patriotism was at an all-time high. In fact, that's my main criticism of this film: it has Vietnam-era sentiments slathered onto a World War II environment, and it feels anachronistic from the start. Sinatra's direction is competent, but never more than that, and the acting (with the exception of a fine performance by Clint Walker) pushes into over-the-top territory more than once.  A curiousity, but it's overwrought platitudes are out of place.  

Von Ryan's Express (1965)
20th Century Fox/P-R Productions;
Screenplay by Wendell Mayes and Joseph Landon, based on the novel by David Westheimer;
Directed by Mark Robson,
117 min.


Frank Sinatra ....  Col. Joseph L. Ryan
Trevor Howard ....  Maj. Eric Fincham
Raffaella Carrà ....  Gabriella (as Raffaella Carra)
Brad Dexter ....  Sgt. Bostick
Sergio Fantoni ....  Capt. Oriani
John Leyton ....  Orde
Edward Mulhare ....  Capt. Costanzo
Wolfgang Preiss ....  Maj. Von Klemment
James Brolin ....  Pvt. Ames
John Van Dreelen ....  Col. Gortz (as John van Dreelen)
Adolfo Celi ....  Battaglia
Vito Scotti ....  Italian Train Engineer
Richard Bakalyan ....  Cpl. Giannini
Michael Goodliffe ....  Capt. Stein
Michael St. Clair ....  Sgt. Major Dunbar
Ivan Triesault ....  Von Kleist

REVIEW:  Ahh, this is more like it!  One of my favorite films, with racheting suspense and action that lets the viewer clutch onto the edge of their seats, but also contains deft touches of humor, drama, and Frank Sinatra dead-on as the ascerbic title character.  Sinatra stars as Colonel Joseph Ryan, whom we meet at the start of the film as an unbending prisoner in World War II Italy. He trades verbal jabs with the camp commander, even getting the other soldiers in the camp to strip naked in protest of their squalid living conditions!  But his real coup comes when he makes a prison break with several of the men after the Italians forces abandon the camp, are captured by a German squad, hijack a train, and make a desperate run in to the Swiss border, and freedom. There are several suspensful moments, from Ryan's trading of medical supplies for men (earning him the additional "Von" tag to his name from the other men), to him gunning down a beautiful woman who betrays them; to the venemous Nazi hostages he takes aboard the train, to the final nail-biting run towards a blockaded tunnel, all the while outrunning enemy bombers and snipers. The entire film Sinatra butts heads with career officer Major Eric Fincham (played brilliantly by Trevor Howard) who doubts Sinatra's place as leader, despite his superior rank, while also dealing with Nazi troops dogging their every move. The direction by Mark Robson (Peyton Place, The Bridges at Toko-Ri), is dynamite, with an escalating tension simmering within the fleeing forces, as well as tense moments (like when a Nazi officer notices Sinatra's watch during a tense stopover).  An absolutely fantastic film, both for lovers of high-adventure and those who want to see one of Frank's best films.

Marriage On The Rocks (1965)
A-C Productions/Sinatra Productions/Warner Brothers;

Screenplay by Cy Howard based on his story "Community Property";
Directed by Jack Donohue,
109 min.


Frank Sinatra ....  Dan Edwards
Deborah Kerr ....  Valerie Edwards
Dean Martin ....  Ernie Brewer
Cesar Romero ....  Miguel Santos
Hermione Baddeley ....  Jeannie MacPherson
Tony Bill ....  Jim Blake
John McGiver ....  Shad Nathan
Nancy Sinatra ....  Tracy Edwards
Davey Davison ....  Lisa Sterling
Michel Petit ....  David Edwards (as Michael Petit)
Trini López ....  Himself
Joi Lansing ....  Lola
Darlene Lucht ....  Bunny
Kathleen Freeman ....  Miss Blight
Flip Mark ....  Rollo
DeForest Kelley ....  Mr. Turner
Sigrid Valdis ....  Kitty
Byron Foulger ....  Mr. Bruno

REVIEW:  Frank's up-and-down film career took a definite dip in this confusing and dated exploration into husband swapping.  Frank plays Dan Edwards - a stiff, oblivious advertising executive, whose wife Valerie (played by the luminous Deborah Kerr), is bored with their 20-year marriage.  And after consulting with divorce lawyer Shad Nathan, decides to try and rekindle their romance with a second honeymoon in Mexico.  However, once there, they meet quickee divorce/quickee marriage lawyer Miguel Santos (the barely reined-in Cesar Romero), who, misunderstanding their intentions, divorce the two before they really know what's happening.  Before their marriage can be reinstated, Dan gets called back home, Dean Martin (as best friend Ernie) is asked to keep Valierie company, but Cesar again steps in, and marries Ernie and Valerie!  Let the wackiness begin.  What tries so hard to be a cheeky screwball comedy is a mess, with Frank and Dean sleepwalking their way through the picture (Dean may actually be drunk most of the time he's onscreen), leaving poor Deborah Kerr and hammy Cesar Romero to try to lift the flagging attempts at humor, and even appearances by Nancy Sinatra (with "where-are-they-now" Tony Bill as boyfriend 'Jim') and future Star Trek actor DeForest Kelley aren't enough of a draw to keep me interested in this desperately un-funny husband swap.  Worth seeing for the scenery, and Romero's chewing of same, but otherwise deservedly on the scrap-heap of Frank's later films. 

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