title
SOUNDTRACKS

NOTE:  Frank's involvement in Hollywood is well documented on CD, with the massive Rhino box set, as well as scattered individual soundtracks available. But where Sinatra's studio albums are indispensible, his film music is less carefully crafted, since Frank usually only gave one or two takes for each song, and had little control over what music he would be performing. So while riddled with fine performances, it's safe to say that his film music doesn't have the same groundbreaking effect of his other work.

 

Frank Sinatra In Hollywood 1940-1964
Rhino/Warner Brothers 78285 [CD];
Released June 4, 2002


 
  • Contains 6 CDs with cinematic performances, promos and interviews 'The Voice' sang in nearly 50 different films, newsreels and radio/TV spots released by Paramount, RKO, MGM, Columbia, Hearst, Warner Bros., Universal, United Artists, UA/Capitol and Goldwyn from 1940 to 1964.
  • Virtually every track available on CD for the first time.
  • Rarities include a 1948 radio interview for MGM's The Kissing Bandit and Take Me Out To The Ballgame and a 1951 promo spot for Universal's Meet Danny Wilson.
  • Packaged in a beautiful fabric-lined 5 1/2 w x 11 5/8 h x 1 7/8 box, contains a 120 page perfect bound deluxe book with a preface by Leonard Matlin, and liner notes by Sinatra historians and musician Michael Feinstein.
  • Features reproductions of film stills, behind-the-scenes photos, movie posters and other memorabilia. 2002.

REVIEW:  An incredible box set, managing the herculean task of gathering all of the extant Frank Sinatra performances from ten different studios, covering twenty-four years, and putting it all in one very handsome, informative package.  One hundred and sixty tracks, most of which have never been on CD before.  Wow.  But the fact is, that as overwhelming as this box set is, and as much reverence as the producers have lavished upon it, it quickly becomes apparent that much of the material here is second-rate, and many of the tracks don't bear repeated listenings.  Sprinkled in between the songs are interview snippets, award speeches, promotional clips, and other ephemera which may be interesting minutia, but otherwise is so much fluff.  And that's true of much of the music here; Sinatra didn't have control over his film music as he did over much of his studio albums.  The movie studios contracted the songwriters, using their in-house orchestras and conductors, and Sinatra was simply brought in to sing the songs.  Reportedly he would only give the songs one read through, and then go on to the next number.  This apparent callousness over the songs he was handed doesn't mean that the songs here are trash, but many of them are lesser-tier ditties that reminds me of the popular tripe that Sinatra was singing during his later years at Columbia.

Since Sinatra's film scores are generally so unavailable in other products, this is the only place that you can find the music for Anchors Aweigh, The Tender Trap, Young At Heart, From Here To Eternity, as well as his first performance on film ever Las Vegas Nights (singing "Dolores" and "I'll Never Smile Again" with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra).  In fact, the first disc parallells his RCA and Columbia years, and you'll find re-recorded performances of many of his hits for those labels, since in his early films he was simply cast as a popular singer, singing the popular songs of the day; the songs have nothing to do with the plots of the films themselves, and Frank in the beginning is just showing up as a singer in a dance band (pretty close to the truth, eh?).  So the majority of the first disc is Sinatra singing his inimitable balladry, in films like Higher and Higher and Step Lively.  This all changed for Frank with Anchors Aweigh, where he was cast as an actor as well as a dancer/singer, and the film's success spawned more acting parts for Sinatra, although the songs through disc two remain light popular fare, with little to nothing in the way of dramatic heft.

For collectors, this set is a treasure trove, but even so, there are many songs missing, as explained in the rather apologetic liner notes by Michael Feinstein, who explains that many tapes were poorly stored, lost, or damaged beyond repair over the years.  Also, one of the rarest songs - "Soliloquy" (from Sinatra's aborted role in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel) was not allowed to be included, so Frank's Capitol recording is substituted in its stead.  But for each song lost, there are a dozen here that have never been previously available: such as "What's Wrong With Me?" from The Kissing Bandit, or the selections from Young At Heart, which has the wonderful "Someone to Watch Over Me" (with orchestrations added by Nelson Riddle) and a jazzy reading of  "Just One Of Those Things."  Disc Four is probably the one that most fans will be hankering for, with tracks from Sinatra's most popular musicals: Guys and Dolls, The Tender Trap, Finian's Rainbow and Three Coins In The Fountain all yield their treasures here, and Sinatra really shines during these Capitol years readings.

Disc Five continues the fine performances, with songs taken from High Society and Pal Joey (probably Sinatra's defining role.)  But this brings out one of the main problems of the set: you have three whole CD's of music to wade through before you get to these defining songs of the 50's, and although there are some nice songs from Anchors Away, Take Me Out To The Ballgame and On The Town, there are also a bunch of middling musicals that Sinatra was cast as The Voice and told to sing pretty on a slew of lackluster charts.  Who really wanted to hear "Otchi-Tchor-Ni-Ya" or "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg?"  And the remaining part of discs five and six are filled with Rat Pack vanity projects and lesser musicals like Can-Can.  So much of this music is really only incidental to Sinatra's ouvre, and I suspect that most fans will find themselves with an attractive bookend with this set, rather than the priceless heirloom that the producers obviously think this is. Worth getting if you have to have everything, but I wish that Rhino had put out a single or double-disc "best of" which would have addressed the needs of most buyers.



Frank Sinatra: The Complete Hollywood Performances - 1940-1954
Soundtrack Factory SFCD33570 [CD];
Released March 9, 2004

 

Disc: 1
1. Dolores
2. I'll Never Smile Again
3. Moonlight Bay
4. Poor You
5. Last Call for Love
6. Blue Skies
7. Last Call for Love (Finale)
8. Night and Day
9. I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night
10. Music Stopped
11. I Saw You First
12. Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
13. Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
14. You're on Your Own
15. I Saw You First/A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening/The Music Stopped (Finale)
16. Stardust
17. (There'll Be A) Hot Time in the Town of Berlin
18. Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night in the Week)
19. Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are
20. As Long as There's Music
21. Where Does Love Begin?
22. Some Other Time
23. Some Other Time
24. And Then You Kissed Me
25. Finale: As Long as There's Music/Some Other Time/As Long as There's Music
26. House I Live In (That's America to Me)
27. If You Are But a Dream
28. Ol' Man River
29. Ever Homeward
30. All or Nothing at All
Disc: 2
1. We Hate to Leave
2. Cradle Song (Brahm's Lullaby)
3. I Begged Her
4. If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie
5. What Makes the Sunset?
6. Charm of You
7. I Fall in Love Too Easily
8. Whose Baby Are You?
9. Brooklyn Bridge
10. Invention No. 1
11. I Believe
12. Time After Time
13. Song's Gotta Come from the Heart
14. Otchi-Tchor-Ni-Ya
15. Ci Darem la Mano
16. It's the Same Old Dream
17. It's the Same Old Dream (Reprise)
18. Finale: The Brooklyn Bridge
19. If I Steal a Kiss
20. Señorita
21. Siesta
22. What's Wrong With Me?
23. We're on Our Way
24. If I Steal a Kiss (Finale)
25. Take Me Out to the Ball Game
26. Yes, Indeedy
27. O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg
28. Right Girl for Me
29. Boys and Girls Like You and Me
30. It's Fate, Baby It's Fate
31. Strictly USA
32. Strictly USA (Reprise)

Disc: 3
1. New York, New York
2. Come Up to My Place
3. You're Awful
4. Count on Me
5. Pearl of the Persian Sea
6. On the Town
7. It's Only Money
8. Kissed and Tears
9. It's Only Money (Finale)
10. All of Me
11. How Deep Is the Ocean
12. You're a Sweetheart
13. (I Got a Woman Crazy for Me) She's Funny That Way
14. Good Man Is Hard to Find
15. Lonesome Man Blues
16. That Old Black Magic       
17. I've Got a Crush on You       
18. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)       
19. Young at Heart       
20. Someone to Watch Over Me       
21. Just One of Those Things       
22. One for My Baby       
23. You My Love       
24. From Here to Eternity       
25. Three Coins in the Fountain       
26. Ad Lib Blues       
27. Necessity       
28. Old Devil Moon       
29. How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

REVIEW: 
A sort of paired-down version of the Rhino Box above, without any of the rarities or alternate takes which they so lovingly put in, this 3-CD set from Sound Factory manages to capture a thick slice of Frank's earliest Hollywood successes and gathers them here.  Pulling all official songs from his earliest (Las Vegas Nights) to his 1954 recordings from Finian's Rainbow, you'll find lots to enjoy here in a set that spans his Dorsey, Columbia, and early Capitol career.  With his earliest films represented like Ship Ahoy, Revellie With Beverly, Higher and Higher, Your Hit Parade Extra, The Road To Victory, The All-Star Band Rally, and Step Lively, to Frank's more popular successes with Anchors Aweigh, The House I Live In, One Thousand And One Nights, Till The Clouds Roll By, It Happened In Brooklyn, The Miracle Of The Bells, The Kissing Bandit, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, and On The Town, and finally his brief slide and eventual rebound in Double Dynamite, Meet Danny Wilson, From Here To Eternity, Three Coins In the Fountain, and Young At Heart, it's all here.  The compilers have been dutiful in including every extant recording featuring Frank from these films that were available, making it truly a "complete" set in every sense of the word.  And in a way, it's an easier listen than the Rhino set, since Rhino felt the need to pad their box with various acceptance speeches, news bits, and out-takes that don't make the most interesting listening.  Of course, that being said, this set also lacks the comprehensive notes and photographs that Rhino's set has, and lots of collectors love to have all the extra doo-dads that you won't find on this budget box.  AND there's the fact that you only get about half of Sinatra's total film output here, making this set an incomplete picture.  So what are the reasons to get this box over the other?  If you're just interested in the early film music, and don't care much about extra bells and whistles, and want to have a sampling of Frank's film music section in your collection, but don't want the whole enchilada, this this set, with it's three filled-to-the-brim discs might just fit your expectations.


Screen Sinatra 
EMI Gold 519752 [CD]; 
Released May 22, 1996


 
1. From Here to Eternity {From from Here to Eternity}       
2. Three Coins in the Fountain {From Three Coins in the Fountain}       
3. Young at Heart {From Young at Heart}       
4. Just One of Those Things {From Young at Heart}       
5. Someone to Watch over Me {From Young at Heart}       
6. Not as a Stranger {From Not as a Stranger}       
7. (Love Is) The Tender Trap {From the Tender Trap}       
8. Wait for Me {Johnny Concho Theme}       
9. All the Way {From The Joker Is Wild}       
10. Chicago {From the Joker Is Wild}       
11. Monique {From King's Go Forth}       
12. They Came to Cordura {From They Came to Cordura}       
13. To Love and Be Loved {From Some Came Running}       
14. High Hopes {From a Hole in the Head}       
15. All My Tomorrows {From a Hole in the Head}       
16. It's All Right With Me {From Can Can}       
17. C'est Magnifique {From Can Can}       
18. Dream {From Carnal Knowledge}

REVIEW: 
A really odd collection of tracks put out by EMI which cover Frank's mid-50's to 1980 film music career, starting out with Frank's comeback song "From Here To Eternity" (which wasn't even featured in the movie), to "Three Coins In The Fountain" (this time Sinatra doesn't appear in the film, but the song does), to two of his songs from Young At Heart, but not the versions that appear in the film, substituting them for studio versions, and a whole slew of songs from films that weren't known as musical vehicles for Frank: I can't imagine that anyone has gone away whistling the theme song from Not As A Stranger, or the utterly forgettable "They Came From Cordura" from the movie of the same name.  Yes, it does have the popular theme song from The Tender Trap, when Sinatra was in his prime, and the ring-a-ding ding chutzpah of "Chicago" and "All The Way" from The Joker Is Wild, but it also dares to put the gushy "Wait For Me (Johnny Concho Theme) and the blah "Monique" from Kings Go Forth on here, creating a distinctly scattershot collection of odds and ends which has no rhyme nor reason, and certainly don't add to this schizophrenic CD.  Also included are a couple of songs from A Hole In the Head: "High Hopes" which will never be on my list of great Sinatra moments, as well as Frank's two big moments from Can-Can, which is one of Cole Porter's weaker scores, and also lesser Frank moments.  Overall an iffy collection put out to capitalize on Frank's name, but so patched together, and with no regard for sequencing or notation, (the insert is worthless) that this could only be desired by collectors who want it all.


Higher And Higher & Step Lively
Great Movie Themes 60004 [CD];
Released August 20, 1997


 
1. It's a Most Important Affair (Overture)
2. Today I'm a Debutante
3. I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night
4. Music Stopped - Frank Sinatra
5. I Saw You First - Marcy McGuire
6. Lovely Way to Spend an Evening - Frank Sinatra
7. You're on Your Way - Marcy McGuire
8. Minuet in Boogie/I Saw You First/Finale
9. Step Lively (Overture)
10. Where Does Love Begin - George Murphy
11. Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are - Frank Sinatra
12. As Long as There's Music - Frank Sinatra
13. Where Does Love Begin? - Anne Jeffreys
14. Some Other Time - Frank Sinatra
15. Why Must There Be an Opening Song
16. Ask the Madame - George Murphy
17. As Long as There's Music - Frank Sinatra

REVIEW: 
A historically interesting couple of films have been released on the Great Movie Themes label, and for Frank fans, if you don't feel like shilling out eighty dollars for the Sinatra In Hollywood set, you might want to pick this up. In fact, even if you have the above set, this CD gives a fuller picture of both film scores, with performances by Michele Morgan, Marcy McGuire, Mel Torme, Barbara Hale, George Murhphy, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria De Haven, Eugene Pallette, and Anne Jeffreys, all in addition to Frank's contributions. When these films were released, in 1943, and 1944, Frank was still a hot item at Columbia Records; their golden boy who could still elicit shrieks from bobby-soxers with his dreamy crooning. So in Higher and Higher you'll hear him tackle standards like "I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night", "I Saw You First" and "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" all backed by the full orchestral forces that Columbia Studios could muster. The other numbers in the film are mostly Busby Berkeley-type songs that go from full-scale bluster ("It's A Most Important Affair") to incorporating the latest musical trends ("Minuet in Boogie") to stock numbers that seem to have been pulled out of trunk ("Today I'm A Debutante"). Needless to say, it's only Frank's songs which have stood the test of time, but the rest of the score for Higher and Higher is charming, highly energetic, and full of period flavor. The second score on the CD, from 1944's Step Lively, is much weaker, but has the added bonus of the lovely Gloria De Haven and Anne Jeffreys in the cast, so in addition to Frank singing the overblown "As Long As There's Music", we have such gems as the duets "Where Does Love Begin" and "Some Other Time" plus cheesy production numbers like "Why Must There Be An Opening Song?" and "Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are". Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, who are repsonsible for the bulk of the score, have to shoulder the blame for these generally unmemorable hack songs. Still, it's all interesting for collectors of such things, although be warned: these soundtracks are taken directly from film or video transfers, and so contain extamporaneous dialogue, noise and asides in the audio.



It Happened In Brooklyn
Great Movie Themes 60034 [CD];
Released February 23, 1999


 
1. Overture {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Johnny Green
2. Time After Time/Whose Baby Are You {It Happened in Brooklyn} - André Previn
3. Brooklyn Bridge {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Frank Sinatra
4. J.S. Bach Invention 1 {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Kathryn Grayson
5. I Believe {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Jimmy Durante
6. Time After Time {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Frank Sinatra
7. Song's Gotta Come from the Heart {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Jimmy Durante
8. Ci Darem la Mano {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Kathryn Grayson
9. It's the Same Old Dream {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Frank Sinatra
10. Time After Time (Reprise) {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Kathryn Grayson
11. Whose Baby Are You {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Peter Lawford
12. Bell Song {It Happened in Brooklyn} - Kathryn Grayson  Listen Listen
13. Overture {Variety Girl} - J.J. Lilley  Listen Listen
14. Your Heart Calling Mine {Variety Girl} - Mary Hatcher
15. Tallahassee {Variety Girl} - Dorothy Lamour
16. Tired {Variety Girl} - Pearl Bailey
17. Tiger Rag {Variety Girl} - Bob Hope
18. He Can Waltz {Variety Girl} - Mary Hatcher
19. Harmony {Variety Girl} - Bing Crosby

REVIEW: 
It Happened In Brooklyn isn't one of Sinatra's more memorable scores, but here, paired with the star-studded non-Sinatra pic Variety Girl, it stands as a charming, occasionally funny musical outing, with Kathryn Grayson and Jimmy Durante lending thier distinctive pipes to the procedings.  Kathryn Grayson plays a failed opera star who teaches piano, and so she sings "Ci Darem la Mano" (a duet with Frank, who gets to try out his Italian opera chops) while Frank gets to sing his love-letter to the Bronx "Brooklyn Bridge" as well as the standard "Time After Time".  Jimmy Durante pipes in with "I Believe", which he interprets with his usual gruff schtick. The highlight of the soundtrack for me in the rare Durante/Sinatra duet "The Song's Gotta Come From The Heart", in which Frank mimics Durante's singing style. I've never heard Frank do such a fine impersonation, (well, maybe with the exception of his funny ribbing of Bing Crosby), nailing Durante's trademark sound to a 'T'. And although the track listing doesn't list it, Frank also leads off the jazzy "I Believe" with Durante coming in on the second verse. But it's "Time After Time" that's the showpiece on this score, with Frank giving it a lovely, nuanced performance. The second show paired on this disc, Variety Girl is a real star outing, with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Pearl Bailey, Dorothy Lamour, Alan Ladd, Spike Jones, Ray Milland, Veronica Lake and a pre-Rat Pack Peter Lawford all in the picture. The score is nothing to shout about, but the presence of all these stars makes for a neat souvenier.  The sound is again taken from a pristine film source, with the extraneous talk and noise occasionally breaking in, but still a fun listen.
 


 

Anchors Aweigh (August 20, 1997)
Great Movie Themes 60003 [CD];


Currently out of print.  Check for availibility at Amazon.com:
 
1. Main Title "Anchors Aweigh"
2. We Hate to Leave - Gene Kelly
3. Brahms' Lullaby - Frank Sinatra
4. I Begged Her - Gene Kelly
5. If You Knew Susie (Like I Know Susie) - Gene Kelly
6. Jealously - Kathryn Grayson
7. What Makes the Sunset? - Frank Sinatra
8. All of a Sudden (My Heart Sings) - Kathryn Grayson
9. Donkey Serenade - Jose Iturbi
10. Worry Song - Gene Kelly
11. Tonight We Love - Jose Iturbi
12. Charm of You - Frank Sinatra
13. Mexican Hat Dance - George Stoll
14. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 - Jose Iturbi
15. I Fall in Love Too Easily - Frank Sinatra
16. Cumparsita - Gene Kelly
17. From the Heart of a Lonely Poet - Kathryn Grayson
18. Anchors Aweigh Finale

REVIEW:  One of Frank's earliest hit movies, and also one of his slightest, the soundtrack, which was made briefly available on Great Movie Themes, is a slip-shod production, with the CD apparently taped directly from the video source.  So you have generally muffled sound, dialogue breaking into the musical cues, and other distracting artifacts.  Having said that, this is the only way to currently find this soundtrack (unless you opt to make one yourself - you could probably do as well), and the music, while not on the weightier end of the emotional scale, is full of fun and lovely moments, with some spectacular singing by Sinatra.  Frank's in full "swoon" form here; and so is given the lion's share of ballads, including a tender "Brahms' Lullaby," and some cuts that would become his signature songs during the Columbia years: "What Makes The Sunset?" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily" both of which are accompanied by all of the thick, rich orchestrations that the MGM Studio could muster, and buddy, it was plenty.  Kathryn Grayson takes the female ingenue role, and plays opposite Frank's crooning with her own catch-in-her-voice attitude.  Gene Kelly, who joins Frank for the first of their two pictures together gets the rowdier numbers, with "Cumparsita" bubbling over with latin rhythms, and "The Worry Song" a fitting reminder of Kelly's ground-breaking dance with Jerry the Mouse.  Also featured on this CD is the ornate classical pianist Jose Iturbi with three high-brow numbers, and the rowsing opening and closing choruses in full military regalia.  An enjoyable score, I just with someone [Rhino] would release it with improved sound and notes.



Young At Heart (1954)
Columbia Records CL 6339 [LP];
Columbia 516018 2 (Paired with "You're My Thrill")[CD];
Released 1954, CD Released May 31, 2004

 

1. Till My Love Comes To Me
2. Ready, Willing And Able
3. Hold me In Your Arms
4. Someone To Watch Over Me - Frank Sinatra
5. Just One Of Those Things
6. There's A Rising Moon
7. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) - Frank Sinatra
8. You My Love
9. Let's Take An Old-Fashioned Walk - Frank Sinatra w/Doris Day & The Ken Lane Singers

REVIEW:  A curious album, one that ignores Frank's fine turns at the piano in the film, replacing them instead with previous recorded versions from Frank's tenure at Columbia Records, this Young At Heart isn't a true soundtrack at all, but a compilation released to coincide with the film of the same name.  And so, instead of the spare underpinning which marks the film version of "Someone To Watch Over Me", here you have a younger Frank swooning it up with full orchestral backing.  Same goes for "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" - which Frank transforms into a bleak lament in the film, but here is found in an earlier incarnation which has none of the depth which Frank was able to infuse into it during his Capitol years.  And the version of "Let's Take An Old-Fashioned Walk" is also an earlier version, still with Doris Day, but a chirpier, happier version, with a the instrusive Ken Lane Singers backing them up in full glee-club mode.  It's not that these are poor recordings - but they don't match what the audience saw on the silver screen, either in performance or drama.  I suppose that Frank, being under contract to Capitol at the time, refused to allow his performances to fall back into the hands of his old record company, which forced them to release these older versions.  Oh, well.  This is really Doris Day's album anyway, and she dominates the first half of the record, with buttery renditions of "Till My Love Comes To Me", "Ready, Willing And Able", "Hold Me In Your Arms", and "Just One Of Those Things".  On side two she gets to croon "There's A Rising Moon" and "You My Love", all classic Doris Day vehicles.  If you want to hear original versions of the soundtrack songs, you'll need to purchase Rhino's exhaustive (literally) Sinatra In Hollywood box set, but if you're a big Doris Day fan, this soundtrack (paired with another of her albums, You're My Thrill) is worth seeking out.



Guys And Dolls
Motion Picture Tracks International MPT-1 [LP];

Released 1956
 

  1 1:42 Overture
2 1:41 Fugue for Tinhorns
3 :40 Follow the Fold
4 2:42 The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in New York
5 4:38 I'll Know
6 4:20 Pet Me, Poppa
7 3:26 Adelaide's Lament
8 3:18 Guys and Dolls
9 3:11 Adelaide
10 3:31 Dance Sequence-A Woman in Love
11 2:49 If I Were A Bell
12 2:49 A Woman in Love
13 4:24 Take Back Your Mink
14 3:39 Luck Be A Lady - The Crap Game
15 3:00 Luck Be A Lady
16 3:09 Sue Me
17 2:02 Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat
18 2:46 Guys and Dolls - Finale

REVIEW: 
One of the most baffling questions I've had about this soundtrack is why it isn't on the market. It's a great representation of a great score, with the backing of the MGM Orchestra, and fine performances from at least four of the main characters (Stubby Kaye, Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine and Jean Simmons), plus great character moments, smash-up production numbers, and tons of atmosphere. Of course, most critics will point to Marlon Brando as the chief culprit among the singers, with his thin, raspy voice several notches below the other performers, but all the same, he acts each number with panache, if not vocal assurity. Bits and pieces of this music have dribbled out over the years, including several bonus tracks from the film (none of Frank's songs however) that were tacked on to the recent Broadway CD remaster; but that doesn't excuse the absense of the full score on the marketplace. I, for one, would snap it up. High points include the three-part counterpoint of "Fugue Gor Tinhorns", the character-driven "The Oldest-Established Floating Crap Game", the newly-written "Pet Me, Poppa" which is performed by "hot-box" dancers, Frank's newly-written solo song "Adelaide", the fabulously funny "Take Back Your Mink" striptease, the seminal "Luck Be A Lady", Frank's comedy star turn in "Sue Me", and the show-stopping "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat" by the legendary Stubby Kaye. The score is just a popper from beginning to end, alternating between lovely ballads, clever, rhythmic patter songs, comedy numbers, and sharp, stylistic dance pieces. The inclusion of the MGM studio orchestra gives everything more heft and weight than the broadway score, and each song really sparkles and gleams. It's a shame that this score hasn't been given its full measure in the digital era.

UPDATE:  Guys & Dolls has seen the light of day in CD form in the form of a Spain import, which purportedly uses video sources for its sound, and takes bonus tracks from other sources, as well as a second CD release, also an import.

 

High Society (1956)
Capitol Records C-018-50714 [LP]; 
Blue Moon 3506 [CD];
Released January 23, 2007


 
1. High Society Overture
2. High Society Calypso
3. Little One
4. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
5. True Love
6. You're Sensational
7. I Love You, Samantha
8. Now You Has Jazz
9. Well Did You Evah?
10. Mind If I Make Love To You

REVIEW:  Despite being a smash hit, and never being out of print in video formats, the soundtrack to High Society has never been released on CD in the United States.  A poor-sounding 10-track CD, identical to the LP release was produced in Australia, but the generally shoddy sound made it unappealing to most listeners, which is a shame, since how often do you get the powerhouse talents of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong at the same time?  This is one soundtrack that is simply screaming to be remastered and expanded, with hefty liner notes.  The songs are fine, with Sinatra getting in a couple of atypical comedy numbers with co-star Celeste Holm in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and "Well Did You Evah?" as well as the turn-your-head ballad "Mind If I Make Love To You?"  Bing gets to be the crooner this time around with the immortal "True Love" (and who can forget him singing that to Grace Kelly on an evening cruise?) and Louis Armstrong goes Jamaican on the "High Society Calypso."  Frank's songs are available on both the In Hollywood set above, and as part of the Complete Capitol Singles collection, but this fine soundtrack from Hollywood's golden era truly deserves a full release.

UPDATE:  An unremastered version of High Society made it onto CD via the Blue Moon label early in 2007 - no bonus tracks, and unremarkable sound, in fact, it looks to be a straight reissue of the previous Australian release, but finally available here in the U.S.  There is also a second CD import from England on Phantom Sound & Vision, which includes bonus tracks.


 

Pal Joey
Capitol Records SM-912 [LP];
Phantom Sound & Vision [CD];
Released 1957; CD Released Feburary 12, 2008

  1. Main Title - Orchestra 
2. That Terrific Rainbow - Linda and Chorus Girls 
3. I Didn't Know What Time It Was - Joey 
4. Do It The Hard Way - Orchestra 
5. Great Big Town - Orchestra and Chorus Girls 
6. There's A Small Hotel - Joey 
7. Zip - Vera 
8. I Could Write A Book - Joey 
9. Bewitched - Vera 
10. (Side 2) The Lady Is A Tramp - Joey 
11. Plant You Now Dig You Later - Orchestra 
12. My Funny Valentine - Linda 
13. You Mustn't Kick It Around - Orchestra 
14. Bewitched - Joey 
15. Strip Number - Orchestra 
16. Dream Sequence & Finale: What Do I Care For A Dame / Bewitched / I Could Write A Book - Joey, Orchestra and Chorus

REVIEW:  Long considered the definitive Frank Sinatra vehicle, Pal Joey resonates with the spark of his personality and the swing of the music.  Pal Joey is also inexplicably a soundtrack that has never been released on CD in the states, having to settle for the poor-quality release from Australia.  Ah well, all of the Frank tracks can be found on the In Hollywood box, as well as several found on the Complete Capitol Singles collection, but for the full enchilada, you'll have to hunt down the LP.  Pal Joey began as a broadway musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in the 1940's, with a plot that was far darker and more complex than most musicals of the time.  Featuring a callous leading man whose dallyings with shady characters eventually leads to his downfall, Pal Joey was a moderate hit on broadway, but a critical success, and very influential on later shows.  It's score was remarkable, with several songs that would become classics: including "I Could Write A Book," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" the seamy "Zip" (pun intended) and "You Mustn't Kick It Around."  Sinatra in the 50's must have seemed ideal to play the anti-hero Joey, and for the film several other Rodgers & Hart tunes ("Lady Is A Tramp," and "My Funny Valentine" among them) making this film a fine video document of some of Sinatra's biggest hits of the 50's.

UPDATE:  An unremastered version of Pal Joey made it onto CD via the Phantom Sound & Vision label early in 2008 - with 12 "bonus" tracks of Frank Sinatra solo singles.


 

Can-Can
Capitol Records SM-1301 [LP];
Released 1960; CD Release October 25, 1990

  1. Entr'acte - Orchestra 
2. It's All Right With Me  - Frank Sinatra 
3.  Come Along With Me - Shirley MacLaine 
4. Live And Let Live - Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan 
5. You Do Something To Me - Louis Jourdan 
6. Let's Do It - Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine 
7. (Side two) Main Title/I Love Paris/Montmart' - Orchestra/Chorus/Frank Sinatra, Maurice Chevalier and Chorus 
8. C'est Magnifique - Frank Sinatra 
9. Maidens Typical Of France - Chorus 
10. Just One Of Those Things - Maurice Chevalier 
11. I Love Paris - Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier 
12. Can-Can - Orchestra

REVIEW:  Despite the obvious pairing of Sinatra with Cole Porter's music, Can-Can is something of a bust, both cinematically and musically.  The album, which again has never been released in the U.S. on CD, is a tepid affair, and the fault is mostly Porter's score, which is a rather generic "French"-sounding score with some fine songs, ("You Do Something To Me," "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love"), but also several mediocre ones ("C'est Magnifique" "It's All Right With Me").  But there's another huge stumbling block in the film, which is casting Frank Sinatra as a Frenchman.  As natural an actor as Frank is, he doesn't pull the character of Francois off, coming off as the Brooklyn kid that he is, and Shirley Maclaine is also her usual ditsy self here, playing the same role she played in every one of her films of the 60's - nothing like the hot-blooded fireball the character needs to be - so the entire production feels watered down, and it was one of Porter's weaker shows to begin with.  Capitol Records released "I Love Paris" as a re-recorded single, but none of the other songs here were considered.  Again, a soundtrack that Capitol should seriously consider expanding and remastering, if just for the sake of hearing this score in its complete form.


 

Robin And The 7 Hoods
Artanis Records 104 [CD];
Released 1964; CD Release October 24, 2000


 
1. Overture - Nelson Riddle
2. My Kind Of Town - Frank Sinatra
3. All For One And One For All - Peter Falk & Chorus
4. Don't Be A Do-Badder - Bing Crosby & Kids
5. Studio Chatter - Dean Martin/Sonny Burke/Frank Sinatra
6. Any Man Who Loves His Mother - Dean Martin & Male Quartet
7. Studio Chatter - Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Bing Crosby/Sammy Cahn/Sonny Burke
8. Style - Bing Crosby/Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin
9. Mister Booze - Bing Crosby/Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis Jr.
10. I Like To Lead When I Dance - Frank Sinatra
11. Bang! Bang! - Sammy Davis Jr.
12. Charlotte Couldn't Charleston - Ladies Of The Ensemble
13. Give Praise! Give Praise! Give Praise! - Robin And The Seven Hoods ST
14. Don't Be A Do-Badder (Finale) - Bing Crosby/Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis Jr.
15. Studio Chatter - Frank Sinatra/Lowell Frank
16. My Kind Of Town - Frank Sinatra

REVIEW:  A ridiculously overpriced collector's CD released on Sinatra's family label Artanis, this middling Rat Pack musical succeeds only as a hazy piece of Sixties nostalgia, with a couple of good songs, but an eminently forgettable score overall, and a lazy piece of filmcraft.  The one truly good song in the show "My Kind Of Town," is exactly the kind of cocky territorialism that Frank would later do better with "(Theme From) New York, New York" and "Chicago" but this number comes in a close third.  The other memorable songs are the half-baked softshoe "Don't Be A Do-Badder," the prohibition-era style "Mr. Booze" Sammy Davis's showcase "Bang! Bang!" and the so-so novelty number "Style."  Part of the problem are the songs, which aren't up to par with the best that any of the Rat Pack was accustomed to, and part is the performances, which teeter on the edge of apathy - obviously the entire Rat Pack mystique is winding down, and it shows in the vacant expressions on the actor's faces, and in the generally flat vocals.  The weak "Give Praise!" is a third-rate attempt to copy Guys And Dolls' "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat" and the ballads, including "I Like To Lead When I Dance," and the mid-tempo "Any Man Who Loves His Mother" for Dean Martin are entirely bland and humorless.  Why Artanis would think that this score would rate a gold-pressed CD is a slap in the face of collectors, especially when so many other film scores (like the ones above) are more deserving of quality release.  This release contains a couple of bonus tracks in the form of an alternate take of "My Kind Of Town" and some amusing studio chatter.


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