May 21, 2008

Sinatra: post-Ava Gardner

Frank Sinatra won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in From Here to Eternity, was nominated for a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for his work in Suddenly (1954), and earned praise for The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). I think he'd demonstrated he was capable of serious, dramatic acting.
And then there's the painful overacting in the following scenes from The Joker Is Wild (1957). This must be what is meant by the expression "chewing up the scenery":
I'm sorry, I love Frank, regular visitors to this blog know I do, but that's difficult to watch. Anytime I see that scene, I imagine Sinatra is tapping into the angst wrought by his infamously tumultuous relationship with Ava Gardner.
They met in 1945, began their relationship in 1949, married in November 1951, separated in October 1953, and finally divorced in 1957. Legend has it, the 1950 recording Sinatra made of "I'm a Fool to Want You" during his last, career-waning days at Columbia Records was also possibly Ava-inspired. According to Will Friedwald's Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer's Art: "After packing an opera's worth of pathos into a single thirty-two-bar chorus, Sinatra supposedly became so overcome with grief that he bolted from the studio in tears." (p. 191).

Frank and Ava in 1953, between fights

And then of course there's also In the Wee Small Hours (1955), Where Are You? (1957), Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely (1958), and No One Cares (1959).........


Blognor Regis said...

Mark Steyn on It Was A Very Good Year

Chris said...

That's awesome! I wish I'd known about it back when I did the post.