March 21, 2006

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), part 2

To review: Little John (Deano) has joined up with Robbo (Sinatra) and his hoods. Little John learns of the threat of a takeover by Chicago's new crime boss, Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk). Little John suggests a premeditated attack--hit him before he can hit them.

"When your opponent is sitting there holding all of the aces, there's only one thing left to do: kick over the table."

Problem is, Gisborne hits Robbo's gambling establishment just as they're hitting his.

Robbo and gang tear up Gisborne's place a little more...elegantly, with Will (Sammy Davis, Jr.) doing a song and dance to "Bang Bang".

I like the fun of reaching for a gun and going "bang, bang"

I come alive each time a .45 begins to "bang, bang"

My kind of prank is going in a bank and going "bang, bang"

Now, both Robbo's and newly, self-appointed crime boss, Gisborne's, clubs have been destroyed.

Back at his place, Robbo meets Marian, played by Barbara Rush. She also appeared in the Sinatra movie Come Blow Your Horn. Marian is Big Jim's (recently murdered crime boss, much beloved by Robbo) daughter. She wants Robbo to avenge her father's murder.

Robbo tells her his job is to "make people happy with gambling and bootleg beer," not bumping people off. But Big Jim's murderer is killed, by one of Gisborne's thugs. Marian thinks Robbo is responsible, and she sends him $50,000. Robbo tells his guys to give it to an orphanage.

This leads to the secretary of the orphanage, Allen A. Dale, doing a write up for the paper in which he compares Robbo to Robin Hood. Robbo is completely surprised by it all, yet somehow, the newspapers manage to produce a picture of Robbo completely decked out in Robin Hood gear. Strange.

Bing Crosby plays Allen A. Dale. Of course, without Crosby, there would not have been a Sinatra. Sinatra idolized Crosby, and became a singer after seeing him in a movie.

Dreams do come true.

Robin and the 7 Hoods was not the first movie to star both Sinatra and Crosby. That "historic" moment had already occured in High Society (a movie I may recap), eight years earlier (1956).

Town folk gather around to hear this very important bulletin on the radio:

"The new Robin Hood's method of taking from the rich differs slightly from his predecessor. He uses the gambling tables and the Chicagoan's thirst for bootleg beer to give to underprivaledged oprhans. All the world loves a scoundrel, it seems, and its newest hero is Robbo."

The problem is, you give 'em an inch, they'll take a freakin' mile. Robbo begins to receive stacks and stacks of letters requesting assistance in one form or another (typically monetary) from people with all kinds of problems.

Allen A. Dale shows up and offers to help Robbo in his new incarnation as a charitible, upstanding citizen. Watch Bing Crosby become a "hood":

My favorite part of that are the pained expressions on the faces of Robbo and his guys as they attempt to understand Allen Dale's erudite and intellectual manner of speaking.

Dere's sumpin' wrong wit his troat!

Note Dean and Sam.

Dale gets to work, setting up various "Robbo Foundation" charities.

They put up a portrait of Robbo in the orphanage. Movie buffs might recognize the little boy to the right. He is Manuel Padilla, Jr., who I remember best as "Jai" in reruns of the Ron Ely Tarzan series. Looking over his IMDb page, it appears his acting career never really took off. As recently as Scarface (1983), he was still getting parts like "Kid #2".

Robbo's club is redone following Gisborne's destruction of it, with the proceeds of the opening night going to the now named "Robin Hood Foundation".

Robbo tells Allen Dale to go home and get dressed for the "classy opening". Here now is Frank, Dean, and Bing Crosby singing "Style". Yes, it's corny, it's cheesey, but they don't make 'em like this anymore! Of course, there are no longer "stars" such as Sinatra and Crosby.

Meanwhile, at the opening, sexy (for 1964) dames in silvery, metallic hula thingies do their flapper dancing...

Could that be Toni Basil?

She isn't credited anywhere I could find, but it sure looks like her. She is the lead dancer in this performance, leading me to believe whoever the dancer is, she choreographed it. I wonder if she was embarassed about an association with Sinatra, seeing as he was torn down and demonized throughout the 1980s, when Basil's career hit is peak. It wasn't "cool" to be associated with Frank Sinatra.

The cocktail waitresses add to the club's new, "Sherwood Forest-like" ambiance.

Robbo quite likes this charity thing. He is happy with how the re-opening of his club turns out. We haven't heard from crime boss Gisborne in a while. Might he turn the blue skies into grey? Part three, coming up, hopefully with less words.

  • part 3

    Fuzzball said...

    Ahhhh nothing soothes the savage Fuzzball like the dulcet tones of The Chairman, Bing, and Deano.

    Thank you, you sweet sweet man! ;)

    Chris said...

    Seriously? That's cool. I'm glad someone likes this!

    Fuzzball said...

    Hey, these guys were a huge part of my musical ejumacation growing up. My parents and grandparents made me an honorary Rat Packer from birth!

    Adrian said...

    re: Toni Basil - it's quite possible - she was born in 1943, and started out as a dancer in Hollywood. Her real name is Antonia Basilotta.