Friday 11 December 2015

"To Be Frank: Sinatra at 100" (Guardian 11/12/15)

To Be Frank: Sinatra at 100 **
Dir: Simon Napier-Bell. With: Alice Cooper, Tim Rice, Louis Walsh, Paul Gambaccini. 81 mins. Cert: PG

After Alex Gibney’s rigorous four-hour Sinatra study All or Nothing at All, erstwhile Wham! boss Simon Napier-Bell’s plucky Brit equivalent appears patchy indeed, cobbling together washed-out, publicly sourced archive with variable talking heads. Though erudite voices (Gambaccini, Ellen, Paphides) contextualise, breathless fanboy gabble steers us around the boozing and boorishness (“When he sang, nobody cared,” smiles Louis Walsh), and there are counterintuitive choices: even clips from the widescreen From Here to Eternity are framed in a ratio that shrinks rather than amplifies this legend. Completists may be happy enough, but it looks rushed and – such as when labelling Sinatra’s 1949 musical as Own the Town – perilously sloppy.

To Be Frank: Sinatra at 100 opens in selected cinemas from today. 

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