I’ve Got You Under My Skin

There is, quite simply, no way around it. I’ve thought about it under my skinendlessly. I’ve gone different routes and attempted to dissect it. All to no avail. I can’t figure it out, and probably never will. If I’d known in the beginning that this would end up happening…I’d probably still do it all the same.

I am not alone in this feeling of mine. Not at all. In fact, it has been the plague of Sinatra fans since the beginning of his career. The dilemma is this: we find ourselves drawn to Frank. There was always, and still is, something about him that got at you. There was something about him that got under your skin and wouldn’t leave, something that makes you keep coming back and listening to the music over and over again. In her book about their life together, Frank’s wife Barbara talks often about his incredible magnetism. How people just couldn’t seem to get away. There is only one way I’ve ever heard this accurately explained, and it is this: He’s Frank Sinatra.

During the height of his career, and perhaps even more since Frank passed away, we’ve been trying to figure out why people flocked to him. What is it about Frank Sinatra that just gets at you? Is it the fact that he started a young immigrant boy from New Jersey and ended a legend? Is it that, even after all the books and articles and the endless things you can find about him, there is always an element of mystery? It always seems that no matter how much you think you know about him, you really don’t know anything at all.

I’m far from being able to answer this question with any kind of authority. All I can say about it is from my own personal experience, and I’ve had these exact thoughts so many times. Each time I meet somebody new and tell them how much I love Frank, I get the same question every time. “Oh, why Frank Sinatra?”

frankThe fact that I can never really come up with anything to say makes me realize that I am in this same boat as everybody else. I can really only say as an answer, “What do you mean? Why not?” Because it is something so intangible, I doubt that all of us philosophizing about it will get us anywhere. There is no answer, it is just the way it is. He is wonderful because he is Frank Sinatra. His music and movies are phenomenal because, no matter what, he gets under your skin. And on top of all of that, he does it with class.

I’ve got you under my skin.
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me.
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me.
I’ve got you under my skin.
I’d tried so not to give in.
I said to myself: this affair never will go so well.
But why should I try to resist when, baby, I know so well
I’ve got you under my skin?

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I Fall In Love Too Easily

Happy Frank Thursday everyone! And I hope it’s been a good one. Since it’s been a whole week since I posted last, I feel like I’ve been away for a while. How has everyone been? Today we’re going to talk about one of Frank’s funnest and earliest movies which also stars, of course, the wonderful Gene Kelly.

Frank and Gene Kelly in one of the first scenes in the movie. All of their fellow sailors lean in to listen to Joe talk to his girl Lola.
Frank and Gene Kelly in one of the first scenes in the movie. All of their fellow sailors lean in to listen to Joe talk to his girl Lola.

Made in 1945, Anchors Away is that tale of two young navy men on shore leave. Having earned an award for outstanding bravery, they are given four days to be away in Hollywood. As Gene Kelly’s character Joe goes about his business on his way to see his girl, Frank’s character Clarence, whom Joe calls “Brooklyn”, follows Joe and confesses that he needs help finding a girl. Joe, who is known as the “Sea Wolf”, is very good with the ladies and so decides to help Clarence with his problem.

What starts as this little promise leads them into meeting a young boy who desperately wants to join the Navy, his aunt (played by Kathryn Grayson) who desperately wants to become a singer, and making another promise which leads to something else which is altogether wonderful and hilarious! The movie features many different songs and dance numbers, one of which is Frank’s “I Fall in Love Too Easily”, and Gene Kelly’s amazing dance number as a Spanish bandit and his iconic dance number with Jerry Mouse of Tom and Jerry.

It is a very fun, lighthearted movie to watch and so wonderful! Watch it and let me know what you think!

Sensational

Yes. Yes, it is true. For the second week in a row now I have missed my Frank Thursday post. I can’t even believe it, honestly. I’m quite bitter about the whole situation. Last week I was deathly ill and this week there was no internet connection all day yesterday. Not any other day of the week, of course, just Thursday. Luckily though, last Thursday when I was ill I watched an undisclosed number of Frank movies, so today as I catch up on yesterday’s post I had to decide which one to tell you about. And though they were all very good, of course, it actually wasn’t a very hard decision.

Mike Connor and Tracy Lord. Grace Kelly's dress in this part of the movie is wonderful!
Mike Connor and Tracy Lord. Grace Kelly’s dress in this part of the movie is wonderful!

High Society (1956) is a movie which features Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Grace Kelly. With a cast like that, you know that the movie’s got to be dynamite. But it actually is! It is definitely one of my all time favorites, and so much fun!

Grace Kelly plays Newport, Rhode Island socialite Tracy Lord, who is divorced from her highly successful jazz musician first husband Dexter, played by Crosby. She is about to be remarried, and Spy magazine sends a reporter by the name of Mike Connor, played by Frank, and his photographer to cover the wedding. Well, by the end of the movie Tracy finds herself about to be married but in a position to choose between three very different men. The movie has many different wonderful musical numbers, including Sensational which Frank’s character sings to Tracy at one point in the movie.

The movie is an absolutely marvelous one, and is actually the last one that Grace Kelly made before going to Monaco to marry Prince Rainier. Watch it, love it, and Happy (late) Frank Thursday!

Witchcraft

Frank and Gene Kelly in Anchors Away (1945).
Frank and Gene Kelly in Anchors Away (1945).

Hello, hello everyone! And how was everybody’s Frank Sinatra Day? Personally, mine was really quite something. I had the greatest day in the world, and I hope that all of you did as well.

As for the rest of the week, an apology is definitely in order. I missed Frank Thursday, which is something that I’m not proud of. However, if it is even possible to get pneumonia in May, I contracted pneumonia in May. Luckily, it was the day after Frank Sinatra Day, unluckily, I have feared for my life several times and am still very sick but anyway, that’s really not important at all and probably way too much information. But with the amount of Frank movies that I have watched in the last two days while dying, you’d think it would’ve cured me or something.

Well, I’m willing to watch a few more just to see if it works…

Love And Marriage

Happy Frank Thursday and 5 days until Frank Sinatra Day! Because we have finished our narrative, today for the countdown we’re just going to go through the usual Frank Thursday routine and I’ll tell you about the movie I watched last week. For the rest of our countdown, I am open to suggestions! If there is something you want to know, just comment about it on this post and I’ll do my best to work it into the last four days of the countdown!

Frank standing under the office of Miguel Santos, played by Cesar Romero, in the movie.
Frank standing under the office of Miguel Santos, played by Cesar Romero, in the movie.

So last Thursday was an interesting one because one of my roommates had already moved back home and my other roommate and I had a lot of studying to do. So I turned a Frank movie on and then half watched/half listened to it while I studied. It is one my favorites actually, and such a great one!

Marriage on the Rocks (1965) is a wonderful comedy starring Frank, Dean Martin, Deborah Kerr [as a side note fun fact, this was the first movie that Frank and Deborah Kerr had worked on together since From Here to Eternity in 1953] Cesar Romero, and Frank’s daughter Nancy Sinatra who plays his daughter in the movie. Frank plays ad agency president Dan Edwards, who has been married to his wife Valerie, played by Deborah Kerr, for 19 years. He feels that their marriage is wonderful and stable, while she claims to their lawyer that she wants “a divorce on the grounds of boredom”.

Frank and Dean during a particularly great scene in the movie.
Frank and Dean during a particularly great scene in the movie.

Dan’s best friend Ernie, played by Dean, convinces Dan to take Valerie on a second honeymoon to fan the flames, so to speak. However, once they reach their second honeymoon destination in Mexico things take a turn for the crazy. There are divorces, marriage plans, marriages to the wrong people, and eventually this movie takes an exceedingly hilarious turn. Watch it, love it, and don’t forget to comment on this post if you have countdown requests.

I’ve Got The World On A String

There are only 9 more days!! We have made it to single digits everyone, please join me in the Hallelujah Chorus!!! 9 more days until Frank Sinatra Day! And with that wonderful knowledge in our grasp, it is time to continue the narrative. Today is going to be so much fun!

At this point in our narrative, we head into the 1960’s, when Frank’s song I’ve Got The World On A String was never more true for anybody than himself. The 1950’s and 1960’s made Frank. I don’t really know how to describe it and make it accurate. He was the king, the it, the all. His nicknames were The Voice and The Chairman of the Board. He was Frank Sinatra!! 

The Rat Pack: Frank, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop
The Rat Pack: Frank, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop

And with all of this came the Rat Pack. The history behind the Rat Pack is actually pretty straightforward. It was begun by Humphrey Bogart. He wanted to begin a group that was basically dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life and not caring what people thought about it. Frank was appointed the “leader” of the group. From then on, the group became iconic. Even after Humphrey Bogart died the Rat Pack lived on. If nothing else, they definitely had a good time together. They were in movies together. Frank, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. often did performances together. It was quite the life they lived.

Frank and Mia Farrow on their wedding day in 1966.
Frank and Mia Farrow on their wedding day in 1966.

In 1966, Frank got married again. Mia Farrow was 19 years old when they got married, and Frank was 51. Nobody thought that the marriage would last, not even them. When Frank’s daughter Nancy, who was five years older than Mia, asked her father about the marriage, he is reported to have told her that he just wanted to try. He thought that they would maybe only have a few years together, but that they had to try. The marriage ended two years later. It is a very sad story because Frank truly loved Mia, and she truly loved him, I think. But in the end, perhaps they were in stages of life that were just too different.

Although career wise, Frank continued to have outrageous success in both acting and music. In 1962, the film The Manchurian Candidate was a Cold War  suspense drama that did extremely well. Frank also directed his first and only film in 1965, None But The Brave. In 1968, The Detective was an extremely intense film Frank worked on that was very controversial. True to form, Frank pulled it off wonderfully. Besides intense career boosters like these, Frank did several movies with members of the Rat Pack that were all great fun such as Ocean’s Eleven in 1960 and Robin and the Seven Hoods in 1964. Music wise, Frank continued to crank out records and they continued to have smashing success.

Frank on the set of The Detective in 1968.
Frank on the set of The Detective in 1968.

These times weren’t without their challenges, of course. There was the divorce from Mia Farrow, and while filming Robin and the Seven Hoods Frank’s son was kidnapped. While Frank was on a payphone with the kidnappers, he almost ran out of change and feared that his son would be killed. His son was successfully saved, but from then on Frank always carried a role of dimes with him. There was also the assassination of President John F. Kennedy during this time, and it was devastating for Frank as well as for the entire country. However, the thing that has hit me over and over again about Frank is the way he was able to deal with challenges. Just because he was Frank Sinatra does not mean that he didn’t face many difficulties. The thing about him though, was he knew how to pick himself back up. Because at the end of the day he did have the world on a string. He was, after all, Frank Sinatra.

Pocket Full Of Miracles

10 days! 10 days! 10 days! Yes, there are only 10 days left until Frank Sinatra Day! For me, this countdown has been extremely fun so far, telling you the (condensed) story of Frank’s life. Last night we visited a serious time in Frank’s life, and delved a little deeper into the controversy. Tonight we’ll be visiting the comeback in all of it’s glory.

Frank backstage right after he won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Angelo Maggio in the 1953 film of the year From Here to Eternity.
Frank backstage right after he won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Angelo Maggio in the 1953 film of the year From Here to Eternity.

Well, it happened with Frank’s role as Angelo Maggio in From Here to Eternity, Frank won an Academy Award of Best Supporting Actor for this role and with that his career shot forward once again. He was making movies again, he was recording again. In fact, the string of records he made after his comeback were more successful than any of the previous ones had been. This was huge, of course, because one of the main reasons that Frank’s career had declined in the first place was due to a vocal cord hemorrhage. In 1951, right before the drop of his career, his vocal cords hemorrhaged on stage and from there he carried great doubt that he would ever be able to sing again. Well, not only could he still sing, but many argued that his voice sounded better.

Frank was back! And even more successful than before it seemed. At the point when his career shot back to the top, Frank and Ava Gardner were still married but having major problems with their marriage. With his divorce from Ava Gardner in 1957, he began one of the longest bachelor periods of his life. All may have not been perfectly rose colored, but there were wonderful things happening to Frank. The 1950’s as a whole were very good to him career wise, and he had endless amounts of success both in the studio and on the big screen.

Frank in the 1958 film Some Came Running, a drama which exposed the controversy of 1950's America.
Frank in the 1958 film Some Came Running, a drama which exposed the controversy of 1950’s America.

He was in movies like The Man With The Golden Arm (1955), a movie about a drug addict which almost won him another Oscar, and Some Came Running (1958), a very serious movie which exposed the controversy of small-town America. It was the first movie that he ever worked on with Dean Martin. Music wise, Frank came out with seven new records from 1954 to the end of the 50’s, and each of them were smashing successes which shaped Frank into the musical icon that we know today. On top of all that, he formed his own record label. It seemed that he was untouchable, when only a few years before he had been penniless and without a career. Frank was definitely back in the neighborhood, and back in the penthouse, too.

It reminds me of a story from his early career when he was brought into a venue he’d be singing at. He is reported to have said, “You’d better push the walls of this joint out. I’m gonna pack ’em.” It was never more true than after the comeback.

 

It Was Just One Of Those Things

Frank as Francois watching the opening dance hall performance.
Frank as Francois watching the opening dance hall performance.

First and foremost, I apologize from the depths of my soul for the lapse in writing that has occurred over the past week. I did not even post on Frank Thursday. However, the reasons behind this were completely legitimate. I accepted a challenge to go without Frank in my life for an entire week. A challenge which I accepted and subsequently conquered. It was quite the week in the life of this bobby soxer, I will not lie to you one bit. However, it was actually an experience I’m glad that I got.  It was just one of those things, you know?

But that being the case, I actually wasn’t allowed to post on this blog either. So. there’s that.

However, I am back and so the chronicles of the bobby soxer continue! So, Frank Thursday from nearly two weeks ago.

My roommates and I watched Can Can (1960). I absolutely adore this movie, it is definitely in my top five favorite Frank movies. It5dbd5f9de4bced1ff8cf819e0d460f96 is set in the late 1800’s in France, just before the turn of the century. The can can is actually illegal in France at this time, and Frank’s character Francois is a lawyer who often finds himself in court defending a cafe owner, played by Shirley MacLaine,  because of the frequent and illegal performances of the dance at her place of business. Woven into this romantic comedy are outstanding performances and wonderful musical numbers including a song Frank later recorded, It Was Just One Of Those Things, sang in the movie by Maurice Chevalier.  In the end, commitment problems are settled and the can can may or may not receive a legal place in society.

Watch it, love it! I can guarantee that it’s a gem. Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Let’s fall in love…

As to other goings on in this life of mine, they have been entirely preoccupied with this No Frank Week challenge. It was a little bit harder than I had anticipated merely because I was asked to do it and not because I happened to. However, I did it and it was quite interesting. If you get the chance, you should try going a week without something. Just try it. You’ll be surprised by the results. But when one day your loved one drifts away, oo la la la, it is so tragical!  (But really, go watch Can Can and then these song references will make a world of sense.)