Tony Manetta runs an unsuccessful Miami hotel, on which he can't meet the payments. Another liability is his weakness for dames (Shirl, his sexy current flame, is even less responsible than Tony). But a solid asset is Ally, his sensible 12-year-old son. When Tony wants stolid brother Mario to bail him out again, Mario makes conditions: give up Ally, or at least get married to a "nice, quiet little woman" of his selection. Tony and Ally just play along to be diplomatic, but when the woman in question proves to look like Eleanor Parker... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A Hole in the Head is based on a Broadway play that ran for 156 performances during the 1956 season by Arnold Schulman. So popular and enduring has it proved that a full musical version was done on Broadway in 1968-1969 that starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme in the parts done here by Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker. High Hopes didn't make it to Broadway, but the song I've Got To Be Me was introduced there by Steve Lawrence and made popular by fellow Rat Packer Sammy Davis, Jr.
In Frank Capra's autobiography he says that Schulman was not happy with the change of characters from Jews to Italians, but Capra brought him around to his point of view on this and other things. The ending in the film version is not as upbeat as in the original play.
Capra had heard a lot of stories about how disagreeable Sinatra could be to work with, but he says that Sinatra was nothing, but cooperative during the entire work. His biggest difficulty was the fact that Sinatra likes to do things in one take because he becomes bored with repeated efforts. Whereas Edward G. Robinson likes to go over things repeatedly until it was perfect. Capra did work out a compromise where Robinson did his rehearsing, but without Sinatra.
The story is about a widower who owns a ramshackle motel in a not popular area of Miami Beach and he's got money problems. Sinatra as the widower also has a son, Eddie Hodges and they are devoted to each other.
Edward G. Robinson and Thelma Ritter are his brother and sister-in-law who are visiting from New York and Sinatra is hoping for a touch from him. Robinson's bailed him out a few times and he puts a lot of conditions on future help. Like maybe a remarriage for instance and Ritter tries to hook him up with an old friend, Eleanor Parker. They actually hit it off. But there's still a whole lot of complications.
High Hopes which is sung by Sinatra and Eddie Hodges sold a few platters for Frank back in 1959 and won the Oscar for best movie song. Sinatra also sings All My Tomorrows over the opening credits and that song did not catch on at first. Later in the mid Sixties, Sinatra recorded it again this time for his own Reprise label, before it had been done for Capitol as had High Hopes and this time it became a minor hit for him. It's quite a poignant ballad.
Keenan Wynn has a small, but important part as a real estate kingpin promoter who came down with Sinatra to Miami Beach, but made a big success. Sinatra also tries to hit him up with not so good results. Funny thing is that his big idea was a Walt Disney like park for Florida and life imitated art there, though the park got located in the Orlando area.
Frank Sinatra is not as noble as some of Capra's populist heroes, but he's also down to earth and likable. It's one of his best screen performances in one of his best films.
Though I have to say with that red hair Eddie Hodges looked a whole lot more like Eleanor Parker's son than Frank's.
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