This 90 min BBC documentary on Frank Sinatra and his nearly life-long connection with the Mafia still manages to acknowledge Sinatra's genius as an entertainer. Those who watch expecting a biography of Sinatra will not be disappointed as it covers his entire life, and those curious about the Mafia accusations, can also listen to witness testimony that contradicts Sinatra's infamous 1981 filmed denial when he was applying for a new Nevada Gaming Licence. We get to hear a lot of Sinatra's vocals and see concert and news footage, as well as film trailers, and some of the celebrities interviewed are Paul Anka, Lois Nettleton, Shirley MacLaine, and Artie Shaw.
However the director also piles on the technique, which includes reconstruction, split screen, slow motion (a cooking pan of sausages seems obtuse but gets a late pay off), repeated imagery, super-impositions, and unforgivably, talking over Sinatra's first recording! The documentary and Sinatra's life are possibly the most interesting in his Ava period 1950-1952 when he feared his career was over, in 1960 when John Kennedy used him as a middleman to get to Sam Giancana and Chicago votes to win the Presidential election, and later in the 1960's when the Vietnam generation and the emergence of The Beatles made Frank's Las Vegas Rat Pack appear outdated.
Those who like gore will appreciate stills of the bloody body of Bugsy Siegel, and those that like irony will admire the footage of Lucky Luciano's funeral procession. 2 mysteries - why is Judy Garland heard singing "Who?" when Virginia Hill is spoken of, and a greater one - why is Sinatra's grave so underwhelming?!
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