03 June 2009

Quick thought on the new Scorsese project on Frank Sinatra

Who portrays Sinatra will make little difference (i.e., he could be a big name like Leo or a nobody like the mini-series star Philip Caswell was ... still is?).

The focus of the script will be what makes or breaks the project.

If the director tries to tell anything approaching Frank's whole story, it will fail pretty miserably (i.e., it will shed no light on any aspect of the artist or man, although I'm sure there'll be lotsa glamorous women and hoodlums -- not necessarily in that order).

What he needs to do is what the 2003 film The Night We Called it a Day, starring Dennis Hopper as Frank and Melanie Griffith as Barbara Marx, did: focus on a specific period/incident in Frank's life. In the case of the Hopper film it was the 1974 Australia incident, in which Frank essentially ticked off an entire continent and was stuck in a hotel room while the popular resentment against him played out across the country. The film, while far from great, is worth seeing for Hopper's depiction of Sinatra and, even more, because it didn't bite off more than it could chew.

I'm assuming a great director like Scorsese will be able to craft a better film than the 2003 movie, but the approach should be the same: take a particular incident that will allow us to see the artist, if not for the first time, then at least more deeply than ever before on screen.

I'll be at opening day no matter what, but I'd really prefer to be eager to see the final cut!


  1. You have a point, but considering Scorsese's style, I doubt he will do that. I'm seeing something more like "Goodfellas," in which he focuses on the early years, stardom, some controversial stuff, but then ends it at some climactic moment. I doubt he will try to do a cradle-to-grave biopic.

  2. Scorsese's Dylan bio, No Direction Home, followed this path, only covering Dylan's early years up to his motorcycle accident. A Sinatra version could end with his Oscar for From Here To Eternity.