Sinatra (Mini-series)
R1 - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (9th June 2008).
The Film

Dos Equis's current ad campaign (in North America, at least) talks about the world's most interesting man ('the police often question him just because they find him interesting'). I would thing Frank Sinatra's life could easily fit into that moniker. He was a ridiculously famous singer, an actor, he's boozed it up with the likes of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., was married to Ava Gardner, he's had a comeback, and had ties with the White House and the Mafia. His life is ripe with great cinematic opportunity.

Though it comes as no surprise that his life was turned into a movie (a 4-hour miniseries, no less), it may be surprising that this only happened in 1993. (At a time when the likes of 15-year-old Miley Cyrus is signing deals for autobiographies, it was rather surprising that Old Blue-Eyes would never write one, and would wait until the end of his life to let his story be told.) The movie follows his life from his childhood to his 1974 performance coming out of retirement. It hits all the moments mentioned above, making for a nice few hours of watching.

The cast brining this all together is pretty impressive. Star Philip Casnoff hasn't done much out of television, but he gives a very nice performance, and this certainly helped his career along. Olympia Dukakis plays his mother, Gina Gershon plays his first wife, Marcia Gay Harden plays Ava Gardner, and even Rod Steiger has a small role.

The movie follows Mr. Sinatra's life through these characters. The first half concentrates on his life and career until his breakup with Nancy Sinatra in the mid-1950, while the second half concentrates on his fast and hard life after his first divorce. The plot moves pretty quickly, but sort of lags a few times here and there. The movie does pack a lot in the last half hour, making everything move a bit too fast and doesn't leave too much time to spend on important things. For example, the last 20 minutes spans about 9 years, flying through his marriage with Mia Farrow, making this part of his life seem insignificant.

However, overall the movie does a nice job showing the man's life. Mr. Sinatra never wanted to write an autobiography. He thought his music would speak for his life. This, I believe, was a mistake, because his life was more than just his music. He lived a very fascinating life, ripe with ups and downs, insides and outs. The movie shows you pieces of that life, but in the end there's no way 4 hours can sum up the life of Frank Sinatra.

Video

1.33 full screen. Like the sound, the picture is functional. The movie is from 1992 and looks pretty good. Itís not as detailed or as clear as it could be, but the contrast is okay and the colours are good enough. They do miss a bit of pop, but this is probably to be expected. Skin tones are nice and the colours never flicker, which is always a plus. There are only a few specks, and no edge enhancement (or very little in one or two scenes), so this is a nice picture.

Audio

The movie comes in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The track is a very good one, presenting the music very well. It's loud and clear, with a good enough range. The dialogue is clear and unmuffled for the most part, though does get a bit screechy once or twice when people start screaming. The volume levels of the various elements are also good enough, though the voices during some of the songs are a bit too loud. Overall it's a good track.
English (HoH) subtitles are provided.

Extras

There are no extras save for an anti-piracy ad (1:00) before the main menu.

Overall

The Film: B Video: C Audio: B- Extras: F- Overall: C-

 


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