Saturday, June 27, 2015

#50: A man and his music and his imaginary dice

Fanfare, please. I've made it all the way to #50. "Luck Be A Lady" was written by Frank Loesser and arranged by Billy May.

If you don't own the Man and His Music videos, you're missing some primo Sinatra performances. After ten years and many viewings, I'm still in love with this one, from the way Frank mugs it up to the dice blowing-and-throwing to the dancing around between choruses. And, oh yeah, the singing. Frank and the band combine for a tour de force:

Ain't that perfection? The song wasn't written for Sinatra but he surely owns it now.

That's from A Man and His Music Part II from 1966.

Purely by coincidence, this song is also Bob Belvedere's #50. I'm thinking Mark Steyn will cover it as well so I'll update with a link and quotes if he does.

It's #46 on Mark's count-up. A bit:
As for the acting, it's weird to see Brando and Sinatra together. Sinatra was a two-take actor: it wasn't going to get any better. Brando liked to take all day. "I don't buy this take and retake jazz," said Frank. "The key to good acting on screen is spontaneity, and there's something you lose a little with each take." But Brando liked to do every line over and over and over, uncovering subtle nuances of meaning with every shift in emphasis. As Frank told Mankiewicz, "Don't put me in the game, Coach, until Mumbles is through rehearsing."

Their relationship degenerated. Knowing Sinatra's aversion to multiple retakes, Brando took to sabotaging each shot, doing the whole scene perfectly and then screwing up the last line. Back to square one. One scene required Frank to eat a slice of Lindy's cheesecake while Mumbles yakked away. Brando chose to "forget" his lines over and over, so that every retake began for Frank with a fresh slice of cheesecake. Nine takes and an entire cheesecake later, Sinatra hurled his plate across the set, stabbed his fork deep into the table, and yelled, "These f**king New York actors! How much more cheesecake do I have to eat?". Victory to Mumbles.  
Read it all


Mark Steyn at #43 has one of the very best, Cole Porter's "I Concentrate On You." More on that sometime in the fall. Ms. EBL features the beautiful "Time After Time," which means it's time for another plug for She & Him's Classics CD. Here's the duet:


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