'Frank Sinatra - The Golden Years Collection'
(Frank Sinatra, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / (1958) 2008 / Warner Home Video)
Overview: "Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years" Box-Set includes: "The Man With The Golden Arm", "Marriage On The Rocks", "None But The Brave", "Some Came Running" and "The Tender Trap."
DVD Verdict: "Golden Era" is kind of a misnomer for this DVD set, as only 3 of the films are truly from Frank Sinatra's golden era: the mid to late 1950's. However, the 3 films here from that era, "Tender Trap" (1955), "Man With the Golden Arm" (1955), and "Some Came Running" (1958) are all SUPERB!
"The Tender Trap" (Color; 1955) is a delightful comedy, with a screenplay (by Julius J. Epstein) not unlike Neil Simon's future plays, and features great chemistry between Sinatra and co-star Debbie Reynolds.
"The Man With the Golden Arm" (In film noir-ish B&W; 1955) is well-known as, perhaps, Sinatra's greatest performance as an actor. He was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to Ernest Borgnine in the "safer" film, "Marty". Directed by Otto Preminger, it is an excellent film about heroin addiction, and was extremely realistic by 1955 standards. It was the FIRST film ever to tackle this subject seriously and it does not demonize the drug user as might be expected for a film that is over 50 years old.
"Some Came Running" (Color; 1958) Directed by Vincente Minnelli and one of Martin Scorcese's favorite films, this film HAS to be seen in WIDESCREEN to be fully appreciated! Also starring Shirley MacLaine (in an Oscar-nominated early role) and Dean Martin, this drama is, in essence, Part 2 of "From Here to Eternity", with Sinatra now in the Clift role as an author/soldier returning to his small hometown, only to find himself disillusioned by its hypocracies and his label as a troublemaker and misfit (James Joyce wrote both novels, "From Here to Eternity" and its sequel, "Some Came Running"). Sinatra, MacLaine, and Martin are all excellent in this complex, lengthy (but always entertaining) film.
"None But the Brave" (Color; 1965) marked Sinatra's debut as a film-director; he also acts in it and does a superb job in both departments. Fans of Clint Eastwood's latest two war dramas (2006), will find much to like about this underrated WWII drama, which shows both American and Japanese viewpoints of the war. While there are a few weak spots in the acting department by some of the actors portraying American soldiers, the rest of the cast is excellent, and for its time, this was quite a daring movie for 1965.
"Married On the Rocks" (Color; 1965) Also starring Deborah Kerr, Dean Martin, and Nancy Sinatra, this film is a huge disappointment. It is worth seeing at least once for the interaction of Ms. Kerr, Sinatra and Dean Martin, but the plot is abysmal and the scenes in Mexico offended Mexican nationals so much, Sinatra was banned from performing in Mexico for a short period of time(!) Why this film was included in Sinatra's "Golden Era" instead of superior comedic efforts like 1963's "Come Blow Your Horn" (written by Neil Simon) or the SUPERB 1957 Sinatra drama, "The Joker is Wild", both of which have yet to be released on DVD, is a mystery to me!
Just count "Marriage on the Rocks" as a not-quite-free bonus disc, and the rest of this package is excellent film entertainment! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
New Featurette: Shoot Up/Shoot Out: The Story Behind The Man with the Golden Arm
New Featurette: The Story of Some Came Running – an exclusive ‘making-of' retrospective
New Featurette: Frank's Way