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Music Review: Frank Sinatra – Sinatra at the Movies

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Sinatra at the Movies is a collection of songs from Sinatra movies. The movies span from 1943's Higher and Higher to 1960's Can-Can. All of the actual recordings of the songs are Capitol recordings from 1952 to 1960. As such not every famous movie song that Sinatra ever recorded appears here, including "New York, New York" and anything from Guys and Dolls and High Society.

The album is mostly light swing songs and mid-tempo ballads, nothing to rowdy and nothing to sleepy. Because these are Capitol recordings, all the arrangements and instrumentations are impeccable.

Hardcore Sinatra fans most likely have the majority of these songs already in their collection. After all the highlights of "Just One of Those Things", "I Believe", "All of Me", and "Young at Heart" are available on various Sinatra albums and greatest hits collections. Nevertheless, lesser-known gems such as "I Love Paris" and "C'est Magnifique" from Can Can and "(Love Is) The Tender Trap" from The Tender Trap also appear on this disc. I have quite a few Sinatra albums and collections and did not have any of those songs previously. The quality of these minor hits matches anything else on the record.

While every song is immaculately presented, not every one is the best thing Sinatra every recorded. "High Hopes" is a fine songs from all angles but one. It must have sounded cheesy the day it was recorded and has not aged well. The song is so unhip that Disney made fun of it in A Goofy Movie. The version of "The Lady is a Tramp" presented here is a fine one, but not the definitive version by Frank. Finally, "Chicago" is yet another very good song, but it may also be the one time Sinatra phrased something incorrectly. In Judy Garland's version, the meaning of the line: "I saw a man/ he danced with his wife", is clear. There is humor in the fact that Chicago is such a swinging town a man would dance with his own wife instead of with another woman. Sinatra delivers the line straight, and the humor does not come across.

The album could have easily been sequenced chronologically, but wisely, it was not. The songs skip around movie titles and time. This gives the album a good flow, there are not too many ballads or too many swing songs in one place.

Overall, this is a fine collection of some of Ol' Blue Eyes' best songs. Sinatra fans will want to pick it up for the few songs they do not have in their collection or simply as a good date night CD. If you know someone who likes Sinatra's music but has yet to pick up any of his CDs this is as good an introduction as a greatest hits collection.

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