Alas, a great stage play, a great cast (Frank Sinatra, Edward G Robinson, Eleanor Parker, Carolyn Jones, Thelma Ritter, Eddie Hodges, Keenan Wynn and Joi Lansing), a great director (Frank Capra) and a great song (Oscar-winning ‘High Hopes’ with lyrics by Sammy Cahn and music by Jimmy Van Heusen) do not necessarily add up to a great movie.
Nevertheless, this 1959 movie about a failing Miami hotelier, impractical widower Tony Manetta (Sinatra), who is desperate to keep his business alive and hang on to his Miami hotel, has some witty lines in Arnold Shulman’s screenplay (based on his play) and marvellous scene-stealing acting from the stars. Weak, womanising Tony Manetta has a sensible 12-year-old son Ally (Hodges), an upright brother Mario (Robinson) and a couple of ladies in his life (Jones as his irresponsible current flame Shirl, Parker as the nice Eloise).
Alas, also, Capra is past his prime. But no film with this pedigree could be all bad and, though shaky and overlong at two hours, it is always entertaining.
The two Franks, Sinatra and Capra, produced. They even joined their names for the production company, Sincap.
Also in the cast are Connie Sawyer, James Komack, Dub Taylor, George DeWitt, Benny Rubin, Ruby Dandridge, B S Pulley, Joyce Nizzari, Pupi Campo, Emory Parnell, Robert Williams and Bill Walker.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4726
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