Robin and the 7 Hoods
Tuesday April, 25 2017 at 03:30 PM
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For solid entertainment it's hard to top something like Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964). Frank Sinatra grabbed buddies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., enlisted some wonderful character actors, tossed in the great Bing Crosby and modeled the whole thing after Guys and Dolls (1955).
Set in 1920's Chicago, Robin and the 7 Hoods opens with the city's chief gangster (Edward G. Robinson) being forcibly shuffled off this mortal coil. His replacement (Peter Falk) has big plans but he didn't take into account the competing gangster Robbo (Sinatra) and his band of not-quite-merry men. With his new sidekick Little John (Martin), Robbo sets about the humorously complicated business of rebuilding bombed nightclubs, laundering money through orphanages and avoiding bullets. Along the way he discovers the charms of Marian (Barbara Rush, later on TV's All My Children and 7th Heaven) not to mention whether crime really does or does not pay.
Robin and the 7 Hoods was shot late during 1963, not one of Sinatra's better years. The same day they filmed a funeral scene they learned that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. A couple of weeks later they were preparing for a kidnapping scene when news came that Sinatra's son had in fact been kidnapped. Frank Jr. was recovered with no harm but the kidnapping scene never made it into the completed film.
As Newsweek so aptly said, "To get the film done would have been laudable; to get it funny was heroic." The songs - "My Kind of Town," "Style," "Mr. Booze," & "Don't Be a Do-Badder" - were the work of Sinatra faves Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen who even got an Oscar® nomination for "My Kind of Town", which has since become something of a Chicago anthem. Composer Nelson Riddle matched them with a nomination for his score.
Director: Gordon Douglas
Producer: Frank Sinatra, Howard W. Koch
Screenplay: David R. Schwartz
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Editor: Sam O'Steen
Music: Nelson Riddle
Cast: Frank Sinatra (Robbo), Dean Martin (Little John), Sammy Davis Jr. (Will), Bing Crosby (Allen A. Dale), Peter Falk (Guy Gisborne).
by Lang Thompson