The Frank Sinatra Collection (2016)

by | Jun 11, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

The Frank Sinatra Collection – DVD (2016)

This is a nostalgic look at an iconic performer!

Cast: Frank Sinatra; Nelson Riddle And His Orchestra; Ella Fitzgerald; Antonio Carlos Jobim; Diahann Carroll; The Fifth Dimension;  Don Costa & His Orchestra
Studio: Eagle Vision EV307649 (5/27/16)
Video:  4:3, Color
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0
TrackList: (A Man And His Music + Ella + Jobim): Day In Day Out; Get Me To The Chuch On Time; What Now My Love; ‘Ol Man River; All In Need Is The Girl; Body And Soul; It’s Alright With Me; How High The Moon; Up Up And Away; Look Out For Jimmy Valentine; Theme To Tony Rome; Ode To Billy Joe; Goin’ Out Of My Head; Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars; Change Partners; I Concentrate On You; The Girl From Ipanema; The Song Is You’ They Can’t Take That Away From Me;  Stompin’ At The Savoy; At Long Last Love; Don’t Be That Way; The Lady Is A Tramp; Put Your Dreams Away
(Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing): Hello Young Lovers; Baubles, Bangles And Beads; Cycles; The Music That Makes Me Dance; Deep Deep River; Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child; Lonesome Road; Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen; Amen; Glad To Be Unhappy;  Here’s That Rainy Day; It Never Entered My Mind; Gone With The Wind; It’s A Great Life; Stone Soul Picnic; Sweet Blindness; Nice ‘N’ Easy; (How Little It Matters) How Little We Know; Lost In The Stars; Angel Eyes; Put Your Dreams Away
(Sinatra): For Once In My Life; Please Be Kind; My Way; I Couldn’t Sleep A Wink Last Night; You’re Sensational; All The Way; The Tender Trap; Little Green Apples; Out Beyond The Window; A Man Alone; Don’t We Forget To Remember; Fly Me To The Moon; Street Of Dreams; Love’s Been Good To Me; Goin’ Out Of My Head; My Kind Of Town
Rating :     Audio: ****    Video: ****     Overall: ****

Frank Sinatra was one of the greatest show business icons of the 20th century. He enjoyed the exaltation of a teen idol, movie star, recording legend and perhaps the most admired (i.e. woman love him, men want to be him) entertainer on the planet. It was his second career ascension in the 50’s and sixties that punctuated this legacy. His run at Capitol records was extraordinary, producing some of the most exquisite popular music of that or any era. And television which launched the Elvis Presley brand was not lost on “The Chairman Of The Board”. Specifically, his Man And His Music television special in 1965 made Sinatra a part of the industry’s storied history. With meticulous craft, this show appealed to a wide audience. Over the next few years, additional specials were produced with similar results and quality.

Eagle Vision has released a DVD, The Frank Sinatra Collection featuring three late Sixties shows. A Man And His Music + Ella + Jobim, Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing and Sinatra capture the essence of the greatest pop singer ever in a variety of memorable (with exceptions of course) performances.  The first concert in this trio plays to Sinatra’s strengths, interpreting the American songbook and arrangements by Nelson Riddle. Songs like “Day In, Day Out”, “Get Me To The Church On Time” and “What Now My Love” demonstrated the relaxed, finger-snapping cool of the “best saloon singer” that ever lived. He can also handle slower-tempo numbers like “’’Ol Man River”. His ability to inject emotion into a song is compelling. His first guest Ella Fitzgerald is equally brilliant on Body And Soul” and “It’s Alright With Me”. Fitzgerald is an equal counterpoint to Sinatra.

But when they combine for a duet, the choice of pop-rock material is disappointing. Things get back on track with the addition of Antonio Carlos Jobim. This collection of material (“Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars, “Change Partners”, “I Concentrate On You” and “The Girl From Ipanema”) is stellar and emphasizes Sinatra’s musical chemistry with composers. The arrangements are flawless with lush instrumentals that glow with warmth and sentiment. The finale includes crowd favorites (and redemption for the Sinatra/Fitzgerald) on “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Stompin’ At The Savoy”. Riddle’s orchestra is excellent.  Frank and Ella swing on “The Lady Is A Tramp” and bring a festive vibe. There is a bounce back on songs like “Nice ‘N’ Easy” and (“How Little It Matters”) How Little We Know”. When he sticks to fifties and big band material, Sinatra is still viable as a performer.

Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing lowers the bar. Introducing the show’s theme about “youth’, he opens with glitzy arranged covers (with Don Costa conducting) of “Hello Young Lovers” and “Baubles Bangles And Beads”.  A rare contemporary success is “Cycles”. Sinatra was always capable of expressing wistfulness and does a good job here. He introduces Diahann Carroll who shines on two highly-stylized songs. They perform a duet on a medley of gospel spirituals which seems weird, but somehow appropriate given the singer’s early commitment to integration in show business. In connecting with youth, The Fifth Dimension  sing their hits. And then a cringe-worthy moment materializes as they introduce “The Sixth Dimension”. In walks Frank in psychedelic clothing and it underscores the anachronism of his brand of music.

Sinatra (the final show on this DVD) returns to the strength of the singer, his innate charisma and impeccable vocal phrasing. On songs like “For Once In My Life” and “Please Be Kind”, he may not have the fabled breathing technique, but his elocution is succinct. His affinity for pathos is evident on “My Way”. This is quintessential later-Sinatra. Costa’s swelling arrangement is prominent, but never overwhelms the voice. There is a smile-inducing homage to his movie career with “You’re Sensational”, “All The Way” and “The Tender Trap”. The inclusion of the sappy “Little Green Apples” underestimates Sinatra’s highly developed interpretive skills. As he joins the orchestra on stage for the last few numbers, the viewer can experience his appeal and talent as a live performer. “Fly Me To The Moon”and “My Kind Of Town” (which includes an extended, improvisational ending) hit the mark. When Sinatra slides into the final verse chord modulation of “My Kind Of Town” it is timeless.

The Sinatra Collection has been restored with vivid color and detail. The camera shots are interesting and Sinatra knows how to play to the home viewer. Although the opening shows are 4:3, the last one is widescreen.The audio mix is centered and still maintains the subtle timbre of this ageless baritone. There wasn’t much accompanying information. Although, Sinatra was entering the twilight of his singing career, he was masterful!

—Robbie Gerson    

Related Reviews
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01
Logo Pure Pleasure