I tell ya, chum...laughs it is!
-This Neil Simon comedy, debuted on Broadway two years earlier, minus the song and a few characters and starred Hal March, Warren Berlinger, Lou Jacobi, and Pert Kelton. It had a respectable run for about a year and Frank Sinatra must have recognized a property tailor made for him when he saw it.
The eternal problem with filming plays is how to get them out of the theatrical confines and use the scope the movie camera offers. Primarily this is done with a Sinatra song with the movie title where he lectures kid brother Tony Bill that life ain't a dress rehearsal. Sammy Cahn, who put more words in Frank Sinatra's mouth than any other lyricist, put some of his best work into play here. It's a great Sinatra song and maybe it's inclusion qualifies Come Blow Your Horn to be a musical.
Lee J. Cobb and Molly Picon are the quintessential Jewish parents and they are grand. Cobb was a very underrated actor and an unhappy man because of his experience with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Sinatra purportedly befriended him and helped him over a few rough patches.
Molly Picon brought about 50 years of experience to her part as Frankie's mom. She was fresh from a Broadway triumph in Milk and Honey. She started out as a child in the Yiddish Theatre and was only now breaking out into a wider audience. She has a very funny scene alone in Sinatra's bachelor pad, trying to answer several phones looking for a pencil to take a message with disastrous consequences.
The women here are an eyeful, Phyllis McGuire, Barbara Rush, and Jill St. John and Sinatra's involved with all of them. I won't tell you which one he ends up with, but I think you'd figure it out. I think most of Frankie's fans would settle for any one of them.
Life imitates art and the real life Sinatra unlike his character Alan Baker didn't really settle down until fourth wife Barbara Marx married him.
There's a lot of similarities with the earlier Sinatra comedy, The Tender Trap. It's ground gone over before, but it's good topsoil.
A Quintessential Sinatra film, a must for fans of the Chairman of the Board.
-I have to agree with most of what the previous commenter says; this is a largely disappointing movie. Neil Simon's wit here is not yet up to "Odd Couple" or "Sunshine Boys" speed, and some of the acting is lame. Jill St. John is a tad too cutesily dumb, and Tony Bill's Buddy is somewhat grating, especially after his unconvincing conversion from youthful innocent to roue. However, Sinatra is always worth watching and listening to, especially in the masterful Nelson Riddle's arrangements (here an original song, actually). However, the movie is almost worth watching solely for Lee J. Cobb's performance as papa Baker; his sidesplitting performance as the terminally frustrated Mr. Baker is a study in comic skill, particularly in the scenes where he invades the brothers' apartment. I had never see Cobb do comedy before; now my estimation of him as an actor has increased immeasurably. Catch this one just for Cobb.
-This movie is classic Frankie.
Frank plays a swinging bachelor with a steady stream of dollies coming to him--and one, true steady girl. His father greatly resents his lackluster job performance for him but, moreso, is upset with him for not being married, being "a bum" as he frequently puts it.
Then Frankie's square little brother decides that Frank is living the life. He runs away from home to have his big brother show him the ropes, much to his parents' dismay.
Thus ensues a great comedy. We get to watch Frank teach what he knows best--how to swing, and see his little brother comically pick it up. And pick it up maybe too well for Frank's comfort...
Wonderfully funny situations pop up all over the movie, beautifully intertwined with a solid plot and certain points being driven home. The cast couldn't be better (despite some comments about Frank's age--Frank always looked at least ten years younger than he was).
Frank is completely on the ball with this part and does it like the pro that he is; it was just written for him to play. There's plenty of girls for him to have a field day with, and it's so funny and such a pleasure to just watch Frank play this sort of thing. The rest of the cast couldn't be better, and it all just clicks right into place.
Hilarious situations and dialogue, a wonderful cast, a fantastic, unexpected cameo, a great capture of the excellent times when the movie was filmed, and overall wonderful Sinatra all add up to a movie you've got to watch if you love the Swingin' 60's, the Rat Pack, Frank, or just great comedies.
Writers:Neil Simon (play), Norman Lear (screenplay)
Frank Sinatra ... Alan Baker
Lee J. Cobb Lee J. Cobb ... Harry R. Baker
Molly Picon Molly Picon ... Mrs. Sophie Baker
Barbara Rush Barbara Rush ... Connie
Jill St. John Jill St. John ... Peggy John
Dan Blocker Dan Blocker ... Mr. Eckman
Phyllis McGuire Phyllis McGuire ... Mrs. Eckman (buyer for Neiman-Marcus)
Tony Bill Tony Bill ... Buddy Baker
Release Date:5 June 1963 (USA)
Sound Mix:Mono | Mono (Westrex Recording System)