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Frank Sinatra - The Early Years Collection (It Happened in Brooklyn / Step Lively / The Kissing Bandit / Double Dynamite / Higher and Higher) (2008)

 NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.92
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Frank Sinatra - The Early Years Collection (It Happened in Brooklyn / Step Lively / The Kissing Bandit / Double Dynamite / Higher and Higher) + Frank Sinatra - The Golden Years Collection (Some Came Running / The Man with the Golden Arm / The Tender Trap / None but the Brave / Marriage on the Rocks) + The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection (On the Town / Anchors Aweigh / Take Me out to the Ball Game)
Price for all three: $67.44

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013LL2X4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Frank Sinatra - The Early Years Collection (It Happened in Brooklyn / Step Lively / The Kissing Bandit / Double Dynamite / Higher and Higher)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes:
  • It Happened in Brooklyn (1947)
  • B&W, 103 min.
  • Step Lively (1944)
  • B&W, 88 min.
  • The Kissing Bandit (1948)
  • Color, 100 min.
  • Double Dynamite (1951)
  • B&W, 80 min.
  • Higher and Higher (1943)
  • B&W, 90 min.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Frank Sinatra: The Early Years Collection

The young, skinny Frank Sinatra was a big-band singer and the heartthrob of the bobby-soxers when he launched his movie career--a moment in time memorably captured by Frank Sinatra: The Early Years Collection. Five movies take the gangly kid from Hoboken through his hesitant first forays into the Hollywood game; everything here is in the minor-but-tuneful category, before he re-launched his career with From Here to Eternity. It's a fun set for Sinatra fans, not so essential for the casual viewer (and no extra features for vintage-movie mavens). Frankie's first feature, in 1943, was Higher and Higher, in which he plays--hmm--a young singer named Frank Sinatra. All right, it's not much of a stretch, but the kid fits quite comfortably into a madcap ensemble that includes Jack Haley, Mary Wickes, Dooley Wilson, and a youthful (practically unformed) Mel Torme. This is the kind of wacky universe in which a scullery maid has a French accent (it's Michele Morgan) and a British nobleman has a Danish accent (it's piano comedian Victor Borge). The film is completely insane, but fun. Step Lively (1944) has the same director, Tim Whelan, and a similarly over-heated farce in play: a theatrical producer (obnoxious George Murphy) tries to whip together a show while dodging hotel managers (Adolphe Menjou, deadpan Walter Slezak). Frankie's in there as a playwright who also sings. It's a version of the Broadway play that also served the Marx Brothers in Room Service, but the whole thing is really too labored to pay off. It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) doesn't offer much in the way of substance (Sinatra is a WWII vet returning to his beloved, but now less friendly, Brooklyn), but at least Frank is teamed with Jimmy Durante. Oh, and Kathryn Grayson and Gloria Grahame are in there too, even if the real love match is Sinatra and Durante singing together. Tunes are by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, including "Time After Time."

1948's The Kissing Bandit became for Sinatra what The Silver Chalice would be for Paul Newman: a source of self-mockery in later years. A truly bizarre concoction about the son of a Zorro-like bandit settling in Boston, the film has one specialty number featuring Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, and Ricardo Montalban, and a lot of filler. Sinatra's career was sliding by the time Double Dynamite (1951) was released, and the movie did little to help. Frankie's a poor bank clerk who scores on a horse-racing bet but can't prove he didn't actually rob the bank. It isn't great, although Groucho Marx at least has one of his better solo roles, while Jane Russell is stuck in a dizzy-dame part (rather than her preferred sassy mode). For Sinatra, career resurgence would have to wait a while--this box set gives you the superstar-in-waiting. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Goldmine of Early Sinatra Films for Fans!!! February 28, 2008
By Coleen
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Film buffs looking for examples of excellent Sinatra films are better directed to the Sinatra DVD box set, "The Golden Years", and also the individual DVDs, "Manchurian Candidate" (1962), "On the Town" (1949), "From Here to Eternity" (1953), "Guys and Dolls" (1955), "Pal Joey" (1957), and "High Society" (1956), among others. For film buffs who are also major fans of Frank Sinatra, however, this DVD box set is a real treat, as none of these films have been released in DVD format before, and many of them have been unavailable in VHS format for years.
All of the following films are in B&W, except for "The Kissing Bandit":

"Higher and Higher" (1943) was Sinatra's first full-length film, and, with Jack Haley on board in the lead male role, is somewhat amusing and entertaining filmfare. The highlights, for Sinatra fans, are Sinatra singing "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening" and "The Music Stopped", along with a few other songs. The plot is thin, with Sinatra playing himself, but this film is still a must for major Sinatra fans who will want to own this dated, but rather fun romp. (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)

"Step Lively" (1944) is much more exciting fare for Sinatra fans, as Sinatra plays the lead male role and shares his first on-screen kiss (with co-star Gloria de Haven) in an amusing tale about a Broadway producer (George Murphy) trapped, with his cast, in a Manhattan hotel suite because he can't pay his bill. The plot is amusing, and Sinatra sings four songs, including "As Long as There's Music". (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

"It Happened in Brooklyn" (1947) is easily the most interesting and entertaining of the films in this box set. Co-stars, Peter Lawford (long before he was in the Rat Pack!) and Jimmy Durante help make this film a thoroughly entertaining musical.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars greeeeaaaatt October 20, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
a must for any new yorker or sinatra fan. ps. great musical # by peter lawford
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old charming Musical, easy going August 5, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
My mother being a shut-in and a music fan enjoys watching musicals and I rent or purchased practically every one I can find so she can watch them all. For a modern movie lover this may seem a bit slow and obviously the script is simplistic and like other movies of it's day not as polished as many modern movies. It's almost corny in many spots. But it's easy going, you see the skills of these different stars and there's enough good points to make this a great movie.

My mother actually has physical pain from elevated blood pressure and excitement so even moving old time musicals can get on her nerves. This is an easy going movie that she has watched and can watch many times. Funny thing is the more I see it the more I like it and the more genius of the individual stars and their talents show through. I wish this was on DVD. I wish it was in color, but of course it's what it is. It's about common people living for the most part with talents and dreams not only working their way up, but helping others. All the ingrediants of a great movie, that are somehow lost in most modern day movies, but somewhat loosely put together. Actually some of the formulas and seemingly simpliness of the movie is what makes it so endearing when you watch it, but perhaps I've been watching to many musicals with old mom.

If you like Terminator and other action films with a ton of special effects, then this will put you to sleep. If you like interesting little sketches with very talented and likable actors (even if you know it's an act they do a great job), then this is a MUST SEE. I really like it. Other sometimes under-rated films that are like this would be Holiday Inn, another good easy going movie that has a kind of unexpected and loose script. Holiday Inn's script is tighter. Both good movies.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film! June 6, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This film is great and a must see. Great for all Katheryn Grayson fans It's romantic funny and enjoyable to see each time. I highly recommend it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra Sings Mozart? February 17, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Indeed he does (La ci darem la mano from Don Giovanni) with Kathryn Grayson, and quite gracefully too. This unique duet is worth the price of admission, but in addition you get loveable Jimmy Durante, an icon of vaudeville and early television (where ARE those shows?), and charming Peter Lawford, Kennedy in-law and Rat Packer-to-be! The plot is indeed forgettable, but the highlights make it worthwhile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BARGAIN! June 15, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Reviewer Coleen "Frankie-machine" did a good job of rating the films in this collection, except for "Higher and Higher" (based on the broadway hit), which in my opinion is this sets' best film.
Another reviewer says there are no chapter stops. That is not true. There ARE chapter stops about 10-12 minutes apart. However there are no scene selections, and that sucks! Discs however, are closed captioned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SINATRA WAS A VERY FINE ACTOR, NO KIDDING November 13, 2008
There is a duke of Dunstable at the beginning of the film; as he is a nice duke, it is not a P.G. Wodehouse story. Not a bad screenplay by Isobel Lennart: the character of Sinatra is well handled, but it is a MGM pix vith the MGM vices: by the book editing, conservative cinematography (by the gifted ROBERT PLANCK!), story line overdeveloped so the film slows when Lawford arrives in Brooklyn and rates only two or three stars.
MGM's obsession with prestige overloads the film with TWO opera main arias: the Mozart one does not serve Sinatra, but Grayson is very good.
Our own Delibes piece is supposed to be sung in french: I really couldn't understand what Grayson was singing. Any way it is an opera with an extravagant libretto and the aria is ridiculous, sung by anybody, even Joan Sutherland or Natalie Dessay. MGM couldn't quit: we have long Beethoven pieces (played beautifully by a 17 years old unseen André Previn) It is a 1946 movie! That kind of old fashioned boring silliness had nothing to do with motion pictures. Gay patrons were not recognised by the industry, so we don't have a prestige scene: Sinatra as a swan or the hunter in SWAN LAKE.
Sinatra is quite good and has nice Cahn-Styne songs.The song "Brooklyn bridge" is sung on the bridge, without process photography. Not ON THE TOWN but very pleasant.Durante does not do unsanitary things with the scenery and is very good. The friendship with the Sinatra character is very nice. Young people are not shown in a derogatory manner. Grayson looks very young and charming. Too bad she had so few parts. Gloria Grahame looks weird as an army lieutenant nurse.
The great GEORGE SIDNEY should have directed the picture. RICHARD WHORF directed just a few pictures. CHAMPAGNE FOR CAESAR (available in DVD) is a winner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 2 months ago by bitx
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great show.
Published 2 months ago by Alan Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great collection.
Published 2 months ago by THANH TANG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a lot of fun
Published 2 months ago by Robert Hashem
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldies but goodies
Gotta love the older movies. Good clean fun and get to see "ole blue eyes" in his prime.
Published 3 months ago by Lenore M. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Rating It Happened In Brooklyn
Love old classic musicals and comedy/romance. Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Durante were good mix. Would recommend this to classic fanatics.
Published 8 months ago by Stephen Lincoln
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic
A film that not many have seen and is not on TV much. It is funny, romantic and is just a good film to watch on the weekend.
Published 12 months ago by NCC-1701
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful oldie.
This is a great one to watch. Great stars, wonderful music, and a fun storyline. Early in the film, the cabby with only one line is Tony Curtis! Very enjoyable!
Published 13 months ago by Keeska
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Frank, how could you not like it?
I am a big Frank Sinatra fan. I loved his early movies. He was a very multifaceted actor/singer. And he could dance too! If you are a fan you will like these movies. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Becky
5.0 out of 5 stars good early stuff
good early music and worth the price just for that. nice to see Sinatra working with Durante and Groucho. fun stuff.
Published 14 months ago by Pastor Trever Rook
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