Peter Bogdanovich Reviews Frank: The Voice
Peter Bogdanovich is an acclaimed director, producer, writer, actor, film critic, and author. He has directed over 25 feature films, including international award winners The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, and Paper Moon. Read his review of Frank: The Voice:
There has never been a book of this kind or quality about Frank Sinatra. Like the formidable novelist he is, James Kaplan has somehow managed to get inside the man and the legend, to such a degree that you feel you are living Sinatra’s life with him, almost day by day. Yet it is the fastest read.
From his violent, deforming, traumatic birth, through his Hoboken childhood with a super-dominating mother and a weak father, through the heady, unprecedented bobby-sox years, his young marriage to the virtually saint-like Nancy, their three kids, his numerous--almost serial--infidelities, through the tumultuous affair with Ava Gardner--detailed as never before--through the much-frowned-on divorce, the suicide attempts, rivetingly onward through the near total collapse of his career, and right up through the miraculous comeback with the Oscar for From Here to Eternity,this book tells it all with the freshness of the first time, in the most engrossing and evocative prose. There is compassion and candor, and a profound sense of real lives being lived.
Sinatra the musician has never been taken as seriously or chronicled with such sensitivity and depth; it has never been as clear how very much the singer had to do with all aspects of his recordings and performances. This is a warts-and-all work, with a staggering amount of research to back everything up, revealing Nancy Sr. in all her grace, and Frank in all his moods, but it is never salacious or malicious, only honest, forthright and civilized. Nobody can be prepared for the life of a phenomenon--which Sinatra was--the first show business phenomenon of the 20th century, long before Elvis or the Beatles, and far more complicated and multi-layered. Being very human, Frank did the best he could with it all, and James Kaplan has done a magnificently resonant chronicle of the first half of an incredible journey. It leaves you hungering for the second volume!
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this riveting and fast-paced biography, Kaplan, coauthor with Jerry Lewis of Dean and Me, chronicles Sinatra's somewhat unlikely meteoric ascent to success, his failures, and his rebirth as a star of song and screen. With exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting, detail, Kaplan engagingly re-creates the young Sinatra's childhood in Hoboken, N.J., where young Frank was born, in 1915. By the time he was 12, Sinatra was singing for quarters on top of the piano in the bar in his father's tavern. At 21, Frankie joined a group that became known as the Hoboken Four, and everyone soon recognized Sinatra's great vocal gift. Kaplan expertly conducts us on a journey through Sinatra's early years with Tommy Dorsey and his long solo career; Sinatra's first marriage to Nancy Barbato and his more famous marriage to Ava Gardner; and through Sinatra's movie career and his rebirth in the early 1950s. Although Sinatra's career often faltered in the late 1940s, his partnership with Nelson Riddle and the release of the song "Young at Heart" in 1953 began Sinatra's comeback. Kaplan's enthralling tale of an American icon serves as an introduction of "old blue eyes" to a new generation of listeners while winning the hearts of Sinatra's diehard fans. (Nov.) (c)
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