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

4.2 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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

Product Description

Frank Sinatra: The Early Years Collection

FRANK SINATRA: THE EARLY YEARS COLLECTION DOUBLE DYNAMITE A racetrack tip puts bank clerk Sinatra in the green – and in hot water when a substantial amount of cash is missing from the bank. With Jane Russell and Groucho Marx. HIGHER AND HIGHER Starting out – the King of Swoon's first credited feature-film role! A maid poses as a debutante in hopes of wooing wealthy bachelor Frank. With Mel Torme and Dooley Wilson. IT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN Ex-G.I. Sinatra can't find an apartment when he returns from World War II, but he does find romance in the old neighborhood. With Kathryn Grayson, Jimmy Durante and the signature hit Time After Time. THE KISSING BANDIT He's also a singing bandit! Sinatra brings sly comic ease to the role of timid youth struggling to continue his family's bandito tradition. With Kathryn Grayson, Ann Miller and Cyd Charisse. STEP LIVELY The kid from Jersey winningly steps into his first top billing. An antic backstage farce based on the Broadway hit that also inspired the Marx Brothers' Room Service.

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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


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.

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 (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013LL2X4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,497 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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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By A Customer on October 20, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
a must for any new yorker or sinatra fan. ps. great musical # by peter lawford
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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.

Greg
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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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Wonderful story. Would have liked a more complete ending (there's one story line left hanging, though the character seems determined to complete it). Nice vehicle for Sinatra and features the classic duet with Durante "As Long As It Comes from the Heart". Kathryn Grayson is not quite as irritating as she usually is with her overly done vibrato. She also has a softer look in this one and comes off as more likable.
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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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This is such a charming film. A young Frank Sinatra...oh my you can hardly believe how well developed his voice is. He was truly amazing. The duet from Don Giovanni sung with Kathryn Grayson really shows his range. I can watch it over and over again. Jimmy Durante is a gem. And Peter Lawford is perfect as the shy Jamie.
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I LOVE OLD MOVIES AND REALLY ENJOY FRANK SINATRA. " IT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN" IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES. IT HAS JIMMY DURANTED IN IT, TOO, ALONG WITH KATHRYN GRAYSON. IT IS A GOOD LOVE STORY AND FUN TO WATCH.
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