From Sinatra to Eternity

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Sadness strikes at the heart of Potato Country once again: Frank Sinatra has passed from our stage. We hadn't seen or heard him for years. And that perhaps was better; entertainers -- and Frankie was arguably the greatest of this century -- are best remembered in action. If you've been clicking or flipping around since you heard the news, you've probably heard it all already. CP has written it already. So let us not croon overlong in this space, and deliver what is CP's raison d'etre:

Sinatra On Screen: The Top Six

From Here to Eternity (1953)
Sinatra's comeback film is a great, great weeper. Frank, as third banana to Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift, turns in his best performance for $8,000 -- and netted the Oscar. Beyond the seaweed scene, this is also Clift at his tragic best. See it again.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
John Frankenheimer directs Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury in this classic and savvy political chiller. Not Sinatra's best role, but his best movie. Worth it for the garden-party scene alone.

Ocean's Eleven (1960) and Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964).
These two basically cover the "Rat Pack" phenomenon. "Ocean's Eleven" gets an edge for a semblance of plot and a winning turn by Cesar Romero as kingpin Duke Santos. "Robin" has some good musical numbers. Both are ultimately dragged down by too many flat spaces and an over-reliance on Pack charm to fill them in.

High Society (1956)
What the Rat Pack movies should have been: briskly plotted and musically irrepressible. A musical remake of The Philadelphia Story, with Frank joined by Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Louis Armstrong. Bing/Frank duet "Well Did You Evah" is sheer joy.

Man With the Golden Arm (1955)
Sinatra was proud of this one, in which he plays heroin addict Frankie Machine, because it was one of Hollywood's first looks at drug addiction. Now a bit dated, it still has harrowing moments.

Farewell, Blue Eyes. And folks -- don't feel too bad .We lost him to the summer wind.