As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Frank Sinatra primarily regarded himself, as he put it, a “saloon singer,”and played down his acting career.
He may have under-rated himself. Fact remains that he made more than a few pretty good pictures, some of which surely qualify as classic films.
The focus of our Monday Quiz this week is Sinatra the movie actor with perhaps a detour or two into his private life.
Questions (scoll down for a refresher) and answers were inspired by author James Kaplan’s 2010 biography Frank: The Voice, and by Barbara Sinatra’s 2010 memoir, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank Sinatra.
OK, let’s see how you did with our quiz about “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” the movie actor.
1) Answer: Sinatra became a musical comedy star in c). As Esther Williams recalled, he had done ‘Step Lively’ with Gloria DeHaven, which wasn’t a big success; but then he did ‘Anchor’s Away’ with Gene Kelly, and his film career really took off.
2) Answer: b) Williams assured Sinatra that he was too big a talent to allow MGM’s reservations about his off-screen partying to worry him.
3) Answer: b) Montgomery Clift, Sinatra’s costar in From Here To Eternity.
4) Answer: c) Sinatra played a former intelligence officer dogged by visions of mysterious killings during the Korean War.
5) Answer: b) False. Sinatra enjoyed the company of both Dean Martin and Sammy Davis although he later cooled a bit on the former when his drinking got in the way of performing. Both Martin and Davis put in solid performances in Ocean’s Eleven.
6) Answer: a) According to the Kaplan biography: Naked, Frank Sinatra stood five feet seven and a half inches tall. This was his full adult stature….In his later years he wore lifts in his shoes that got him up to five nine or so.
7) Answer: a) True. Author Kaplan reports that Sinatra’s valet, George Jacobs, revealed in his memoir that the thing was so big, Mr. S had to have special underwear made to keep it in check. The medical condition, adds Kaplan, is termed Macrophallus.
8) Answer: c) Eli Wallach. The studio was high on him but From Here To Eternity’s director Fred Zinnemann was bowled over by Sinatra’s screen test for the role of Pvt. Maggio. It was no contest after that.
9) Answer: c) Gene Kelly. Sinatra was, to put it mildly, unsure of his dancing abilities. But working with Kelly, his Anchor’s Away costar, gave Sinatra pretty decent skills. He could actually keep up with Kelly more or less, no small feat.
10) Answer: c) Ava Gardner. They couldn’t live with each other and found it difficult to live without each other — to their respective ends.