SINATRA: ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL is an engrossing new HBO documentary about the amazing life of Frank Sinatra.
In 1971, Sinatra staged a farewell concert in LA and chose 11 songs to tell the story of his life. This brilliant documentary by Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief) takes those 11 songs and structures a 4 hour, in depth, non-judgmental narrative of Frank's life from his first singing gigs as a 15 year old to his last concerts many years later.
I thought I knew a lot about Sinatra, but I had barely scratched the surface. Tamara and I were both captivated by the level of detail and the ups and downs of Frank's career.
One moment you are squirming with the boldness of his womanizing and philandering and the next you are inspired by his early, ahead of his time battles against racism.
The film doesn't skirt from the stories about Sinatra's mob ties, his legendary support of both JFK and Ronald Reagan and his nearly mad love affair with Ava Gardner.
Frank's support of Sammy Davis Jr at a time when audiences were still segregated is explored in depth, with Sinatra's support never flagging until he is caught between the power of the Kennedy family and doing what's in his heart.
The repercussions of those actions last for years and are fascinating to watch.
With each chapter neatly woven into Frank's song selections of the 1971 concert, you'll hear those all-time classics plus many, many more Sinatra tunes.
The man's talent is legendary and the tunes are timeless. They'll be appreciated generations after ours.
It was a thrill for me to see the Capitol Records studios where I've been lucky enough to visit during our time working with EMI Capitol. To see film of the original Sinatra sessions in the studio is thrilling. There are also numerous long, never before released glimpses of the Rat Pack in a very young Las Vegas. Can you imagine being in that audience for Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr and Joey Bishop, with Don Rickles and Johnny Carson popping on stage to join them?
Sinatra is a complicated man and this is a brilliant, two-part, four hour, NEVER boring story of his life that gets an A.