Frank Sinatra


  1. Red Skelton, Merton of the Movies, 1946.       Can you imagine Ole Blue Eyes as a film-mad klutz from Kansas who gets to take over a Hollywood drama from his favourite actor without realising he’s being used to make it a comedy send-up? Nor could Sinatra! Not Skelton’s best/worst. (Was there ever a best?) The funniest comedy routines were dreamt up by Buster Keaton.
  2. Peter Lawford, Easter Parade, 1947.    Gene Kelly broke his ankle (Fred Astaire took over), Ann Miller had to wear a back brace (after being thrown down a staircase by her husband),  And Sinatra split, leaving Jonathan Harrow III to his pal, Lawford.  When he married into the Kennedys, Sinatra called him The Brother-in-Lawford.
  3. Dick Haymes, One Touch Of Venus, 1947.      Worried that Clifton Webb was the only solid name in her plans to film the Broadway hit musical in 1943 (with Mary Martin and Frank Sinatra), Mary Pickford pulled the plug and sold her rights to Universal where, ironically, it became an Ava Gardner vehicle five years later… Ava , of course, ignited with Sinatra in 1949 and they wed during 1951-1957.
  4. Van Johnson, In The Good Old Summertime, 1949.   MGM had more stars… than they knew what to do with. Example: Andy was Gene Kelly, who became Peter Lawford, who became Frank Sinatra who became Johnson! Ole Blue Eyes simply quit. Then, his expected co-star Allyson proved pregnant. The two facts were not connected.
  5. Howard Keel, Lovely To Look At, 1952.      Unfortunately, the A Team – Garland, Garrett, Kelly, Sinatra – never re-made Jerome Kern’s Roberta musical. And it sure showed…
  6. Dirk Bogarde, Penny Princess, 1952.      Frank’s career being in the toilet didn’t  mean he had to  accept UK trash. And there is no comment on  record  from Cary Grant  about refusing this cheese salesman Associate producer  Earl St John told writer-director Val Guest to get Bogarde a good suit. “Give him square shoulders.”  Shows how little St John had read of  the script. The hero is mostly in pyjamas. Doubtless Frank or  Guest’s other lofty targets –  Montgomery Clift, Robert Cummings, William Holden and Frank Sinatra    – would have agreed with Bogarde’s summation: “As funny as a baby’s coffin.”
  7. James Mason, A Star Is Born, 1953.

  8. Marlon Brando, On The Waterfront, 1953.
    A feud is born    After the hot-shot, know-it-all moguls and majors – Harry Cohn, Jack Warner, Darryl Zanuck, MGM. Universal – passed, SP Eagle (as Sam  Spiegel was still called)  took it on, insisting on Marlon Brando. Not so, director Elia Kazan… Furious at Brando saying he’d never work with Kazan again “for turning canary,” exposing his Communist friends, Kazan just didn’t “want that son of a bitch in my film – he’s not right for the part anyway.” He felt pencil-thin Sinatra would be a more believable  boxer (!). “He’d grown up in Hoboken, spoke perfect Hobokenese and he’d be simple to work with.” Scenarist Budd Schulberg changed the famous taxi speech line from “You coulda been another Billy Conn” to the much lighter “Jimmy McLarnin.”  Then, Kazan, The Boy Genius of Broadway, feared The Voice would split too early for his next gig. Budd Schulberg’s script was sent to Montgomery Clift although Kazan, preferred Paul Newman. Spiegel never gave up on Brando. To make him  jealous enough to change his mind, Kazan had Karl Malden direct a test of Newman – and his future wife Joanne Woodward as The Girl, Edie Doyle. Brando  finally signed when Sinatra was being fitted for Terry Molloy’s clothes.“Frank was mad as hell,” recalled Schulberg.  “God, he wanted that part. He screamed at me. He practically came to blows with Spiegel. He had his heart set on it. The unfortunate truth is that Sinatra couldn’t have done it. He just couldn’t act in that way… Brando’s way. Who could?”

  9. Karl Malden, On The Waterfront, 1953.    Furious  with Sam Spiegel for welshing on their deal, Sinatra wanted $100,000 compensation for the “humiliation”  (he settled for $18,000) and  the role of the docklands priest, Father Barry.  Too late, Malden was aleady signed – “and I wasn’t?” yelled Frank).  In a foul mood one  night at Romanoff’s,  he kept calling Sam “Fat Man”  until  Spiegel shut him up.  “Frank, if you would like to meet me outside, without your henchmen, it would be my pleasure.” 
  10. James Dean, Giant, 1955.
  11. Dan Dailey, It’s Always FairWeather, 1955.      Designed as an On The Townsequel for Kelly, Sinatra, Jules Munshin. Gene Kelly stayed put (and co-directed with Stanley Donen), Frank was unavailable and Dailey and Michael Kidd joined Kelly in, this time, the USArmy. Dancing sailors look better.

  12. Marlon Brando, Guys and Dolls, 1955.
    Producer Samuel Goldwyn was like Robert Redford at the end of The Candidate. He’d won… but what now? MGM refused    to loan Gene Kelly, so   Sam offeredSky Masterson to every guy he knew: Bing Crosby, Kirk Doughas, Clark Gable,    Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, even Robert Mitchum! Then, Cary (who had suffered Sinatra tantrums   during The Pride And The Passion, 1957)  called his one-time lover Marlon:   “I hear that you don’t like Sinatra   Take the role… just to piss him off.    It’s a deal!”Although “heavy-footed with high comedy,” Brando insisted on $200,000 for 14 weeks. And Sinatra became Nathan Detroit, running “the oldest established permanent floating crap game in NewYork” – which really required a Jewish comic. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” Brando told Sinatra. “I was wondering, maybe I could come to your dressingroom and we could just run the dialogue together.” Sinatra still smarting from losing Waterfront to “Mumbles,” told him: “Don’t give me any of that Actors Studio bullshit.” Asked about the film, Montgomery Clift told Brando: “You knowwhat I saw? This big, big, fat ass.”

  13. Sterling Hayden,  The Killing, 1955.   Five years before Ocean’s Eleven – and a few months before he broke up with Sammy Davis Jr in a typical fit of pique (so Steve McQueen replaced Sam  in Never So Few that year) –  Frank Sinatra was keen on another heist story.  Lionel White’s book. Clean Break. However, new director Stanley Kubrick’s producer partner, James B Harris,  won the rights for a thriller they figured  should star…  Sinatra!  When Ole Blues Eyes finally made up with Sam The Wham, he wanted his Clan to re-make Kubrick’s Killing, until another  Clanster, Peter Lawford, told him  about  a greater heist  tale  by  George Clayton Johnson, and Jack Golden Russell. The timing was perfect.  He had just  ended  his feud with Sammy (Lawford would  be the pique victim). And so Danny Ocean & Co were born  “to liberate millions of dollars”from  five Vegas casinos midnight on New Year’s Eve.  A much bigger take than The Killing’s $2m at a race-course.

  14. Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts, 1955.       Too old (already!) for Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver.

  15. Broderick Crawford, Il bidone, Italy-France, 1955.       Humphrey Bogart was ill, Sintarawas a louse…Normally, Federico Fellini cast faces first (from photos of stars, actors, extra and amateurs) and their (dubbed) voices afterwards. He foundhis Augustofrom All The King’s Men – not the film, but a vertically torn poster in Rome’s Piazza Mazzini. The hangdog look was perfect but who the hell was “Broderi”…?Fellini found out – and also about Broderi’s alcoholism which made shooting a living hell. The maestro wished he’d gone with either of two Paris suggestions, Pierre Fresnay or Jean Servais.

  16. Gordon MacRae, Carousel, 1956. “Frank was very enthusiastic about playing Billy Bigelow, which he called the greatest musical role for a man,’’ his intended co-star Shirley Jones told TCM host Robert Osborne.  “He’d pre-recorded all of the songs. But it when he arrived on location in a limousine and saw two cameras [one for CinemaScope, one  for CinemaScope 55], he said, ‘I’m not being paid to make two movies,’ and got back in the limousine and left.’’ Jones said she learned the truth years later. “His wife at the time, Ava Gardner, was shooting a film in Africa. [Mogambo]. She called Frank and said:  If you’re not on the next plane, I’m having an affair with [co-star] Clark Gable.”
  17. Burt Lancaster, Sweet Smell of Success, 1956.     “I love this dirty town…” When Burt Lancaster’s company – Hecht-Hill-Lancaster – bought Ernest Lehman’s story in 1955, it was with The Voice in mind for The Louse, powerful newspaper columnist JJ Hunsecker…based on Walter Winc hell. Next, Orson Welles, and then… Lancaster’s superb portrayal of Winchell’s psychological cruelty did for Winchell what Winchell had done for so many celebrities and “Commies.” It destroyed him.
  18. John Rait, The Pajama Game, 1956.  The way other folk buy tickets, head brother Jack Warner bought Broadway’s hottest new musicals, The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. And offered to fly in the New York casts – but one top role had to be a genuwhine  movie star.  Like Sinatra  for Game, opposite’s Paige – Broadway’s Babe. Frank passed, letting in the stage star, John Raitt (he’d had a bit in Ship Ahoy, 1942, with Sinatra), thereby dropping Paige to make room for Doris.  Raitt was wrong. POh h looked good, sang good but acted as  wooden as a plank.  No wonder producer George Abbott had wanted Brando…  Hey, didn’t they all.  
  19. Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones, 1957.      Two convicts on the run…  chained together.  “Just isn’t true,” complained Robert  Mitchum.  “I was on a chain gang in Georgia.  I know what it’s like – black and white are never chained together.”  Brando liked the integration message, he never liked how Stanley Kramer had produced their film, The Wild One.  Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Frank Sinatra all refused to co-star with Poitier.  So much for liberal Hollywood.   Billy Wilder explained them this way: Brando wanted to play the black convict, Mitchum would refuse to film “with a nigger” and Kirk Douglas wanted both roles…
  20. Dean Martin, Rio Bravo, 1958.

  21. Jack Lemmon, Some Like It Hot, 1958.       Billy Wilder pitched his perfect comedy – Sinatra and Tony Curtis as two jazzmen on the lam from The Mob  in a girls’ band.  The Voice loved it.  To talk some more, Billy made a lunch date. Sinatra never showed. More hurt than annoyed, Wilder later admitted he was better off without him. “He would have run off after the first take – ‘gotta see a chick’.”  Besides  Sinatra and Curtis has just finished  Kings Go Forth – so the first shots of them in drag were bound to be headlined: Queens Go Forth. Soon as Wilder won Marilyn, he could have Lemmon or Chetah for Jerry, the jazzman becoming Daphne in an all girls’ band to escape The Mob.  This was the first of seven Wilder-Lemmon gems during 1958-1981.  Sinatra was later keen on a re-make –  co-starrting Madonna. 
  22. Bing Crosby, Say One For Me, 1958.     Crosby suggested Francis Albert for Father Conroy – opposite Debbie Reynolds as his daughter. The Voice passed and Der Bingle finally agreed to don the cassock. Again. For the third and last time as a New York City priest – after Going My Way, 1943, and The Bills of St. Mary’s, 1945. Sinatra and Reynolds had been snared by The Tender Trap in 1955.
  23. Robert Wagner, Say One For Me, 1958.   Once Crosby put the clerical back on, he suggested Sinatra stay aboard – as the questionbable club owner involved with sweet Debbie Rebnolds. Cue the songs…
  24. Paul Newman,  Rally ’Round The Flag, Boys! 1958.       When the hero was still  Italian-American, producer Buddy Adler tried to interest Sinatra into the one Leo McCarey comic fest that simply… festered. Newman made the gigantic mistake of trying to (over)act funny instead of playing it straight as per Jack Lemmon. Embarrassing!
  25. Cary Grant, North by Northwest, 1958.  MGM suggested Dean Martin ot Frank Sinatra. (Ain’t that a kick in the head!). Imagine either one trying to run from the crop-duster plane (a copy, by the way, of John Wayne’s fate with another bi-plane on country  road in  the first of a dozen chapters for the 1931 Mascot serial, The Shadow of the Eagle). Hitch also  rejected William Holden and “stone-faced” Gregory Peck and ran to the cover  of his favourite leading man – for what some 007 analysts hail as the first James Bond film.  Oh, no, no, c’mon guys, that was another Hitch – Notorious, 1945. 
  26. Laurence Harvey, The Alamo, 1959.       Sinatra was far more keen on this Western – John Wayne’s crusade. His dream project, since the 40s. He would direct and play, maybe, just a short rôle. Sam Houston, maybe. (It was Davy Crockett). But not for a dozen years… on September 9, 1959.   Duke was surprised when Sinatra was interested in playing the chilly, driven William Barret Travis.   “Frank came over, he talked to me about the Travis part, he knew Travis as well as I do.” But his old blue eyes were booked for the following 12 months… They remained close until Duke’s death “I don’t know why,” admitted Mrs Barbra Sinatra,  “because they were completely different in almost everything.
  27. Steve Forrest, Flaming Star, 1960.  Bitter foes Brando and Sinatra as half-brothers..!!  That was the pitch back when the Western was called Or Flaming Lance, Flaming Heart, The Brothers of Broken Lance, Black Star, Black Heart, yada, yada, and Nunnally Johnson was directing.   Michael Curtiz took over when  the bros became  Elvis Presley and Steve Forrest.
  28. Glenn Ford, Pocketful of Miracles, 1960.   After making A Hole in the Head together, Sinatra offered Frank Capra the first Clan movie – Jimmy Durante’s story played out by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crobsy. “Even-steven four-way split – you, me, Dean and Bing – on everything. We’ll murder the people.” Except each superstar had a corporation now and that murdered the deal. Same fete met  Capra offering Miracles to Ole Blue Eyes, Dino, Kirk Douglas, Jackie Gleason or Dean Mzrtin to be Dave The Dude. . They passed “faster than Pancho Gonzales’ first serve” and Capra settled for Ford – biggest mistake of Capra’s 67 years. Indeed, a terminal error.  He never made another movie.
  29. George Grizzard,  Advise & Consent, 1961.   Having triumphed  together with The Man With The Golden Arm, six years and seven movies before, Sinatra  thought it would be easy to persuade producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger to let him play the repugnant  Senator Fred Van Akerman. It was not.  Otto (“Vot you mean ogre?”) wanted an unknown in the part.  But he did have The Voice’s voice singing a song on a juke box in Hollywood’s first gay bar scene. I treasure the film – it introduced me to the circus that is US (indeed, global) politics. 
  30. Stephen Boyd, Billy Rose’s Jumbo, 1962.  If at first you don’t succeed…  MGM’s  first cast in 1943:  Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland.  In 1947 : Frank Sinatra-Judy Garland  – or Gene Kelly-Kathryn Grayson.  1949:  Frank Sinatra-Esther Williams. 1952:  Donald O’Connor-Debbie Reynolds. 1962: Dean Martin-Doris Day. Finally: Stephen Boyd was Day’s (weak) partner in her last musical.  And after all that, it flopped.
  31. Gregory Peck, How The West Was Won, 1962.   Peck replaced him at extremely short notice in the giant Cinerama epic.
  32. Robert Preston, The Music Man, 1962.   Jack Warner begged… but Cary Grant felt only the Broadway show’s star should do it. “Not only will I not star in it, but if Robert Preston doesn’t star in it, I will not see it,” he said – and used a similar line about Rex Harrison when Warner offered him  My Fair Lady, in  1963.” Also refusing to steal Preston’s  thunder:  Milton Berle, Ray Bolger, Art Carney, Dan Dailey, Danny Kaye, Phil Harris, Gene Kelly, even Sinatra.

  33. Michel Piccoli, Le Mepris/Contempt, France-Italy 1963.      
    French New Wave god Jean-Luc Godardwanted Sinatra as “the character from Marienbad who wants to be a character in Rio Bravo...”  The saloon singer loathed locations – too many people watching and nature interfering with his one-take coda. The role  was also aimed at Marcello Mastroianni (with Sophia Loren, as per usual) and Raf Vallone (with  Monica Vitti.  Piccoli  (sporting a Sinatraesque hat) had first worked with the the fledgling BB eight years earlier in René Clair’s Les Grandes Manoeuvres, 1955. “She’s a  loyal girl,” agreed  Godard.  “Without her OK,  the film would never have happened.  She was extraordinaire.”  Hence, Le mépris remains  her most frequently seen movie on French TV. Martin Scorsese still loves it. It has grown increasingly, almost unbearably, moving to me,” he told Criterion.This was the second time, a Sinatra-Bardot pairing was planed.  Paris producer Raoul Levy had tried get  them in Paris By Night 

  34. Robert Mitchum, What A Way To Go!, 1963.    A certain Louisa May Foster takes her shrink through her five late husbands – every one a laugh. (If only). Prepared for Marilyn Monroe before her tragic death, I Love Louisa was given to Elizabeth Taylor with Marilyn’s Marlon Brando. Or Richard Burton (of course), Tony Curtis, Brad Dexter, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, Rock Hudson, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, Marcello Mastroianni, David Niven. Even Brad Dexter, the Magnificent Seventh that everyone forgets. Finally, Shirley MacLaine wed Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke… but not Frank Sinatra who wanted   $500,000 or no show.  Oh and Dean Martin as a department store mogul called Lennie Crawley, no less. This is where I usually say: And you can never go wrong with a Crawley. Not this (terrible) time!  Steve McQueen and Charlton Heston were up for Hubby #2, Paul Newman’s  American in Paris artist. Sounded like a reprise for Gene Kelly. Except he was Hubby #4, described as a song and dance man about to break into Hollywood – what at age 51! Yes, the movie was that bad.  “An abomination,” said The New Leader critic John Simon.
  35. George Peppard, The Third Day, 1964.  Ole Bue Eyes had second thoughts on being accused of murdering his wife – when he suffered memory loss from a car smash. This was Amnesia Year… Gregory Peck and Robert Webber also played such victims in Mirage and Hysteria.
  36. Dean Martin, Kiss Me Stupid, 1964.     Billy Wilder called again… to co-star with Marilyn Monroe.  Presumably, Sinatra’s horny singer would have been called Frankie, not Dino.
  37. Tony Curtis, Goodbye Charlie, 1964.      Sinatra-Marilyn became Curtis-Debbie Reynolds. Hardly the same pizzazz.
  38. George Segal, King Rat, 1964.  Blacklisted Hollywood writer Carl Foreman (High Noon) decided to film James Cavell’s tough book about his three years as a WWII prisoner of the Japanese. With the finest UK actors:  new guys Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, veterans Trevor Howard, John Mills.  He then felt he had no more to say about war after The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone and The Victors. UK writer-director Bryan Forbes made it his Hollywood debut, bravely side-stepping Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra for the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf find, George Segal – as the titular wheeler-dealer-fixer-conniver who all but ends up running the jungle camp.
  39. Paul Newman, Harper, 1965.  From Ross MacDonald’s The Moving Target, the first of his tales of  private dick Lew Archer – switched to Harper because, believe it or not, Newman favoured H-titles: due to the succesas of The Hustler, Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man, Hud, Hombre… Both Newman and Sinatra went on to refuse Dirty Harry (for different reasons) but Old Blue Eyes went the shamus route in The Detective and two Tony Rome movies
  40. Barry Sullivan, Poppies Are Also Flowers (aka The Poppy is Also a Flower), TV, 1965.  Werner was originally in the international-star-packed TV drama specia, (financed by the United Nations and the Xerox Corporation) about the UN work in curbing  the global flow of illegal opium.  Director Terence Young writer Ian Fleming  (the 007 creator , who died before completing his script) worked for free while all of the  international star line-up  got (from Marcello Mastroianni  and  Angie Dickinson to Rita Hayworth  and Harold Sakata (aka Oddjob), plus narrator Grace Kelly – her first film work since becoming Princess Grace of Monaco in 1956)   were paid  a symbolic  $1 each. Sinatra had been up for Chasen.

  41. Jason Robards, Any Wednesday, 1966.     Warners made the classic mistake, according to Sinatra pal, actor and future producer Brad Dexter: buying a five cent Broadway play for $750,000.“They needed a big name and Frank went almost to the point of doing it.But no matter what you did to the play, it would end up being a bad picture – and Frank would wind up taking the rap for it.”
  42. Terence Cooper, Casino Royale1967.
  43. Walter Matthau, The Secret Life Of An American Wife, 1968.     Frank loved George Axelrod’s script. “Actually,” said Axelrod, “he would’ve been wrong because like so much of my stuff, it inches on the border line of vulgarity and bad taste. Perfect with a slob like Walter playing the greatest sex symbol…!”
  44. Omar Sharif, Funny Girl, 1968.The Jewish Barbra Streisand preferred an Arab screen lover (on and off-screen) to Cary Grant. And the others short-listed for her gambling man Nick Arnstein:  Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra.  Plus a trio of  TV stars, Robert Culp, James Garner, David Janssen, that she would have chewed up and spat out. She was fiercely anti-Sinatra. She respected his talent, not his nature.    Asked whether she’d been difficult to work with, director William Wyler said:  “No, not too hard, considering it was the first movie she ever directed”!
  45. Groucho Marx, Skidoo, 1968. “It takes two to Skidoo,” said the poster for the bowel-movements of producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger dropping acid and shooting a “writing sample” rather than a script about the generation he had no idea about  – that of his son, Erik Lee Preminger.  Otto then disgustingly berated 78-year-old Groucho after choosing him to play God (in his painted moustache). Presumably, Groucho needed the money.  Alfred Hitchcock (!), Zero Mostel, Anthony Quinn, Frank Sinatra, Rod Steiger did not. Nor the former US  Senate Minority Leader from  Pekin, Illinois, Senator Everett Dirksen.
  46. Yves Montand, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1970.       Ole Blue Eyes had little intserst in a co-star who had told William Wyler how to direct Funny Girl. Richard Harris also quit because of her. Barbra Streisand.
  47. Warren Beatty, The Only Game In Town, 1970.     George Stevens’ A Place In The Sun is the film that made the teenage Henry Warren Beaty try acting. So when Stevens called him at the 1968 Democratic Convention to succeed Sinatra in a 9,000-ton soufflé (with the same Liz Taylor!), Beattyreadily agreed. He even refused The Sundance Kid to do so. “I always thoughtit was probably one of the most sensible decisions I had made because I got the chance to work with George.” Then, showing hisspin-doctor side, he added: “Ultimately, itwas more rewarding to me to have made a sort of an unsuccessful picture with him.”Of course it was. 

  48. Topol, Fiddler on the Roof, 1970.     
    When word got out that  that producer Walter Mirisch and director Norman Jewison didn’t want   Broadway’s  Zero Mostel – “too big for film!” – Danny Kaye expressed great interest in  becoming Tevye. So did such possibles as Herschel Bernardi (once blacklisted like Mostel and his  successor in the Broadway show),  Walter Matthau, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Danny Thomas. Plus such downright impossibles as Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Orson Welles (no roof was strong enough) and… and   Frank Sinatra… If I Were A Rich Man Dooby Dooby Doo!  None got to first base once Chaim Topol ended  his run of the West End  production; he’d  lost the Broadway role when called up for Israeli army duty during  and after the Six Day War. He was replaced by the excessively larger-than-life Mostel who remained  bitter .about losing the film.  So did his son. When offered the Delta House series in 1979, Josh Mostel rasped: ”Tell them to ask Topol’s son if he wants the job!”

  49. Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, 1971.
  50. Marlon Brando, The Godfather, 1971.
  51. Burt Reynolds, Shamus, 1973.      Barry Beckerman’s  script was on Old Blue Eyes’  drawing board sin de 1967. But, hey, he’d been playing too many dicks and cops lately. Well, they tended to wewa his kind of hats…   Tony Rome (twice) (once was enough!), The Detective and he’d agreed to investigate Contract on Cherry Street  on TV and make The First Deadly Sin. (He’d also refused Dirty Harry for  much the same reason). Burt took over what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called an uneasy mixture of 70s violence, 50s sex and 30s private-eyes. The bigger crime was the way it  pinched a few Humphrey Bogart/Philip Marlowe scenes from The Big Sleep, 1944.
  52. Charles Bronson, Death Wish, 1973.     Just couldn’t handle guns anymore… Like Steve McQueen, Ole Blue Eyes rejected both Dirty Harry Callahan, 1971, and the New York architect turned vigilante Paul Kersey… in what Paramount aimed to re-title, The Sidewalk Vigilante as thepublic hates Death in titles. You know, like in Death Wish 2, 3, 4, 5. Oh, and the 2009 re-make!
  53. Richard Kiley, The Little Prince, 1974.     Paramount chief Robert Evans made what he saw as a perfect deal in 1972: $200,000 plus a cut. “Frank could work for free on what he’d make from the music alone. He was ready to come out of retirement – but Stanley Donen wouldn’t work with him.”
  54. Art Carney, Harry and Tonto, 1974.     Paul Mazursky wrote it for Jimmy Cagney to be the widower of 72, on an odyssey across the US after being evicted with his cat, Tonto. Also refusing:Frank, Cary Grant, Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier.Carney got the job – and I was covering the Academy Awards  when he  picked  up his Oscar in LA on April 8, 1975.
  55. Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
  56. John Huston, Winter Kills, 1978.   Even after his famous falling out with the JFK clan, Sinatra was not interested in playing, basically, old man man  Joe Kennedy, in this (to cite Churchill) mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma…. Besides, Sinatra had made his own presidential assassination  movie, Suddenly,  and lost his shirt on in when removing it from  distribution after Dallas 1963.   The book’s author Richard Condon thought it was more about The Voice not wanting to be seen  as an old fogey – powerful or not.

  57. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982.  
    First choice for the Boston personal-injury laywer was Frank Sinatra.  Next : Redford, who got two directors fired (Arthur Hiller, James Bridges) to get pal Sydney Pollack aboard. When a fourth, Sidney Lumet, took over, he called the ambulance-chaser a kicking-the-dog character (difficult for the public to like), but Redford, said Lumet, wanted to be  petting-the-dog“a crusader on a white horse.  Lumet stuck to David Mamet’s script, so Redford walked – he did not wish to be an alcohollc. That affliction didn’t bother Cary Grant, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Roy Scheider or Jon Voight.. Enter: Newman “face down in a urinal,” he said. (Not exactly true). “The guy’s an open wound.  And that was refreshing, to let the blemishes, the indecision – the wreckage – show through.” Watching it in 2019  for the 100th time, George Clooney said:  “That is a proper big-time, world-class movie star saying to the world: ‘I’m a character actor now. He busted his ass. And you couldn’t make that film now. Not like that.” The public didn’t want to see Newman kicking any dogs. Anyway, he far too handsome to be a loser –  except on Oscar-night when Ben Kingsley won for Gandhi. Redford retired at 79. after completing The Old Man & the Gun.   “Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive? And then just focus on directing.”  The Verdict  was shot in New York like 25 of  Lumnet’s 31 films – more than Woody or Marty. PS: Incensed by Newman’s Own pasta sauce, Sinatra hit back with his brand – Artanis; Sinatra backwards.  It disappeared within 18 months, allowing Newman to joke that he had runn Sinatra out of rhe spaghetti sauce business.

  58. Jerry Lewis, The King Of Comedy, 1982.Who’s better than Johnny Carson as a talk-show host?Sinatra’s proud boast- “one take is enoughfor me”-had MartinScorsese exclaiming:“My God, he’d be the best.” After he completed shooting, Lewis was pronounced clinically dead for 17 seconds from a massive heart attack in December 1982… and survived.
  59. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982.    First choice for the Boston personal-injury laywer was Sinatra.  Next: Robert Redford, who got two directors fired (Arthur Hiller, James Bridges) to get pal Sydney Pollack aboard. When a fourth, Sidney Lumet, took over, he called the ambulance-chaser a kicking-the-dog character (difficult for the public to like), but Redford, said Lumet, wanted to be petting-the-dog. Enter: Newman “face down in a urinal.” (Not entirely true). “The guy’s an open wound.  And that was refreshing, to let the blemishes, the indecision – the wreckage – show through” The public didn’t want to see Newman kicking dogs. Anyway, he remained far too handsome to be a loser –  except on Oscar-night when Ben Kingsley won “Newman’s Oscar”for Gandhi. PS: Incensed by Newman’s Own pasta sauce, Sinatra hit back with his brand – Artanis; Sinatra backwards.  It disappeared within 18 months, allowing Newman to joke that he had runn Sinatra out of rhe spaghetti sauce business.