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By Mahnuel Muñoz

The movie “Robin and the 7 hoods,” starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bing Crosby, is released in 1964.

The film is directed by Gordon Douglas, a veteran who had shouted “Action!” for Frank in “Young At Heart” (1954) and will do so again in the trilogy “Tony Rome“-“The Detective“-“Lady In Cement” (1967-1968). The film’s cast also includes Peter Falk (the unmistakable “Colombo”) and Edward G. Robinson, a classic figure of gangster cinema in the 1930s and 1940s.

It’s an old-school musical comedy, kindly set in the world of the mafia, in Technicolor blowout, with lush songs written by the Cahn-Van Heusen tandem and unforgettable numbers starring artists who are back from everything and intend, above all else, to have fun.

This dazzling spectacle conceals a darker reality. As he sings “My Kind Of Town” at the top of his heart, Sinatra faces terrible events that will leave incurable wounds in his soul. When they are shooting a scene in the movie, news arrives of President Kennedy‘s assassination. Although Sinatra’s relationship with the Kennedys had become much clouded, he had a great affection for JFK. After finishing filming for the film, Frank returns to his home in Palm Springs and is locked up for 3 days, so he has to cancel a Martin Luther King tribute concert in Santa Monica, along with his son Frank Jr. and the Count Basie Orchestra.

A few weeks later, with no time to recover, he is confronted with the kidnapping of Frank Jr., an event that lays bare the human vulnerability of the most powerful man in show business.

Culturally, new winds also blow on those days. Winds that will permanently affect, for better and for worse, the singer’s career. But that’s a topic we’ll cover in another post.

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