Frank Sinatra, Ol’ Blue Eyes, is quite rightly seen as one of the most influential artists of the last fifty years. Aside from recording some of the biggest hits of his generation, the silky smooth crooner was tied in with the leading singers of his day (Joey Bishop, Dean Martin and Sammy Davies Jr.) and between them they shaped modern culture. Thanks to their appearances on stage and the silver screen in films such as Ocean’s Eleven (which was later remade starring George Clooney), Sinatra and the Rat Pack became household names across the world.
Today, the sound of Sinatra may have faded since his death in 1998 but his legend lives on, not least in Las Vegas. Known as his spiritual home (as opposed to his real birthplace of New Jersey) during the peak of his career, Sinatra almost singlehandedly turned the desert gambling hub from a fledging resort into a booming industry. The man who dressed as sharp as the high notes he hit on stage brought a sense of style and glamour the likes of which had never been seen in the Nevada desert.
Scorsese to Gamble on Vegas Past
Although the growth of Vegas isn’t solely down to Sinatra and his artistic friends, the facade of suave sophistication he gave the city is undeniable and that’s something movie director Martin Scorsese will be keen to capture in his latest biopic. More than two years in the making, Scorsese has been working and reworking Sinatra and with a release date tentatively scheduled for 2016, audiences are now asking what we can expect to see from the finished product.
Of course, Scorsese is well known for his love of music and gambling as evidenced by his previous cinematic offerings such as box office hit Casino. Capturing the glamour of Vegas as well as its underbelly of violence, Casino is now considered a classic and if Scorsese can use that film as a model for his biography of Sinatra then it should have all the makings of a hit.
Why? For some reason, movie-goers seem drawn to images of Vegas in the Fifties and Sixties. The bright lights, imposing cars and dapper outfits made it “the” place to be seen for the rich and famous. On any given night the likes of Elvis Presley and Sinatra would be rubbing shoulders with the top sportsmen and business tycoons of the day. That’s an image people love, especially when contrasted with modern Las Vegas.
Classic Images Beat Modern Trends for Audiences
As gambling habits have changed and technology has evolved, so too has Sin City. Instead of players ante-up to play blackjack, roulette or poker on the casino floor, they now seem more content playing poker on their iPhones or computers. This movement towards online gambling and away from live betting has forced Vegas to become more of an all-round entertainment resort than it once was. While it’s still possible to play casino games and catch the latest singing sensation on the strip, there’s now more of the theme park feel to the place.
Compare this to the air of elegance and glamour present when Sinatra cruised down the Strip and it’s easy to see why people love films that capture the early days of Las Vegas. The relationship between Vegas and Sinatra is one that almost defines both. Scorsese will no doubt be keen to exploit this during the film. In fact, the legendary director may even decide to take some inspiration from a recent casino-based project starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro (maybe he’ll even shoot it in 3D).
Reported to cost $70 million, the short film was designed to show off a major casino in the Las Vegas of the East, Macau. Although the cost of the project has been disputed, Scorsese has done a fantastic job with the styling of the mini-movie and there’s no doubt he’s a master at capturing the glitz of the casino genre. This ability to make the world of odds and money appeal to viewers of all persuasions, whether they’re fans of gambling or not, is something Scorsese is a master at and the reason why Sinatra will be a hit when it’s finally released.
While there will likely be a lot more to the film than his time in Vegas, Sinatra will undoubtedly have the same appeal as classics such as Casino and for that we should all be thankful.