6 June 2004 | bkoganbing
To Have and Have Not Meets The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.
Frank Sinatra just got tired of challenges in his movie parts during the mid sixties and this film is the perfect example of same. Sinatra is doing a pale imitation of Humphrey Bogart's character in To Have And Have Not and he's even got a drunken companion in Errol John, just like Bogey had Walter Brennan. In walks Lauren Bacall in the form of Virna Lisi into Sinatra's life. Only problem is she's already spoken for by Tony Franciosa.
Tony, Virna, and former U-Boat captain Alf Kjellin are hunting for sunken treasure and hire Sinatra as a diver. When he spots a sunken U-Boat the plans change. Oh, boy we're going to become pirates instead and we're going to rob the Queen Mary. Along the way the gang picks up Richard Conte who became a Sinatra hanger-on in the last years of his career. He's a mechanic who fixes up the boat, barely.
Well these geniuses with thousands of miles of open sea to do their crime, decide to rob the Queen in U.S. waters where the Coast Guard is operating. What happens to this bunch and their budding careers as pirates is the rest of the movie.
Sinatra just sails through this part on his hipster reputation and Virna Lisi is decorative. The acting honors go to Tony Franciosa who actually tries to do some serious acting in his part as charming sleazeball Victor Rossiter.
The script is by Rod Serling who should have stuck to the surreal world of The Twilight Zone. And Duke Ellington contributed an original jazz score. Around that time Sinatra and Ellington did an album together called Francis A. meets Edward K. Now that was good collaboration.
Old Blue Eyes should have stuck to the charter boat and diving in this film.