The First Deadly Sin (1980)

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The First Deadly Sin (1980) Poster

A police inspector, nearing retirement, tracks a serial killer who is terrorizing New York.


5.8/10
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  • Frank Sinatra and James Whitmore in The First Deadly Sin (1980)
  • Frank Sinatra in The First Deadly Sin (1980)
  • Frank Sinatra and James Whitmore in The First Deadly Sin (1980)
  • Frank Sinatra and Faye Dunaway in The First Deadly Sin (1980)
  • Frank Sinatra and Martin Gabel in The First Deadly Sin (1980)
  • The First Deadly Sin (1980)

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16 September 2007 | bkoganbing
5
| Good, but Deadly Intentions
I saw someone else's user comments on this film and I can't believe that there were going to be series of films based on Frank Sinatra's character mainly because of the ending this film had. If you're thinking that gives the ending away, don't look for an obvious conclusion.

To his credit, I guess Frank Sinatra did not want to end his film career with Dirty Dingus Magee. He wanted to end his film with the serious part, unfortunately The First Deadly Sin messes up the telling of a potentially good tale.

Frank Sinatra is days away from his retirement as a Detective Sergeant and a strange murder has been assigned to him. A man apparently selected at random is killed with an unidentified weapon that is just driven into the top of his skull. A little good detective work and he finds their just might be a pattern of killings.

It's all in identifying the weapon and it's an unusual one at that which I won't reveal. A professor in medieval history played by Martin Gabel helps with the hunt and later on he's joined by the widow of Sinatra's victim, Brenda Vaccaro to help with the hunt.

They're helping because Sinatra's new captain is one total jerk played by Anthony Zerbe. Maybe I'm missing something in Zerbe's performance, but I would think that an ambitious guy like Zerbe plays would instead of pooh-poohing Sinatra's ideas would think that this guy if he is on to something with this serial killer business. And if he's right Zerbe will get all kinds of accolades for figuring this out in his precinct and even more if the doer is apprehended. It's an absolutely impossible role and poor Anthony Zerbe can't do much with it.

All this while Frank's wife Faye Dunaway falls ill to a misdiagnosed kidney malady. She spends all her time in the hospital and Sinatra visits her at breaks in this case.

Frank delivers a very good performance in a role similar to the one he had in The Detective. He's supported by the rest of the cast very well, except with Anthony Zerbe's impossible role. Besides who I've mentioned look for a really nice turn by Joe Spinell as the mendacious doorman where suspect David Dukes lives. His role is similarly undefined, we really never learn why he's doing these crimes.

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