21 June 2015 | malmborgimplano-92-599820
Capaldiwatching Strictly Sinatra
Capaldi has said that this film didn't come out so well because he wanted it to be one thing and the producers wanted it to be another. Of course I can't know what went on there but I'm going to guess.
I'm guessing this was meant originally to be a direct follow-up to the BAFTA-winning 1993 "Soft Top, Hard Shoulder," which was written by and starred Capaldi but rather limply directed by someone else (should have been Capaldi IMO.) STHS is about an aspiring artist from Glasgow who's struggling to make it in London but dreads the thought of going home, and "Strictly Sinatra" shows why he felt that way. The protagonist of SS is a below professional grade Frank Sinatra impersonator whose fantasies of actually being Sinatra lead him to seek help from some neighborhood wise guys who are themselves living in a dream world of retro Italian-American gangster glamor. (Capaldi's Glasgow, it seems, wasn't that different from New Jersey.) The protagonist, Tony Cocozza (note how it and Gavin Bellini, the protagonist's name from STHS, scan the same as Peter Capaldi) has remarkably long wild curly hair for a Sinatra impersonator (shades of Capaldi again), and his love interest Irene is remarkably like Yvonne, Elaine Collins' character from STHS, so we can guess who those roles were originally written for.
The lighter, quirkier STHS style sequences work much better than the serious American-style gangster action ones so I'm guessing the first approach was Capaldi's original intention and the second was the one he compromised with. The film does look great. The sequence in which Tony's first triumphant ride in a Mafia staff car turns into a weirdly frightening siege is very stylish indeed.