Review: Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

>> Wednesday, February 21, 2007

USA/C-123m./Dir: Gordon Douglas/Wr: David R. Schwartz/Cast: Frank Sinatra (Robbo), Dean Martin (Little John), Sammy Davis Jr. (Will), Bing Crosby (Allen A. Dale), Peter Falk (Guy Gisborne), Barbara Rush (Marian Stevens), Victor Buono (Deputy Sheriff Potts)

No list of liquor-laced cinema would be complete without the inclusion of the Rat Pack. However most of the flicks that Frank and the boys churned out as a team lack the fizz and swagger of their historic nightclub act. Apart from Dino’s unforgettable rendition of “Ain’t Love a Kick in the Head,” Ocean’s Eleven (1960) is a bit of a snooze, and the warmed-over Gunga Din remake Sergeant’s 3 (1962) is best forgotten altogether. That leaves Robin and the 7 Hoods, which is easily the giddiest of the Rat Pack’s efforts on screen. More importantly, it’s the tipsiest.

This gangsterfied version of Robin Hood, set in 1920’s Chicago, concerns Robbo’s (Frank Sinatra) efforts to wrench control of the liquor and gambling trade from rival mobster Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk). Robbo’s gang of merry men, Little John (Dean Martin), Will (Sammy Davis Jr.), and Allen A. Dale (Bing Crosby), all get the opportunity to croon between sips of bootleg hooch, but the highlight of the film is when they join together to sing of the evils of drink with the rousing temperance number, “Mr. Booze.”

Overall, this is a light, frothy cocktail that goes down pleasantly. However, it doesn’t pack the punch one would expect based upon the ingredients that went into it.

Drinks Consumed--Champagne, whisky, cointreau, and brandy

Intoxicating Effects--None. The Pack hold their liquor with class.

Potent Quotables--JOHN: (Upon finding the smashed remains of the speakeasy) A hundred thousand hangovers down the drain.

Video Availability--Robin and the 7 Hoods is available as a solo DVD or as part of The Rat Pack Ultimate Collectors Edition (Warner Brothers).

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Frank and Dean put away the booze like pros in their first film together, Some Came Running (1958).


dino martin peters February 21, 2007 at 9:29 AM  

Hey pallie Gary, man like what a great blog and great post. Thanks for featurin' the Rat Pack....and for the great Dinoquote. Never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool. Oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth!!!!

garv February 21, 2007 at 11:29 AM  


Welcome to Booze Movies. You can count me amongst the legions of Dean Martin fanatics. He's my favorite crooner and one of the most underrated comics to ever grace the stage and screen.

I'll eventually get to Dean's best performance as Dude, the deputy who tries to cure his alcoholism by drinking beer, in RIO BRAVO. A couple of the Matt Helm films may also have enough alcohol content to make the list.

I think Dean was at his best when he was allowed to ad lib, so on the whole, television served him better than the movies. Some of his off-the-cuff remarks on The Colgate Comedy Hour and The Dean Martin Show are absolutely inspired.

Keep preaching the good word of Dino, pallie.

dino martin peters February 21, 2007 at 5:48 PM  

Hey pallie Garv, man you speak the total Dinotruth. Seems to this Dinoholic that our Dino was underrated in every area of his stellar performance life while he walked the earth. In his music, in his comedy, in his acting, he did it all so effortlessly that so many dudes just didn't recogize his true brillance as an entertainer. After readin' the cool blog 'bout "Hoods" I was doin' some Dinothinkin' that it would be like so cool if you did a feature on the Matt Helm capers, especially my fav of favs, "Murder's Row." And man doin' a feature on the Dude will be like a total Dinomust. BTW pallie, since Dino is your main man, you just might want to check out my Dinoblog, and if you would ever be interested in sharin' some Dinoconversation at the yahoo Dinogroup that I mod, just let me know. Dino's the man and we are his fans!!!!!

stennie February 21, 2007 at 5:52 PM  

Gee whiz, I haven't thought of Robin & the Seven Hoods for years -- fun movie. Highlights for me are Sammy's number, and "My Kind of Town."

Speaking of Dino, any chance we'll see Rio Bravo featured here any time soon? Can we make requests, by the way, because I'd love to read your take on My Favorite Year.

garv February 21, 2007 at 9:06 PM  

I seen RIO BRAVO and MY FAVORITE YEAR numerous times, and they are definitely on my list of films to re-watch soon for review purposes.

By the way, Dino and Stennie, thanks for the feedback. It's nice to know that people outside my immediate circle of friends are actually reading these reviews.


dino martin peters February 22, 2007 at 8:01 AM  

Hey pallie Garv, you are like most welcome. Always glad to find others who know and love the King of Cool. Will be eager to see more Dino featured at Booze Movies. May all our Days be Dinodays!!!

Anonymous February 22, 2007 at 12:28 PM  

Haha, good call, Garv. This wasn't the greatest classic in the history of classics or anything, but it was still pretty damned fun. Worth a watch, anyway.

A while ago I read an article about Dean Martin that said he wasn't a heavy drinker at all, and it was all part of his bit. It also said he smoked four packs a day, though. Holy shit did people smoke a lot back then. The most I've ever managed was two, and I felt like I was gonna die.

dino martin peters February 23, 2007 at 8:19 AM  

Hey Caio pallie, like wow, our Dino was a 4 pack a day man....but like if you notice in the Dinoshow, the smokin' thing was part of the whole Dinopersona, and often Dino just held his smoke, not takin' puffs all the time...just for that cool Dinoeffect. BTW, on the matter of Dino's boozin', it seems like the older Dino got the more he lapped up the sauce. Dino's the man, and we are his fans!!!!!!!!

garv February 23, 2007 at 9:45 PM  

Of course, onstage the rocks glass always contained apple juice. Offstage, Dean drank, but until later years, he was mainly a cocktail sipper. He might enjoy a single glass of Scotch over the course of an entire evening.

Strangely, during the four years that I was in a band, I found the opposite to be true. I tended to drink more onstage than I did off.

edP February 24, 2007 at 12:45 PM  

That's because our motto was "Alcoholism is an occupational hazzard."

dino martin peters February 24, 2007 at 2:03 PM  

Hey pallie Garv, dude like our man Dino sang, "When you're drinkin', when you're drinkin', the world looks good to you...." Perhaps like you just needed a little attitude adjustment for your gigs. BTW, Dino's choice of scotch was J&B. Walkin' the Dinoway, livin' the Dinolife!!!

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

All text including the title "Booze Movies: The 100 Proof Film Guide" Copyright William T. Garver

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