>> 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).