Contract on Cherry Street

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VHS cover

Contract on Cherry Street is a film version of a novel written by Phillip Rosenberg about a New York police detective, adapted for television in 1977 by Frank Sinatra's production company Artanis and starring Sinatra.

Directed by William A. Goldwyn and produced by Hugh Benson, Renee Valente and Sinatra, Contract on Cherry Street was trumpeted as a major event that garnered positive reviews and strong ratings when it premiered on NBC on November 19, 1977.

The role of Detective Inspector Frank Hovannes was Sinatra's first acting role in seven years and was shot on location in New York City and New Jersey over a period of three months. The book on which the film was based was said to be a favourite of Sinatra's mother Dolly, who had been recently killed in an airplane crash in Las Vegas.


When his partner is gunned down, Frank Hovannes, a detective inspector with the New York police department, wants to lead his organized-crime unit against the mob. Legal and departmental restrictions inhibit him, so Hovannes decides to take the matter into his own hands.

A vigilante act, a contract hit against one of the crime syndicate's members, is designed to stir the mob into action so that Hovannes and his men can catch them in the act. He runs into strong objections from his superiors in the police force along the way.


Critical reception[edit]

Sinatra made the cover of TV Guide as press for a special that would air over two consecutive nights on NBC gathered steam. After airing, renowned critic Leonard Maltin would comment: "Sinatra's first TV movie has him well cast as a NYC police officer who takes on organized crime in his own fashion after his partner is gunned down. Aces to this fine thriller." Judith Crist, however, would question why Sinatra was starring in a "mealy-mouthed morality tale," although most reviews were positive.

Contract on Cherry Street was nominated for Best TV Feature/Miniseries at the 1978 Edgar Awards.

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