Robin and the 7 Hoods

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Robin and the 7 Hoods
Robin and the 7 Hoods Poster.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Produced by Frank Sinatra
Screenplay by David R. Schwartz
Starring
Music by Nelson Riddle
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • June 24, 1964 (1964-06-24) (USA)
Running time 123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office est. $4,200,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Robin and the 7 Hoods is a 1964 American musical film directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bing Crosby. The picture features Peter Falk, Barbara Rush, and Edward G. Robinson in an un-credited cameo. Written by David R. Schwartz, the film transplants the Robin Hood legend to a 1930s Chicago gangster setting. Produced by Frank Sinatra, the film introduced the hit song "My Kind of Town" by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and achieved a career of its own independent of the film.

Plot[edit]

"Big" Jim Stevens, undisputed boss of the Chicago underworld, gets an unexpected birthday present from his ambitious lieutenant, Guy Gisborne. Instead of a stripper popping out of the cake, Big Jim gets shot by all the guests. With the mob boss out of the way, Gisborne takes over. He orders all the other gangsters in town to pay him protection money, but declares it's still "All for One." The news does not sit well with Big Jim's friend and fellow gangster, Robbo, and a gangland war breaks out.

Robbo recruits pool hustler Little John, who demonstrates his pool skills while singing "A Man Who Loves His Mother," plus quick-draw artist Will and a few other hoods, but they are still greatly outnumbered. In addition, the corrupt Sheriff Octavius Glick is on Gisborne's payroll. Gisborne and Robbo come up with the same idea, to destroy the other's gambling joint on the same night, with Will enjoying every moment (singing "Bang! Bang!").

Big Jim's refined, well-educated daughter, Marian, shows up. She asks Robbo to avenge her father's death (wrongfully attributed to the sheriff), a request which Robbo flatly refuses.

Gisborne disposes of the sheriff. Marian then invites Robbo to dinner and gives him $50,000, thinking that Robbo did as she had asked. Robbo refuses the money, but Marian attempts to seduce him into joining forces to take over the whole town. Robbo turns her down. When she sends the money to his under-repair gambling club, Robbo donates it to a boys' orphanage.

Alan A. Dale, the orphanage's director, notifies the newspapers about this good deed. A new Chicago star is born: a gangster who robs from the rich and gives to the poor.

Robbo finds it useful to have the public on his side. He invites the delighted Dale to join his gang, having him handle all the charities. Dale starts the Robbo Foundation and opens a string of soup kitchens, free clinics and orphan shelters. He even gives green, feathered hats and bows and arrows to the orphans, while thoroughly milking the Robin Hood image. In the meantime, Robbo and Little John teach Dale a little about "Style."

Robbo's joint re-opens and is an instant hit while Gisborne, whose place is now empty, is infuriated. He and the new sheriff, Potts, organize a police raid. Robbo has anticipated this and when a few switches are pulled, the entire club is disguised as a mission. The sheriff and Gisborne burst-in to find Robbo's gang singing gospel songs and preaching the sins of alcohol, complete with hymnals and tambourines ("Mr. Booze").

Robbo is framed for Glick's murder and at the trial, Gisborne and Potts claim that Robbo planned the whole thing. Dale tries to teach the despondent orphans to view this as a lesson ("Don't Be a Do-Badder"). The jury finds Robbo innocent. He thanks them ("My Kind of Town").

When he returns to his club, Robbo finds every one of his charities is now a front for counterfeiting. The soup kitchen smuggles fake bills in soup cans over state lines. Robbo also finds Little John living it up in Marian's mansion. Marian is willing to keep Robbo as a front, as long as she is in charge. Robbo shows his contempt for her and leaves with Little John following him.

Marian finds another willing partner in Gisborne, however, the gangster is no match for Robbo and is killed. Robbo tells a shocked Marian to clear out of town.

She instead turns public opinion against him, starting a Women's League for Better Government and framing Robbo for the counterfeiting ring that she and Little John started. Unable to fight an angry mob of women, Robbo and his gang flee.

Robbo and his merry men are reduced to working as Santa Clauses to solicit charitable donations. They watch dumbfounded as Marian steps out of a car with her latest partner, Alan A. Dale. He casually gives them money before going off with Marian.

Cast[edit]

Cast notes

  • Peter Lawford was originally cast as Alan A. Dale, but was replaced with Bing Crosby following a break in Sinatra's relationship with Lawford. The break stemmed from a scheduled visit to Sinatra's home by Lawford's brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy during a 1963 West Coast trip. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was long concerned about Sinatra's rumored ties with underworld figures, encouraged the President to change his plans and stay at Crosby's home, which (it was maintained) could provide better security for the President. The change came at the last minute, after Sinatra made extensive arrangements for the promised and eagerly awaited presidential visit, including the construction of a helipad. Sinatra was furious, believing that Lawford had failed to intercede with the Kennedys on his behalf, and ostracized him from the Rat Pack.[2] Sinatra and Lawford never spoke again, and Sinatra never endorsed another Democratic candidate. Ironically, Crosby, a staunch Republican, ended up cast in Lawford's role.[3]

Music[edit]

Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote the score. Crosby, still a major movie star at the time who had top billing over Sinatra in their last film together, High Society, sang more songs than Sinatra in this film as well.

"My Kind of Town" is the centerpiece number of the film. Orchestral versions of the song are the primary element of the opening and closing credits. A dance band also plays the song in Robbo's speakeasy. Sinatra sings the song to the citizens outside the courthouse after having been framed for, and acquitted of, murdering the sheriff.

Songs[edit]

  • "All for One and One for All" - Peter Falk and others
  • "Any Man Who Loves His Mother" - Dean Martin
  • "Don't be a Do-Badder" - Bing Crosby and the Mitchell Boy Singers
  • "Style" - Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin
  • "Bang! Bang!" - Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • "My Kind of Town" - Frank Sinatra
  • "Mr. Booze" - Bing Crosby and others
  • "Don't Be a Do-Badder" (reprise) - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.

Production[edit]

According to Robert Osborne, primary host for Turner Classic Movies, this was a very troubled production for Sinatra due to two outside events, so much so that he considered not completing the film. Close friend President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Sinatra's son, Frank Sinatra, Jr., was kidnapped and held for ransom only weeks later.

Stage musical[edit]

A new version of Robin and the 7 Hoods, with a book by Rupert Holmes, premiered on stage July 30, 2010 at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California. Updated to the early 1960s, it includes only one of the film's songs, "My Kind of Town," but features 18 others composed by Cahn and Van Heusen, among them "Come Fly With Me" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" The piece ran throughout August 2010. Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed the musical, set in the Mad Men era of 1962. The story is about a likable gangster hoping to get out of the crime business. A do-gooding TV reporter likens him to a modern day Robin Hood.[4]

Home media releases[edit]

Robin and the 7 Hoods has been released on a number of home video editions including an inexpensive edition as part of The Frank Sinatra Collection[5] and as part of the deluxe multi-movie set The Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition.[6]

The film's soundtrack album was re-released on compact disc in 2000 on Artanis Records.[7]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.
  2. ^ (Spada, pp. 292–293)
  3. ^ (Spada, p. 294)
  4. ^ Stevens, Rob. '"Review: Robin and the 7 Hoods". TheaterMania, August 2, 2010
  5. ^ "Robin And The 7 Hoods (product page)". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition (product page)". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Frank Sinatra's Robin And The 7 Hoods (product page)". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 

Bibliography

  • Spada, James (1991). Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-07185-8 

External links[edit]