The old line goes, “It’s Frank’s World, the rest of us just live in it.” Frank Sinatra was an imposing figure as a singer and actor that became the immediate center of where he stood. There are places on the map that we associate with Sinatra. First is New York City even though he was born in Hoboken, New Jersey kid. He became the man who made Las Vegas an entertainment destination. He was even linked to Los Angeles for when he recaptured his music career at the Capitol Tower and the studios for his movie career. But ultimately one place comes up in his biographies: Palm Springs. This little town in the Southern California desert became a playground for the rich and famous wanting to be able to enjoy their lives without being mobbed by tourists. It quickly became Sinatra’s favorite place. Sinatra In Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home is a documentary that explores the land where he flourished.
Palm Springs quickly became the place to have a second house for the stars in the post World War II era. This was a place where they could make their playground. In the late ’40s, Sinatra had made his first fortune and decided to join his equally famous pals in this land of sun, sand and golf. The cool thing about the area was that architects could create houses that took advantage of the views and worked with the backyard pool. Frank’s first house was so distinct that he loaned it out to movies that didn’t even star him. He would later build a second house next to a golf course that was owned by the Marx Brothers and others. This place was in nearby Rancho Mirage. He chose the new club since his old one had membership restrictions. He built a compound although he didn’t hold up behind the fence. He loved being able to hit the course and the town. Luckily we get a chance to hit the town in his footsteps.
While Palm Springs has changed over the decades, several of Frank’s favorite places to drop by for a steak and a drink are not only in business, but maintain their classic decor. There’s a fine moment as we hang with singer Trini Lopez at his restaurant. He mentions that even though he knew Frank for years and was signed to his Reprise label, Trini always called him Mr. Sinatra and Sinatra never told him to just call him, “Frank.” Comic Tom Dreesen gives a sense of what Sinatra was like when they weren’t on the road performing. There’s talk of Frank’s issues, but also the moments that made Frank a guy that you wanted as a friend. Although while out on the town, people gave Frank his space. It was just cool enough to know you were at the same bar as Frank.
The film gives an rich portrait of not only Frank, but the town. He was never the mayor like Sonny Bono, but he made things happen. He would anonymously donate to locals who had something go wrong. A restaurant wasn’t truly opened until Frank showed up looking for a table. There’s a lot of people with memories of the time Frank showed up. Although he would let you know immediately if your food wasn’t up to snuff. If you have ready any biographies about Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Sinatra In Palm Springs. You get a deeper sense of the places described on the pages. You get to hear the stories from people who knew him. Several of the key people who talked about Sinatra have passed away since the filming of the movie including Frank’s last wife Barbara. Sinatra In Palm Springs gives us a glimpse of Frank’s World that was so worth living in it.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The resolution brings out the details in the vintage photos and film clips. You can get lost in the views of the town. Audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo. Both bring out the conversations of the interviewees. The movie is subtitled.
Bonus Scenes include segments about The Actor (2:22), The Compound (3:08), Sinatra Style (1:32), Travelling in Style (1:58), The Best Tipper (1:39), The Worst Driver (2:58), Golf Tournaments & Jack Daniels (3:27), Friendships (1:13) and Funeral (3:48). These are great little stories that probably wouldn’t have gone with the flow of the documentary, but are fantastic listens.
Trailer (3:06) sets up how Frank became one with Palm Springs.
Shout! Factory presents Sinatra In Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home. Directed by Leo Zahn. Starring: Frank Sinatra, Barbara Sinatra, Tom Dreesen, Nelda Linsk, Trini López and Mel Haber. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 92 minutes. Released: June 11, 2019.
Tags: Frank Sinatra, Palm Springs, Shout! Factory