The Joker Is Wild () - The Joker Is Wild () - User Reviews - IMDb
The short, black, “one-eyed Jew” did shows all over the world, but one of his favorite Prelude to a song of the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra plays Joe E. Lewis, a famous comedian of the ss. When the movie opens, Lewis is a young, talented singer who performs in speakeasies. "The Joker Is Wild" gives us Frank Sinatra playing Joe E. Lewis playing The moody black and white camera work also helps set the tone for this . The best scene is one toward the beginning where Sinatra and a radiant Jeanne Crain meet.
At least that's my read of this entertaining and rather revealing look at a performer's life. In the s, Lewis is a singer on his way up. Then he tries to part ways with a mobster who thinks he owns the singer and threatens violence if the singer thinks otherwise. Sure enough, Lewis's bid for freedom ends with his larynx slashed and his head busted in.
Frank Sinatra Once Photographed Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
Years later, Lewis re-emerges as a popular nightclub comic, but he's still haunted by what could have been, not to mention a taste for the bottle he works into his stage show a lot better than he does into his life. Perhaps he saw a chance to portray a kindred spirit and a close friend on screen, but watching Sinatra's gritty, unsentimental performance, given at the peak of his career, suggests a deeper agenda.
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Even Sinatra's friendliest biographers say the man had a dark side, and certainly that is Lewis's situation here, a celebrity who falls into a deeper gloom the more he succeeds, lashing out at those who love him. He's fundamentally decent, but a manic-depressive streak runs deep inside him, coiled around his heart like a rattlesnake. There's a scene, just after Lewis's wife leaves him, when his faithful pianist Austin Mack Eddie Albert suggests Lewis cancel the show.
Frank Sinatra Once Photographed Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier | FIGHTLAND
Lewis's reply is the classic entertainer's problem: Charles Vidor directs this film with assurance and a deft touch, giving Sinatra's early scenes the proper brooding background and his later ones a sense of instability as he amuses his audiences with his cocktail-fueled banter while worrying his friends, who hear the cynicism-bordering-on-nihilism just beneath the surface.
The irony of Lewis's life is the bleaker it becomes, the funnier he gets. In addition to needing to be seen and needing to do something, anything, the singer had a long history with boxing and with Ali. And Sinatra being Sinatra, he needed to be up front. Whatever way he could.
How Sinatra got the job is still the subject of debate. But Graves disputed that account, saying Sinatra was always going to be at the fight and was always planning on bringing a camera with him, photography being a lifelong hobby.
Tommy went to work wangling Sinatra into letting us have a look at his film. Sinatra would later tell New York Daily News sportswriter Bill Gallo, "I got some good pictures that night, but I kept watching Frazier putting his head too far out for Ali to punch it. He was defying Ali, and I said to the newspaper guy next to me: Frazier would win that night by unanimous decision after knocking down Ali for the first time in his career. The two men would go on to fight twice more, with Ali winning both times, and Sinatra would return to singing two years later.
Which means on his first and last assignment as a freelance photographer the Hoboken-born singer grabbed the most-coveted prize in the history of photography: But though that cover photo—an awkward shot of a swollen Frazier crowding Ali against the ropes—might have helped sell magazines, it hardly pleased everybody.
In a letter to the editor published the following week, former Life staff photographer Robert W. I'm so mad I could chew nails and spit tacks.