Frank Sinatra "Classic Duets" features an incredible roster of many of the greatest and most influential jazz and pop singers of all time. Compiled from Sinatra TV specials that originally aired between 1957-1960, this hi... more »ghly collectable program includes complete musical performances and special interviews and commentary from the Sinatra family, Tina, Nancy and Frank Sinatra Jr. Highlights include Frank Sinatra performing with Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Lena Horne, Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Presley and more.« less
Better than the other "Duets" but hardly essential.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 08/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it. The greatest entertainer-artist of the 20th century was no match for the diminutive television screen, which seemed made to order for the non-threatening, comfortably regular visits of Perry, Andy, and Dino. Nor was he especially suited for singing duets (give the advantage to the adaptable Bing). Nevertheless, these highlights from Sinatra's short-lived '50's television series are admittedly welcome watching, especially for those of us who remember the original moments.Perhaps the most successful of all the duets is Cole's "You're the Top," with Frank and the brassy Ethel Merman. Hers is one of the few voices that stands up to the incisive edge in the Chairman's timbre.While the performances here are more "classic" than those from Sinatra's two "Duets" albums from the nineties, the relative brevity of the program (it would easily fit on a CD) raises the question of why the producers of this DVD didn't include any of the solo performances from the same series. And the interspersed commentary by Nancy, Tina, and Frank Jr., while palatable and diverting, is predictable and uninformative ("Dad enjoyed working with Elvis," "Sammy always brought out the best in Dad").If you're looking for Sinatra on television, a better bet is the specials (with Ella, Jobim, Diahann Carroll) from the 60's and 70's. Or, if you can swing it, the complete programs from which these highlights were extracted."
It doesn't get any better
R. Butler | Lawrence, KS United States | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I was as eloquent as the real reviewers, but I'm just a guy who likes good music; Frank made good music. If for nothing else, buy this for the clip of Frank and Peggy Lee - it's oooozing with sensuality. After that, if only for Frank and Dinah Shore, Louis Armstrong and the closing medley with Deano - the rest of the clips are gravy baby. This one is worth every penny . . ."
Gwendolyn Aughtry | Landover, MD United States | 08/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What a find this DVD is. I had never seen any of these performances before. Frank's two duets with Ella are perfection. Other great duets feature Louis Armstrong, Dinah Shore and Dean Martin. There's insightful commentary by Frank's three children also. The picture and sound are quite good for the age of the source material. This DVD is a must have for all Sinatraphiles."
The swinging, wistful, reflective and jazzy Sinatra
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 07/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All these musical genres are shown on this fine DVD: Frank singing ballads, up-tempo numbers and showing off magnificent set of pipes. Though I've always preferred Sinatra singing by himself, some of his old standards are not compromised when another singer joins in. They show two duets with Bing and they are are delightful and seldom-seen gems. You can even see Nelson Riddle standing in the background, directing the band and giving signals to Sinatra when he needs to come into the mix. His duet with Peggy Lee is a scorcher, and his voice is in rare form when he sings with Fitzgerald. Fabulous stuff.The quality of the DVD is exceptional throughout. The video is crisp, clean and clear. The color hues are excellent, and the B & W footage isn't grainy or dated. The sound quality is equally good; you can really pick out the string and brass sections in many of the duets. Finally, the cover painting of the Chairman by LeRoy Niemann is a gem. I wish I had a full-size version to hang on my wall, it captures that wistful pathos that Frank brought to so many of his ballads. I highly recommend this addition to your Sinatra collection."
Timeless, old school cool ...
Laurie A.E. | MA, USA | 04/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Frank Sinatra was undisputably a one man show unto himself, but when he performed with others, there was a fantastic synergy -- a more than the sum-of-its-parts type of excitement -- as evidenced by most of the clips on this DVD (a must-own for any Sinatra fan.)
Sinatra may or may not have had a big ego, but clearly he was willing to share the spotlight with others whose talent he admired. His duets here with Lena Horne and Peggy Lee are filled with the frisson of subtle sensuality; two attractive and mutually admiring stars soaking up the spotlight and putting on a performance not only for the audience and the cameras but also for one another.
The playful, comedic and fun-loving rascal Sinatra is evident in his duets with daughter Nancy ("You Make Me Feel So Young") and Ethel Merman ("You're The Top"). Frank's duet with Ella Fitzgerald highlights the mutual admiration -- and musical simpatico -- they shared, which makes it a "must have" in this collection. His shining her on and her frolicking reprimands make this duet a particularly memorable one.
Sinatra's performance with Dean Martin and Bing Crosby can't be beat for showcasing the boys' club bond -- these guys are like three frisky puppies gamboling across the stage ... in tuxedos, of course, and singing their beautiful hearts out. Extreme fun, that piece.
The only two performances here I take issue with (and really, it's a very small issue!) are his duet with the young Shirley Jones ("If I Loved You") -- it's rather an awkward pairing, though perhaps it's the fault of the song choice -- and Sinatra's duet with a young and stunning Elvis Presley. (Yes, ladies -- Elvis in a tux -- prepare to swoon!) It's a great performance and they have loads of fun with it, but Elvis really steals the stage. Not a bad thing, if you are an Elvis fan (as I am), and it IS a singular delight to watch them gently duke it out with one another, while Sinatra steps aside just enough to give the new guy on the block his day in the sun. But the screams from the audience were obviously all for Elvis, and Frank -- the seasoned performer -- took it in gracious stride. I'm glad this performance was included, though be prepared to see our beloved Frank hand over the torch, if only briefly, to Mssr. Pelvis ;-).
This DVD is one of the favorites in my collection -- I watch it whenever I need a lift out of the doldrums; watching Frank alone is enough to do that, but seeing him having the time of his life with other performers of his time is an extra special treat. As the DQ ads used to say, it's "scrumpdillyicious".
The only other note of dissatisfaction I have with this is the commentary from his children that's inserted between performances. While somewhat intriguing the first go-round (though they were, to a greater or lesser extent, biased and perhaps even blinded by their Dad's legacy), they turn boring and skip-able afterwards. Use your player's disc menu feature to play just the performances without these awkward bits of commentary that break up this stellar set of clips.