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'At the Movies' With Sinatra, Cole Songs

April 16, 1993|ROBERT HILBURN | TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC

There's Frank Sinatra the Oscar-winning actor and Frank Sinatra the Grammy-winning singer--and the twin careers meet, in a fashion, in "Frank Sinatra at the Movies."

The 19-song collection, and a companion set, "Nat King Cole at the Movies," have just been released by Capitol Records. Both focus on recordings that are associated with movies or, in one case, television productions.

The Sinatra package begins appropriately with "From Here to Eternity," the title tune from the 1953 drama for which Sinatra won an Oscar as best supporting actor.

Sinatra's recording was only a modest hit, but coupled with the enormous success of the film it contributed to the re-emergence of the singer-actor, whose career had almost collapsed after his glory days in the '40s.

Among the highlights of the new Capitol album:

* "Young at Heart"--The song was used as the title music for a 1954 Warner Bros. film starring Sinatra and Doris Day. The album also includes four other songs from the film, including Sinatra's version of the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me."

* "Love and Marriage"--Featured in a 1955 TV musical adaptation of "Our Town," the playful Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen song won an Emmy.

* "All the Way"--Sinatra delivered one of his most celebrated vocals on this Cahn-Van Heusen song, which was featured in "The Joker Is Wild," the 1957 film biography of nightclub comic Joe E. Lewis. The song won an Oscar.

Warning: The album doesn't include Sinatra's 1960s movie tunes--notably "Strangers in the Night" (from the 1966 film "A Man Could Get Killed") or "Pocketful of Miracles" (from the 1961 film of the same name) because they were recorded for Reprise Records after Sinatra left Capitol.

Similarly, the Nat King Cole album omits "Mona Lisa" even though the Oscar-winning song--introduced in a film titled "Captain Carey, U.S.A."--was the basis of one of the late singer's signature recordings. Unlike the Sinatra package, however, the Cole album includes useful liner notes.

Among the Cole highlights:

* "Blue Gardenia"--One of Cole's most affecting and often overlooked ballads, the recording was featured in a 1953 murder caper starring Richard Conte and Anne Baxter.

* "When I Fall in Love"--Another classic ballad, one that might win you a bet in a trivia contest. Few of even the most knowledgeable Cole fans could probably identify the movie in which the song was featured: a 1952 Korean War story titled "One Minute to Zero."

* "Fascination"--Jane Morgan had the hit version of the song in 1957, but it was Cole's interpretation that was featured in the Gary Cooper-Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy "Love in the Afternoon."

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