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stealing sinatra, biographical film, biography, review, biopic

Stealing Sinatra (2003)

Being the child of a famous entertainer can haves its advantages, particularly if you decide to enter the entertainment field yourself. James Mitchum debuted as his father’s younger brother in Thunder Road, Nancy Sinatra signed with her father’s record label and Johnny Weissmuller Jr dubbed the English version of the X-rated French cartoon Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle. One of the many downsides of inherited fame are the characters you come into contact with, such as Barry Keenan, who knew all three of the above. Yet when Keenan, with the help of two equally inept friends, decides to kidnap a famous offspring, he opts instead for Nancy’s brother, Frank Sinatra Jr.

In much the same way as Frank Jr’s efforts to succeed in his father’s shadow, Stealing Sinatra invites unfavourable comparisons, highlighted by the casting of Fargo’s William H. Macy. Though many scenes strike exactly the right note in blending comedy and drama, the overall tone of the film is slightly off-pitch. Much of this can be attributed to the lead performance of David Arquette, who appears to be under the mistaken impression that goofiness automatically translates to likeability.

One of the most surprising twists in the film appears at its conclusion, when the closing credits reveal the fate of kidnappers. For his part, Frank Jr would continue to pay homage to his father both onstage and onscreen, including the provision of vocals (alongside Australia’s Tom Burlinson) for the 1992 made-for-TV biopic, Sinatra.

cast, James Russo, Frank Sinatra, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Ryan Browning, Joe Amsler
fact check, factcheck, fact vs fiction, inaccuracies, true story

Barry Keenan did not tell Joe Amsler and John Irwin of his plan to kidnap Frank Sinatra Jr  during one of his performances. He unveiled his plan at a charity event featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.


The ransom amount was not finalised until after Frank Sinatra Jr was taken.


Frank Sinatra Jr was staying at Room 417 when he was kidnapped, not 217.


Frank Sinatra Jr did not give John Irwin his signet ring, initialled FS, when he was released. He gave it to Barry Keenan early in his kidnapping, as a sign of good faith.

film clip, scene comparison, video

Film features no scene recreations.

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