Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

351

Bobby Darin Swings Again in Hollywood Biopic

Daniel Kassell By

Sign in to view read count
Kevin Spacey
Beyond the Sea
Lions Gate
2004

The diminutive Bobby Darin first drew attention as a teen idol singer-songwriter with "Splish Splash." Confident of his talent as a Bronx, NY pianist, guitarist and drummer he then insisted on doing an album of standards That's All that reflected his admiration of Louis Armstrong and made "Mack the Knife" another hit.

In Beyond the Sea producer Kevin Spacey's biopic of Bobby Darin's life, the too old Spacey attempts to be a youthful Darin in the same way thousands of middle-aged singers imitate their idols. As a singer Spacey pulls this off by enlisting delightful child actors, faux reality flashbacks wherein he either narrates or performs.

Opening with Darin's Tenth Anniversary show rehearsal of "Mack The Knife" - a hip cool- confident Spacey, an imitation big band dubbed by an exceptional Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London conducted by John Wilson with original arrangements supplied by Darin's Manager Steve Blauner (John Goodman) with offspring Dodd Darin's permission and performed with assistance from Bobby's original Music Director-pianist Dick Behrke (played on-screen by wonder kid pianist Peter Cincotti because Spacey saw him perform in a London club).

A screenplay flashback directly raises the question, "How can you be too old to play yourself?" and again flashes back to Darin's talented mother (Brenda Blethyn) playing Hoagy Carmichael's "Lazy River" typifying "A world [he] could live within," referring to the presumed effects of Darin's childhood rheumatic fever. Then downstairs on a Bronx Street (actually Germany's spacious Marlene Dietrich soundstage) Spacey and a huge company parade to "Blue Skies" to excellent digital big band sound that brings life to the dancing.

Darin meets Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) doing "Come September" and steals her away from a watchful mother (Greta Scacchi) on a Vespa for their first romantic kiss as "Dream Lover" plays in the background presumably piped in from Hollywood heaven because "he wants a girl to love." Remember it's 1961.

Offered an opportunity to appear at New York's Copacabana, Darin purposefully changes their "policy" by insisting on a black comedian opening his show. Sandra's quip, "People hear what they see," inspires Darin to do Vegas's Flamingo opposite Flip Wilson. However, Darin has progressive notions and prefers to do rebellious folk songs and hits with "Simple Song of Freedom" complete with wonderful gospel singers in red robes but after each production number must take oxygen from a portable tank in a silver suitcase.

Ending with "The Curtain Falls" Kevin Spacey holds the long tones exactly like Darin in a proper finale for this biopic. On the reprise "As Long As I'm Singing" pianist Peter Cincotti's proud smile paralleled my emotions. The credits run to a swinging "Some of These Days," the Shelton Brooks standard.

His magic producer Phil Ramone believed, "Bobby Darin did everything. He did blues. He did spirituals. He did folk music He covered every genre, but what he added to all of them was the street."

Want more of Spacey as Darin? The Atco Rhino CD (R2 78444) is out and a Beyond the Sea DVD is soon to follow.

Visit the Beyond the Sea website .


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read La La Land DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl DVD/Film Reviews Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2017
Read Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 DVD/Film Reviews Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the...
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At Carnegie Hall DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Fathom Events Presents "The Grateful Dead Movie"" DVD/Film Reviews Fathom Events Presents "The Grateful Dead Movie"
by Doug Collette
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Man of the World: The Peter Green Story" DVD/Film Reviews Man of the World: The Peter Green Story
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris" DVD/Film Reviews The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "La La Land" DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor