More than just a crooner and an idol of the bobby-soxers, Frank Sinatra also fashioned an impressive and successful acting career. After initial forays into the movies in several big budget color musicals (often paired with the inimitable Gene Kelly), Sinatra sought more demanding roles as his music career began to dwindle in the early 1950s. These roles, beginning with his Academy Award®-winning performance in From Here to Eternity, were challenging and oftentimes controversial, helping redefine his career trajectory. As an actor, he strove for spontaneity and energy; he was an instinctive performer who was at his best playing troubled characters.
The selection of films in this series highlights some of Sinatra’s greatest dramatic performances, from a struggling drug addict in Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm to a former Korean War POW with a hidden past in The Manchurian Candidate.
Lisa Kribs-LaPierre is the Manager of Online Engagement at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.