Tough leap from stage to screen

ONE of the world’s most popular stage shows about one  of the world’s most popular singing groups has made the leap to the silver screen.

SONGS: Jersey Boys tells the origins of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

SONGS: Jersey Boys tells the origins of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

But sadly despite some classy direction, fantastic talent and an interesting story, the film of Jersey Boys doesn’t get near the stage show.

I have been lucky enough to see Jersey Boys twice and it was one of the best productions I have seen.

Full of great performances and and even better Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons soundtrack, it is a show you can’t help but sing along to (as with all good musical stage shows).

Hollywood veteran Clint Eastwood has taken on the task of bring Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to the big screen and while he does a good job, there is not enough theatrical flair for the film to be truly memorable.

Eastwood is an interesting choice with the tough and gritty actor-director not someone you would immediatley associate with musical drama.

But Eastwood has understood the importance of putting musically talented actors in the lead roles by shying away from any major Hollywood stars.

The film is a loyal adaptation of the stage show but there is a few things missing.

John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Michael Lomenda and Erich Bergen take on the roles of The Four Seasons and all have performed their roles at some point – Young even won a Tony Award for his role as Frankie Valli on Broadway.

A strong supporting cast lead by Christopher Walken also adds a lot of depth to the story.

So with so much singing and dancing talent it is disappointing that Eastwood has let the dialogue lead so much of the film. 

Quite a few of my favourite Four Seasons songs were left out or skimmed over, whereas during the stage show each song had its own spotlight.

Understandably, it is dificullt to cram a three-and-a-half hour show into a two hour film but the music is surely what audiences will be eager to hear rather than the back story.

The back story certainly is interesting but the slightest bit of research makes people wonder what was fictionalised and what really happened.

But regardless of what did or didn’t happen, Jersey Boys is a fun film that lets audience reminisce about how good music was in the 1960s and that is hard to argue with.

Jersey Boys (M) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. See page 3 of the Bendigo Advertiser for session details.

Follow film review Chris Pedler on Twitter @FilmNerdChris


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