Jersey Boys movie-5


Frankie Valli, The Four Seasons, Clint Eastwood, and … Lou Christie

One of the great things about living in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City is that Lou Christie lives in the neighborhood.

I ran into him on 10th Avenue yesterday, and told him not to miss Jersey Boys when it opens Friday—not that he would have: After all, next to Frankie Valli and maybe Del Shannon, no rock ’n’ roller had a more significant falsetto voice.

I actually saw the movie a week ago, at a VIP screening introduced by Clint Eastwood. He said that he made a point of using not only the Broadway show cast members, but also those from touring productions; in Variety he explained that it made no sense to look elsewhere, since these actors had already performed their roles hundreds of times.

I told Lou I loved the movie, especially the way that Eastwood managed to capture the look, feel, and sound of the era in relating the now familiar story of Valli and the Four Seasons. But face it: The story is second place next to the music that made the story so worth telling.

And as the movie shows, it’s not at all just Valli’s otherworldly vocal.

Jersey Boys movie-Frankie ValliIt’s partner Bob Gaudio’s songs, of course, that gave Valli’s voice a reason. But it’s also Bob Crewe’s production, which comes into full effect at the end.

Indeed, you won’t want to leave until the final credits are done, because along with a fabulous visual, they run to the sound of the Four Seasons’ original recording of their 1962 breakthrough hit “Sherry”—and it jumps out of the theater speakers. It produces the very weird effect of drawing you back in just as you’re walking out, and more than anything else, underscores the lasting first impression of the four Jersey Boys.

Jim Bessman

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