Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

Robin and the 7 Hoods is a funny musical. It’s got a bunch of the Rat Pack (Frank, Dean, Sammy) and Bing Crosby together in a movie. The movie had me with the Rat Pack and Bing  and it’s a gangster movie on top of that. So the film is basically Robin Hood set in the 1930s in gangster Chicago. As per usual spoilers below.

Big Jim the undisputed boss of Chicago is shot dead in a move orchestrated by Guy Gisborne( Peter Faulk) and he places himself as the boss. Guy wants every gangster to pay him protection money so the police will keep back. Robbo (Frank Sinatra) who was friends with Big Jim and seen as the heir apparent doesn’t like this idea and doesn’t join up and this starts a gang war. First things Robbo does is adds to his already small crew, which basically consists of Will (Sammy Davis Jr.), a pool shark from Indiana Little John (Dean Martin). Both Guy and Robbo want to be the first to strike and they both smash up each others casino at the same time. With his casino all smashed up Robbo has a plan to make it unsmashable.  At Big Jim’s funeral there is a mysterious woman who stops by his grave. It turns out to be Big Jim’s daughter Marian. Now this Marian isn’t like the Maid Marian from Robin Hood as she want her father’s killer dead and offers Robbo $50,000 to do it. As it turns out Guy get to it first and has the sheriff put into a cornerstone of a police station.  Marian invites Robbo over for dinner to celebrate and pay him off, Robbo refuses. The next day the money is sent over to Robbo’s club and he tells them to give it to some charity. The charity they give it to is a boy’s orphanage run or directed by Alan A. Dale (Bing Crsoby) and he tells the newspapers of the generosity of Robbo and he becomes a sensation all around Chicago.

Soon Robbo is getting lots of mail of people asking to help them out and Robbo hires Alan to help sort through all the letter. They form the Robbo foundation and start up soup kitchens, free clinics and continue to support the orphanage as well. Guy is not a fan of all the praise that Robbo is getting and tries to frame him for the murder of the sheriff. The trial ends with an innocent verdict and Robbo sings the most famous song from the movie “My Kind of Town”. There is some more to the movie but you’ve got to watch it.

All in all it was one of the best gangster musicals that I’ve seen. The film had some clever moments and some of the visuals were amazing for 1964. It was well acted and holds up well. I found the movie to be really funny as well. If you are a fan of the Rat Pack you might as well watch it being one of the last films they did together. It is a decent original musical as well, and it would be interesting if it ever were adapted for the stage.


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