A look at The Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood’s biopic of Frankie Valli’s group
Late February, back in ’16 (no, the title doesn’t scan right, too many syllables in February). Tuesday, 23 February will see Stalybridge Town Cinema’s second flick of 2016. After the escapism of the Greek islands and wedded bliss, tomorrow’s presentation is quite a difference.
The Jersey Boys eschews the sunshine and champagne for the less auspicious beginnings of The Four Seasons. The story begins in 1951 when Tommy DeVito, Nicky DeVito and Nick Massi start out as The Variety Trio. The arrival of Frankie Castelluccio (Frankie Valli to you) would later see the group renamed as The Four Lovers. Frankie’s singing voice attracts the attention of Genovese Family mobster Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo.
After an attempted safe robbery, Frankie gets a ticking off from the cops though fellow member Tommy DeVito serves a six month prison sentence. Eventually, Frankie changes his professional surname to Vally, then Valli. Tommy DeVito’s friend Joe Pesci tells him about a talented singer-songwriter, by the name of Bob Gaudio.
Gaudio is impressed by Valli’s vocals, so the group record several demos and approach numerous labels. This was met with limited success. Then, one day in New York, producer Bob Crewe signs them to a contract. There was one catch: it limited them to session work with other acts.
Taking the name from a bowling alley sign, they change their name to The Four Seasons. Under their new name, they sing a Gaudio penned song: Sherry. The rest, as they say, double Physics at West Hill.
The film tells the story from different perspectives with a healthy dose of the group’s back catalogue. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film stars John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, and Christopher Walken as Gyp DeCarlo. Once again, neither East of the M60 nor Stalybridge Town Cinema accept responsibility for the whistling of Walk Like a Man towards Armentieres Square.
Next month at the Stalybridge Town Cinema
On the 22 March will be the presentation of Yanks (dir. John Schlesinger, 1979). Starring Richard Gere, Lisa Eichhorn and Vanessa Redgrave, the film requires little introduction for anyone born and raised in Tameside and Saddleworth. The film sees American GIs set up a temporary base somewhere off SHMD’s 4 route (in other words, Millbrook). We see romance, the locals’ reception to their arrival, and a lot of local landmarks.
With the success of Marathon Man (1976 Nazi dentist film starring Dustin Hoffman), Mr Schlesinger was able to raise the finance for Yanks. Filming took place in Oldham, Stockport, Stalybridge, and throughout the Saddleworth villages in the summer of 1978. The screenplay was written by the late great Colin Welland.
For our next update on the Stalybridge Town Cinema’s feature, expect a more detailed preview on East of the M60.
For Tuesday’s showing, tickets are priced at £5.00 for all classes. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
Stalybridge Town Cinema:
8 Corporation Street, Stalybridge, Cheshire, SK15 2BN.
- Buses: most services stop at Armentieres Square nearby. 408 service (peak hours, all day Sundays and Bank Holidays and evenings only) terminates at bus station (5 – 7 minutes walk along Market Street, Melbourne Street and Corporation Street). No journeys on the 236, 387, 353 and 354 services after 1900 hours;
- Trains: Stalybridge railway station is 10 – 12 minutes walk (Market Street, Melbourne Street and Corporation Street);
- Taxis: Swift Radio Cars is the nearest taxi office to Judge’s Bar.
S.V., 22 February 2016.