Robin and the 7 Hoods is a spoof on gangster pix of bygone days sparked by the names of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby. The daffy doings of Chicago’s hoodlums during the Prohibition era in a battle for leadership of the rackets backdrops action which usually is on the slightly wacky side.
Scripter David R. Schwartz takes the legend of Robin Hood and his merrie men and retailors it loosely to the frolickings of Sinatra and his pack. In some measure the parallel is successful, at least as basis for a premise which gives the plot a gimmick springboard as Sinatra, as Robbo, the good-hearted hood, takes from the rich to give to the poor.
Yarn opens in 1928 with the gangster kingpin of the day – Edward G. Robinson doing a cameo bit here – guest of honor at a lavish birthday party. After a sentimental rendition of ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ by the assembled company of hoods, they shoot Robinson dead.
Thereafter it’s for grabs as Peter Falk has himself elected as the new Number One, and Sinatra arrives to warn him to keep out of his territory.
Performance-wise, Falk comes out best. His comic gangster is a pure gem. Sinatra, of course, is smooth and Crosby in a ‘different’ type of role rates a big hand.
1964: Nominations: Best Adapted Musical Score, Song (‘My Kind of Town’)