Was ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ Almost Too Depressing to Exist?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to see all the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” nearly never existed because it was too depressing.

It comes as little surprise to any moviegoer out there that the soundtrack to a film musical plays a major role in how the story of the film is presented. We’ve discussed in the past how the song “Let it Go” literally changed the whole focus of Disney’s hit film, Frozen, turning Elsa from a villain to a hero. Similarly, though, if you don’t want to change the story of your film, then you will have problems if the songs you are given don’t fit the story of the film. This was the key conflict that very nearly led to the classic Christmas song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” never being released.

Continue reading “Was ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ Almost Too Depressing to Exist?”

Was Die Hard an Adaptation of a SEQUEL to a Book That Was ALSO Made Into a Film?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Die Hard was a screen adaptation of the sequel of a book that also was adapted into a film.

Die Hard has had a very interesting history when it comes to the novels and screenplays that the film and its ensuing sequels have been based on.

Roderick Thorp’s 1966 novel The Detective ended up playing a significant part in film history, and not just for its later connection to the Die Hard series.

The book, which is about private detective Joe Leland being hired to investigate the death of a woman’s husband only to find that the man’s death tied into a murder that Leland investigated while on the police force, became a best-seller.

Robert Evans purchased the rights to the book, and he used that fact to parlay said rights into a role as a producer on the film adaptation.

The film starred Frank Sinatra (now as a police detective, and the plot was slightly different – but the main thing about the book that the film captured was the FEEL of the story – the book was noted for its darkly realistic take on detectives and police and the movie followed suit) and its success led to Evans’ highly successful career as a film producer.

Thirteen years after his first book starring Joe Leland, Thorp wrote a sequel, 1979’s Nothing Lasts Forever.
Continue reading “Was Die Hard an Adaptation of a SEQUEL to a Book That Was ALSO Made Into a Film?”

Did Frank Sinatra Keep the Manchurian Candidate Under Wraps After the Kennedy Assassination?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Frank Sinatra kept the Manchurian Candidate under wraps for years in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination.

The Manchurian Candidate is about a United States soldier (played by Lawrence Harvey) who is brainwashed in an attempt to get him to assassinate a Presidential candidate, allowing the Vice-Presidential candidate (who is controlled by the Communists) to take over control of the party and run the United States FOR the Communists (and be the “Manchurian Candidate” that the title refers to).

Frank Sinatra plays a fellow soldier who does his best to stop this plan. Angela Lansbury is magnificent as the evil mother of Harvey.

The film was released in October of 1962.

A little more than one year later, the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.

It has long been said that Frank Sinatra got a hold of the film rights and then squashed the film until the late 1980s in honor of the President. In fact, it was said that he got the rights specifically TO squash the film.
Continue reading “Did Frank Sinatra Keep the Manchurian Candidate Under Wraps After the Kennedy Assassination?”

Was “Softly As I Leave You” Written by a Man on His Deathbed?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: “Softly as I Leave You” was written by a dying man as his wife slept at his bed side.

The song, “Softly as I Leave You,” was a pretty big hit for a number of singers, most particularly Matt Monro and Frank Sinatra (both during the early 60s). A lot of other people have recorded it over the years, including Elvis Presley, who is actually quite important for this story.

In any event, as the story goes, “Softly As I Leave You” was written by a dying man while his wife slept next to him.

Continue reading “Was “Softly As I Leave You” Written by a Man on His Deathbed?”