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Errors hinder film version of Jersey Boys

actors playing Four Seasons in Jersey Boys
actors playing Four Seasons in Jersey Boyspublic domain image

The highly anticipated movie "Jersey Boys," featuring members of the hit Broadway show, and direction by Clint Eastwood seemed quite promising, but is quite disappointing. While the direction and performances are good, there are several historical errors that hamper its overall critical success.

In a scene set in 1951 when the boys are trying to boost a safe, Frankie Valli is the lookout. Told to start singing if a cop approaches, Frankie sees an officer and starts singing the song "Silhouettes," which was not written until 1957.

Also in a 1951 scene, a character refers to the Steve McQueen movie "The Blob," which did not come out until 1958.

In a scene set in the 50s, a reference to Ed Sullivan's show mentions Topo Gigio, a mouse puppet that did not debut until 1962.

In a scene set in the 50s at Bob Crewe's apartment, there are platinum records on the wall. Platinum records did not occur until the 1970s.

The song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" is given to Frankie Valli to help him get through his daughter's recent death. That song came out in 1967. His daughter died in 1980.

In a 1970 scene set in gangster Gyp's place where Tommy DeVito is removed from the band until his debts to the mob are paid off, Nick Massi is present and also decides to leave the group. Massi actually left the group five years earlier, in 1965, and was not even at this meeting.

In one scene set in the 60s, Frankie Valli sings the song "My Eyes Adored You" to his young daughter as a lullaby. That song was not written until the mid 1970s.

It is understandable that for purposes of plot exposition, there is some measure of poetic license allowed in movies about real life characters. However, the historical inaccuracies in "Jersey Boys" are so plentiful and consistent, they are a hindrance to the film's artistic merit. This is unfortunate on several levels. First, Clint Eastwood may very well be the finest active American filmmaker. Second, the music is timeless and wonderful. Finally, the actors work hard and offer solid performances throughout.

"Jersey Boys" is an entertaining movie and otherwise well crafted. But if a film bio is this inaccurate, it is ultimately a failure.