Make the Wiseguys Weep will be Merchant Ivory’s first feature since 2009’s The City of Your Final Destination. Based on a novel by David Evanier, and adapted for the screen by Ric Menello (The Immigrant, Two Lovers), the film traces the life and career of singer Jimmy Roselli, who is blacklisted from the music industry in the 1960’s following an altercation with Frank Sinatra.
There were two great singers from Hoboken, New Jersey: Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Roselli, whose staggering vocal range, passion and authority outstripped his world famous rival. Despite being a beloved entertainer among Italian mobsters, and particularly their wives and mothers, Jimmy refused nonetheless to be beholden to the Mafia. Accordingly, Jimmy was left unprotected when, ostensibly under Sinatra’s order, the music industry blackballed Roselli for three decades. Largely guided by his own erratic integrity, the mercurial Roselli never received the worldwide fame his talent deserved, and whatever success he did achieve was owed in part to the selfless actions of those who cared for him most. Jimmy’s aggressively supportive wife, Donna, convinces him to start his own record label, and Mafia soldier and Jimmy’s childhood friend, Matty, makes the ultimate sacrifice, all in the best interest of an unsung entertainer who by his own admission, was most happy when in the company of his hometown pals.
Make the Wiseguys Weep is a sincere tale about the influence of the Mafia in showbiz, of Italian-American culture and music heritage, and of a thrilling, unsung entertainer.
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