Bob Dylan mined the Frank Sinatra catalog for his new covers album Shadows in the Night, and for the video for the 1940s standard “The Night We Called It a Day,” the rock legend revisits the stark black-and-white, smoky nightclubs and double-crossing of that decade’s film noir.
In the video, Dylan and a well-connected friend battle over the affection of a burlesque dancer, with Dylan carrying on an affair with the engaged gangster moll. As with most noirs, things don’t end well for the love triangle – only one side makes it out alive – and the bloody denouement is presented in startling fashion when contrasted with Dylan’s touching, graceful cover.
Dylan’s short noir co-stars Robert Davi, a journeyman actor whose grizzled looks paved the way for his casting in dozens of gangster roles. However, Davi’s presence likely has a deeper meaning: Not only did Davi make his acting debut alongside Sinatra in the crime flick Contract on Cherry Street, Davi moonlights as one of Las Vegas’ premier Sinatra tribute acts. In 2011, Davi released his own album of Sinatra covers, Davi Sings Sinatra – On The Road To Romance.
Actress Tracy Phillips, the daughter of former Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, plays the femme fatale. Nash Edgerton, who previously helmed Dylan’s similarly violent “Duquesne Whistle” as well as “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” served as director on this pitch-perfect noir tribute.
“It was a real privilege to make this album,” Dylan said in a statement of Shadows in the Night. “I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a five-piece band. That’s the key to all these performance. We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking, and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded. I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way.”