Although they seem like bands from different eras, the Four Seasons were still in their prime when the first wave of Beatlemania struck. As “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” soared to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart a half-century ago, Frankie Valli’s rendition of “Dawn (Go Away)” held its own at number three. Under ordinary circumstances, it would have been number one.
What’s hard to imagine is that any of this would interest Clint Eastwood, a serious jazz buff whose 1988 tribute to Charlie Parker, “Bird,” was clearly a labor of love. Yet Eastwood appears to have had a good time directing “Jersey Boys,” his musical biopic about the Four Seasons, due in theaters on June 20. Instead of turning to the usual Hollywood suspects, he cast Tony winner John Lloyd Young and other veterans of the Broadway show, ensuring that the singers could perform live during filming. Among the other reasons you might want to check out “Jersey Boys”: Christopher Walken plays the quartet’s mobster mentor — and he dances. Plus, the book and screenplay are by Marshall Brickman, best known as Woody Allen’s collaborator on “Annie Hall.” And then there’s the music, which will have nostalgic appeal for many who remember the British Invasion but weren’t so swept up by it that nothing else mattered. —John Birmingham