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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The only real pleasure in "Ocean's Eleven" is being let into the Rat
Pack circle for a couple of hours... The film stops all too frequently
for guest spots and in-jokes, with a slow first hour... Compared to
Jules Dassin's 'Rififi,' or to Phil Karlson's 'Five Against the House,'
it pales considerably...
'Ocean's Eleven' is a weak heist film with the emphasis firmly on light humor, and few diverting escapades, but nobody cares because the cast includes the biggest stars of the day (Frankie, Dino, Sammy etc...), burning the motion picture into the collective memory of the public as the first to showcase Hollywood's notorious Rat Pack...
'Ocean's Eleven' is a buddy movie made with real buddies, and it's fun... It in't supposed to be very good... It is supposed to be cool... A playground for legendary entertainers, these guys knew how to get the job done, to pause only to knock back innumerable Whisky sodas, wear their tuxedo, hang out in bars, talk the talk, belt out a couple of classy little numbers, and have a great sense of fun together on screen... And this fun filtered off the silver screen and into the audience like a tasty appetizer before the main course...
Old Blue Eyes is the mastermind of the heist... He is carrying out a plan originated by racketeer Spyros Acebos where five gambling casinos (Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, The Sand and The Flamingo) will be robbed simultaneously at midnight on New Year's celebration...
During the week before Christmas, the 'special combat team' (all experts in one thing and another) arrive in Las Vegas, for the job-of-a-lifetime... The scheme of the robbery is ingenious, requiring military precision and perfect timing... An electrical tower will be blown up to black out the whole town... The swag will be deposited in garbage cans outside the casinos, and the cans will be collected by a disposal truck...
On New Year's Eve, the hold-up goes off beautifully, exactly as planned... Only one of the men has a heart attack on the street and collapses... The gang cannot get the multi-million loot out of Las Vegas but they manage to hide it in some place, unknown to them, however, that 'someone' was preparing for them all a nice wry outcome...
Dean Martin, the eternal essence of cool, is the entertainer who sings "Ain't That a Kick in the Head,' and Sammy Davis Jr. is the perennial icon of cool who sings "EEO-Eleven.'
Peter Lawford is the playboy with one objective and one mission: To hit Las Vegas, Nevada!
Angie Dickinson is the understanding wife, discreet, feminine and chic... Unfortunately the camera does not especially flatter her looks...
Richard Conte is the master electrician dying of cancer, who needs to leave some cash for his kid's college...
Cesar Romero is coldly menacing and very amusing: 'They shouldn't have done it while I was in town. It's embarrassing!'
George Raft is the mob with the best deal to get the money back...
Akim Tamiroff is hilariously neurotic as the master planner...
Buddy Lester wants to get his wife out of stripping...
Shirley MacLaine is the drunk gal in urge for a little kiss in a critical moment...
Red Skelton is the unlucky player, arguing with the casino cashier how to raise his gambling limit...
"Ocean's Eleven" could never be made again... The new 'Ocean's Eleven,' 2001 is considerably different in the details.. After all, there was only 'one' Rat Pack, and if the Ocean's Eleven of 1960 is anything, it is certainly a Rat Pack movie... So if you still have a strange fascination with this gang of friends, and like to watch essentially a these guys playing around on screen, and to watch Las Vegas as it looked in 1960, well... check out this nostalgic trip back... You'll never see its like again...
Ocean's 11 never tries to be brilliant and is only sometimes good. The thin
plot is a set up for the "boys" to look sharp (and they sometimes do), sing
songs (which they do well) and to show off 1960 Las Vegas (which by today's
standards looks pretty shabby).
This is a second rate heist story with a few gangsters thrown in. But after all, we have Sinatra and company. You can see that the excellent film, The Rat Pack, was very right on. Sinatra is his arrogant self. Martin is relaxed, Lawford is suave and the singing by Sammy Davis Jr. is great.
Ocean's 11 is a snap shot of what was "cool" in the ultimate era of coolness. It's all here, the clubs, the Marilyn Monroe look a likes, the flashy clothes and lots of money. It's better than imitations such as Swingers since Ocean's 11 is the source. Of course it includes the legendary bad treatment of women and African Americans. The actresses are either add-ons or pathetic martyrs (Angie Dickinson). As for Sammy, he puts up with the garbage man part, a racial slur (all in good fun of course!) and the self centeredness of these guys. I just admire him because he had to do it, so he could perform.
Back to the "fun". The boys get to be clever, then there's a surprise ending and finally we see them shuffle hung over in front of a casino. Every few years I check out Ocean's 11 not just to watch this silly movie but also to see the rats (or brats?) and chuckle (and wince) at an amazing time in the USA, baby.
I remember back in the day when the commercials were out for Ocean's
Eleven it was described as the heist of all time. It wasn't exactly
that, but there is a spirit of camaraderie that is present through out
Frank Sinatra had signed a picture deal with Warner Brothers and was beginning a long term commitment to the Sands in Las Vegas. What better way than to combine everything at once. A film on location in Las Vegas.
So Frank got his pallies together and they filmed Ocean's Eleven in between shows at the Sands. They also managed to get into another film, several of the principal players in Ocean's Eleven did guest shots in Pepe while at the Sands.
Ocean's Eleven has a lighthearted insouciance about it, a group of former Airborne Rangers get together in Las Vegas for a heist of the big casinos carried on with military precision. Why waste all that good airborne training now that they're civilians.
Sinatra doesn't sing in this, I can't imagine why he didn't give himself a song here, but Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. did sing two numbers suited to their talents.
Ocean's Eleven marked the first time that Richard Conte worked in a Sinatra film. He became a Sinatra retainer in his later years, appearing in several Sinatra films. They parted when Conte appeared in The Godfather against Frank's wishes.
After Ocean's Eleven came Sergeants Three with the main cast members appearing again. After that the Rat Pack broke up with these guys going their own way, though many of them did have joint projects together over the years. The quality of the films went down hill, except for Robin and the Seven Hoods. That was a musical and not something to be done in your spare time.
The remake of Ocean's Eleven that George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and several other name players of today did was a far more serious film. Good in its own way, but just not the same.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The original Ocean's 11 will always remain a classic because of the Rat Pack. It is unfair to compare both Ocean 11's movie because of the different cast, different stories, and completely different endings. Still, looking at both films, you can make a case for both why each is better than the other. Frankie, Dean, Sammy, Peter and Tony are all gone now, making the cast of the original legendary. The remake is more realistic as it answers many if not all the questions that the original failed to answer. Even for a Rat Pack movie, the original turns out to be more campy that the remake. The ending alone is worth discussion. In 1960, how wrong is it to have the criminals get away clean? For 2000, it is not only welcomed but rewarded if the "little guy" can out do or cheat the big system. For 1960, the ending of Ocean's 11 advertises that crime does not pay.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ocean's Eleven is the definitive Rat Pack film. I have not seen the remake, but it's hard to imagine a new crew who could pull off a Las Vegas heist like old Frank, Sammy, Dean, and all the rest. Ocean's 11 represents a period of time when the Rat Pack were at the top of their game. I really liked the simplicity of the film, that snappy and campy Rat Pack humor. The film has a great score by Nelson Riddle and the intro/opening credits of the movie were very imaginative for its day. Watching this movie, I was almost rooting for the guys to pull off the heist and get away with it. The movie also features Angie Dickinson, who plays Sinatra's long-suffering wife, Cesar Romero as a shady character who is engaged to Peter Lawford's mother, and Norman Fell (who went on to play Mr. Roper in Three's Company) as one of the Eleven. Shirley Maclaine also has an uncredited cameo. It's definitely a must for any Rat Pack fan!
Two years ago, when I was twelve years old, I watched a video called On
the Town.Uneducated little dunce that I was, before that I'd known only
vaguely of Francis Albert Sinatra. And after spending half the movie
trying to figure out which of the three sailors WAS the Sinatra of whom
I had heard vaguely, I finally decided correctly on the adorable,
skinny one with blue eyes. And promptly after that, I announced to
several uninterested audiences that I was a fan. I am now fourteen. I
have read 60 or 70 biographies on him and his contemporaries, have seen
approximately 25 of his sixty movies, have heard and memorized a
sizable amount of his complete discography, have written quite a few
essays and reviews, and would be more than happy to recite to you a
detailed account of his career, life, and the tremendous gossip and
legends that followed it about.
I think those uninterested parties are starting to believe me.
In any case, I am a definitive Sinatra adorer writing a review for one of his movies, so I'll warn you before hand: it may be a little bit biased, but I'm going to be as honest as I can. All right. You've been warned. Carry on then.
The main problem I've read about in these ''instructive criticism reviews,'' is that this movie moves much too slowly, meaning that for the first hour or so the picture is about Frank and company, not about eleven guys holding up a couple of casinos. I readily admit that, and so much the better. If you expected to see the latter when you saw the posters proclaiming FRANK SINATRA!! DEAN MARTIN! SAMMY DAVIS JR.!!, you are extremely dense and certainly deserve your disappointment. Yes, believe it or not, this is a RAT PACK movie, and as such it happens, by a strange twist of fate, to be about the Rat Pack. Elementary, my dear Watson.
Another complaint involves severe lack of plot.(See above inscription.)
Yet another of the whiners has pouted that none of the cast appears to have much interest in what they're doing. I would like to mention here that, like they themselves modestly pointed out in a gag used frequently on various Vegas stages, they could do this kind of stuff anytime they wanted to. At this moment in time Frank Sinatra was the #1 singer in the country, the #1 box office attraction in the country, one of the highest paid individuals who ever won an Oscar or a Grammy, the biggest draw in Las Vegas, or anywhere else for that matter, had more power than all the Harry Cohns and Louis B.Mayers put together, and was on his way to Camelot with Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The Rat Pack playing at the Sands was such a gigantic draw they were having to turn down thousands of reservations, and when Ocean's 11 was released it immediately made the list for the biggest box office smashes of all time.
In other words,even if the whiner's complaint is true, (and I don't think it is) it's laughable to imagine that the Clan's not especially caring whether or not they won Academy Awards would stop either the success of the movie or (ha) their careers.
Anyway, if they are blasé in the picture, they are the coolest not-caring actors in show business.
There is also a much more serious accusation that many people actually believe. And I honestly believe that this accusation is not true. This rumor involves the color conscious sixties, some allegedly racist jokes, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Yeah, the Rat Pack told some jokes about Sammy. On the Copa Room stage
many an audience would roar at stupid gags like ''Keep smilin' Smoky, so everyone knows where you are" and '' Nat King Cole was a merry old soul.A merry old soul was Nat King Cole.... A merry old COLORED soul,'' and ''Have you noticed how much better it sounds when he does his own people rather than our people?'' And, of course there were the times when Dean would scoop little Sammy up in his arms, waltz forward, and say ''I'd like to thank the NAACP for this trophy.''
Sam, for his own part, would come on after Dean sang ,''Did you ever see a Jew - jitsu? Well, I did.'' and complain on cue ''How would you like it if I said,' Did you ever see a wop-SICLE!!!''
It didn't mean a thing. It wasn't cruel. It was corny, hilarious chatter between three grown-up boys who treated each other - and kidded each other- like brothers. It's only since then that the situation has been contorted into a racial injustice by idiots who are looking for a fight. That's all.
I guess that about sums up the Defence's case, unless the Prosecution has anything it wishes to add. No? All right then.
I love this movie. I'll admit that. I know there is probably a grand total of 3 critics out there who agree with me, but I'm not a critic. I'm a fan. I'll never tire of watching Sam dancing on garbage cans as he sings Ee-o-eleven, or be bored watching Dean, with his nonchalant cool, croon about you-know-what being a kick in the head, and I can't watch that last scene enough where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. stroll past The Sands' sign that advertises.... I'd better not give it away. Watch it yourself.
There are plenty of better movies out there- but there was only one Rat Pack.
And, no matter what anyone say's- They were magic. This is magic.
While other movies try to induce the willing suspension of disbelief,
this movie goes the entire opposite direction and never lets us forget
that these are entertainers putting on a performance. In case you
weren't entirely sure, the closing shot leaves no doubt. As one
reviewer perfectly describes it, "The blurred boundaries between
showbiz and private life seem to have vanished for good." That's quite
The stars aren't acting, they're partying down in an elaborate role-playing game and inviting you the viewer to play along with them. Join the party and for 2 hours you too can be a swinging, sophisticated member of the rat pack who can simultaneously handle a martini and cigarette in one hand and doesn't have to pause for even a second when somebody asks "what's your drink?". "Ocean's Eleven" is the "Pulp Fiction" of the Kennedy era - a movie that makes you feel hip just to watch it.
This version of 'Ocean's 11' hardly needed a plot, did it? Just an extended
ad for the Rat Pack's Vegas shows and the enormous ego of Frank Sinatra,
here strutting his stuff as Danny Ocean, leading his war chums in a plan to
rob numerous casinos in one night.
So we get Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop (did they play characters in this? can anybody remember who?) and a fun romp to the pay off - still getting referenced in films being made today. George Clooney's remake was nowhere near as much fun. There's music in this movie, of course (with that cast you'd be disappointed if not), plus appearances from Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine (uncredited but noticeable), Cesar Romero, and Errol Flynn's widow Patrice Wymore.
This really is a lightweight lark if you're in the mood. Is it a good film? Probably not. Is it good entertainment? Absolutely.
I haven't seen the new remake of this movie yet, but they have some pretty
big shoes to fill. Technically Ocean's Eleven may not be a great film, but
whatever minor plot shortcomings that exist are made up for in spades by
I'm not going to explain the plot, as I'm sure that 50 other people already have. It's been a while since I've watched an older movie, so I found the loose-yet-confident chemistry and acting of the brat pack members to be very refreshing. They seemed so natural around each other, which is no surprise considering that they were buddies in real life. Sammy Davis Jr. was his usual charismatic self (why didn't he take off with the money??), Dean Martin seemed to be playing himself, a bit tipsy and sweaty with a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other, as he does in most of his films, and Frank Sinatra was also good as the understated womanizing organizer. However, I thought that Cesar Romero (known for his manic portayal of the Joker in the 60's Batman tv series) really stole the show right out from under the overly confident brat pack...I found his performance to be very commanding and impressive. A nice surprise to see comedian Red Skelton and Norm Fell (Three's Company's Mr. Roper!) in there as well!
A few things hilariously go unexplained, like how they all managed to get casino jobs virtually overnnight, but it hardly seemed to matter. You know this movie is basically just a vehicle for the brat pack, and it's pure entertainment to just watch all these legends hamming it up, especially during the couple of musical interludes where you get to hear Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. croon a few really catchy songs, like E-O Eleven!
At the same time it's also a window into another era, a time of larger than life Hollywood stars. Another thing that really jumped out at me was how unabashedly politically incorrect this movie is, showcasing a dramatically different mentality than what we see in movies today. Ocean's Eleven is a pure guy flick, where all the women are no more than window dressing and are treated as such by the male characters. As dated as the macho attitude of the film may seem nowadays (and even already by late 60's standards), I found it to be a fascinating glimpse into the past when guys were guys and women were umm, dames! As ironic as it is, I found seeing this old movie without the typical modern day contrived politically correct preaching to be very refreshing, and somehow strangely rebellious!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Please, forget whatever you have heard about this film. It is a very interesting adventure-comedy, very-well directed, decently-acted and intelligently presented. The "Rat PacK' whom singer Frank Sinatra had gathered about him in the late 1950s and early 1960s included singers Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, comic Buddy Lester and Joey Bishop and actor Peter Lawford. This is the best film this group of friends ever made together, one absolutely filled with interesting character revelations, old Sinatra songs used as background and fine co-stars including Ilka Chase, Cesar Romero, Angie Dickinson, Akim Tamiroff, Richard Conte, Henry Silva, Patrice Wymore, Norman Fell, Richard Benedict, Jean Willes, Clem Harvey and George Raft. This effort has very good dialogue, many interesting confrontations between characters and the best portrait of Las Vegas 1960 available anywhere. It also has that rare achievement, style,, and a fascinating plot-theme. Danny Ocean's old outfit from WWII have been home 15 years-- and they are finding there is no place in a corporate-government bureaucratized United States for independent minds--they are all facing a "system" that wants no part of men who think for themselves or want justice and are willing to work to get it. Enter Tamiroff, who plays an idea man--Acevos--who with the help of Sinatra and Lawford concocts a daring plan to rob several Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve of millions of dollars. The plan requires commando-like precision and skills--so Ocean recruits his hungry war buddies, ranging from Conte with a serious heart condition who wants to do something for his son, to Lawford who just wants to recapture the wartime sense of purpose, to bright, talented Sammy Davis, stuck on a garbage truck. The plan is initiated and set into motion step-by-interesting step; but even when it comes off flawlessly, the outfit is not home free. Chase's fiancée, Romero as Duke Santos, a man who plays the percentages and has gone legit is hired by the casinos' owners to find the money for a finder's fee; and he puts two and two together--and comes up with eleven. The surprise climax, as the money, secreted for out-of-town delivery in the coffin of a dead Richard Conte, ends up being burned in a cremation ceremony as the group are present for the funeral is a classic of its sort. Of course, this disaster robs Ocean's team of their proceeds, but keeps Santos from profiting and makes sure they do not go to jail. At the end, the eleven wander into the sunlight, to ponder perhaps another scheme to get the justice that seems to be nowhere for them. The film has a very-special look. with Nelson Riddle's music, Lewis Milestone's veteran direction and a good script as its main underproppings. This is a storyline so strong it can be a mission film, an adventure and a satirical comedy at the same time. its authors can digress, make a joke at their own expense and deliver a telling one-liner with powerful effect. It has characters, warmth, and much more. An unpolished gem.
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