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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Lewis Milestone
Cast:
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, Richard Conte, Cesar Romero, Joey Bishop
Writing Credits:
George Clayton Johnson (story), Jack Golden Russell (story), Harry Brown, Charles Lederer

Tagline:
You wouldn't call it a gang. Just Danny Ocean and his 11 pals - the night they blew all the lights in Las Vegas!

Synopsis:
New Year's Eve in Las Vegas. Roulette wheels spin, cards snap, slots chime, champagne fizzes, the shows go on...and the lights go out. It's the perfect time to steal a kiss or a $25 chip. But for Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) and his 10 partners in crime, it's the perfect moment to steal millions.

Sinatra and off-screen pals Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and more play army buddies who devise a scheme to knock out power to the Vegas strip, electronically rig five big casino vaults and raid them all at the same instant. Packed with location-lensed glamour, sweaty suspense, swinging comedy and a stunning twist ending!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Monaural
French Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 1/8/2002

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Actor Angie Dickinson
• ďCast and CrewĒ Filmographies
• Interactive Map of Vegas
Tonight Show With Guest Host Frank Sinatra Clip
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Ocean's 11 (1960)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 13, 2010)

After a recent re-screening of 2001ís delightful remake, I decided it was finally time to check out the original 1960 version of Oceanís Eleven. Former Army sergeant Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) teams with his lieutenant Jimmy Foster (Peter Lawford) to reunite all their old buddies from WWII.

Why? To stage a crime. Via a scheme plotted by noted hood Spyros Acebos (Akim Tamiroff), ďOceanís ElevenĒ will stage a blackout on New Yearís Eve and rob five of the biggest Las Vegas casinos. We follow the planning and execution of the heist along with the inevitable complications.

Although this viewing marked my first time through the 1960 Eleven, that doesnít mean it was my initial attempt. When this DVD came out in 2002, I plopped it in my player Ė and made it maybe 20 minutes into the flick. For reasons I canít recall eight years later, I just couldnít get involved in the tale, so I bailed.

Now that Iíve made it all the way through the 1960 version, I can say for sure what I assumed over the last eight years: itís a snoozer!

I really donít want to compare the two versions, so Iíll try to avoid that trend. In a slightly positive vein, I actually think my awareness of the 2001 film helped get me through the original, if just because it smoothed out the movieís slow intro. While the two flicks arenít really terribly similar, they share the same basic plot. My knowledge of where the story would go allowed me endure the plodding set-up on display here. Back in 2002, I probably got so frustrated with the lethargy that I bailed, but my understanding of the tale from the remake propped me up as I waited for the original to go anywhere.

Iíve watched all 127 minutes of the 1960 Eleven, but Iím still waiting. The movie uses more than 40 percent of its running time before it even begins to discuss the heist, but then it rushes through that side of things. Virtually all the fun to be found in a flick like this stems from the robbery, but Eleven wonít give us such pleasures. The lead-up and execution of the robbery offer shockingly little tension or excitement; they seem to exist out of necessity and not much else.

Can someone explain to me the purpose of the subplot that involves Oceanís estranged wife Bea (Angie Dickinson)? I know I said I didnít want to compare the two versions, but the 2001 edition makes the relationship between Danny and his wife an important part of the story. Here itís so inconsequential that itís useless; the movie would work just as well without any mention of a spouse.

If a heist movie doesnít deliver an interesting heist, where is it supposed to entertain? I suspect weíre simply supposed to be delighted by the Sinatra and all his Rat Pack buddies. At times the movie feels like two hours of smoking, drinking and hipster lingo. Iím not sure I believe the production enjoyed an actual script; it all comes across like it was conceived and shot over a long weekend.

Wasnít the remake the one that was supposed to be a bunch of pals on a lark? The original is the version that plays that way. So loose it nearly becomes incoherent, Oceanís Eleven fails to deliver the hip fun it promises. Instead, it gives us a dull, rambling caper flick without much life or excitement. The movie has a clever conclusion, but itís not enough to redeem the mediocrity that precedes it.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Oceanís Eleven appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer came with a mix of problems but usually looked pretty good.

Sharpness became one of the more satisfying aspects of the picture. Yeah, wide shots lacked great clarity, and some mild edge haloes affected definition. Nonetheless, the movie showed generally nice delineation and satisfied most of the time.

Shimmering and jaggies remained minor, but print flaws were a consistent area of concern. Throughout the film, I noticed examples of specks, marks, lines, blotches and other defects. Though these werenít extreme, they did create distractions, and the movie definitely couldíve used a better clean-up.

Colors were fairly good, though not outstanding. Given the Vegas setting, the movie couldíve offered more dynamic hues, while these tended to be a little flat. Nonetheless, the colors were usually pleasing; they werenít as strong as Iíd like, but they were nice. Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity. The source defects nearly made this a ďCĒ-level transfer, but I liked enough of it to bolster it to ďB-ď.

As for the monaural soundtrack of Eleven, it worked just fine given its age and ambitions. Speech was the weakest link, though. The line consistently appeared intelligible enough, but the movie showed a lot of awkward dubbing; this made the mix less natural than Iíd like.

Music lacked much heft, but the score and songs were acceptably lively and full. Effects also showed decent clarity. Those elements didnít pack much of a punch, but they were fairly accurate and tight. No issues with source noise occurred. I thought the audio was good enough for a ďB-ď.

A few extras fill out the package. The most significant comes via an audio commentary from Frank Sinatra, Jr. and actor Angie Dickinson. She doesnít pop up until her character appears onscreen, and she doesnít offer a lot of info as the flick proceeds. Dickinson gives us a few notes about how she came onto the film as well as her thoughts about the Rat Packers.

Sinatra does most of the work here, and he makes this a decent discussion. He tells us about the original novelís adaptation and story issues, cast and performances, Vegas of the period, sets and locations, music, and the filmís reception. I find it oddly disconcerting that he usually calls his dad ďSinatraĒ, and the track suffers from more dead air than Iíd like, but the junior Frank delivers a reasonable amount of worthwhile info. He combines a film historian side with the immediacy of a ďyou are thereĒ perspective and delivers a fairly enjoyable track.

An Interactive Map of Vegas gives us some short video snippets. These come for the Sands, the Desert Inn, the Flamingo, the Riviera and the Sahara. Each one lasts between one minute, 25 seconds and four minutes, 50 seconds for a total of 17 minutes, 10 seconds. Across these, we hear from dancer/dealer Joey Tomaszewski, cocktail waitresses Doreen Leonard and Patty Schmidtberger, showgirl Margo Tomaszewski, Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson, and auditor Carmen A. Peterson. They provide some memories of Vegas circa the 1950s/1960s, thoughts about the Rat Packers, and changes to the town since then. A lot of this falls under the heading of general nostalgia, but we still find some interesting tales in these enjoyable featurettes.

(Note that those comments apply to all the clips except for the one about the Sahara. For reasons unknown, it doesnít include remarks from current/former employees. Instead, it plays more like an ad for the hotel.)

A cool archival extra, we locate a clip from The Tonight Show With Guest Host Frank Sinatra. The piece lasts three minutes, 46 seconds; Sinatra chats with Dickinson here. They tell us a little about their experiences together in this short but enjoyable piece. (Note that their discussion gives away the movieís ending, so donít watch it until youíve viewed the whole film.)

In addition to two Trailers, the disc includes Cast and Crew Filmographies. We find these for Sinatra, Dickinson, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and Peter Lawford.

On the list of ďremakes that surpass the originalsĒ, weíll have to include the 2001 version of Oceanís Eleven. The 1960 edition has a fun concept and some legends in its cast, but itís downright dull and fails to deliver an enjoyable experience. The DVD provides decent to good picture and audio as well as some minor extras highlighted by a generally likable commentary. Oceanís Eleven isnít an awful movie, but itís a fairly boring disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.25 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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