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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:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English Monaural
French Monaural
German Monaural
Castellian Monaural
Portuguese Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
German
Castillian
Portuguese
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Swedish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Portuguese
Castillian
German
French

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 11/9/2010

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Actor Angie Dickinson
• Interactive Map of Vegas
• Tropicana Museum Vignette
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.


Ocean's 11 [Blu-Ray] (1960)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 9, 2011)

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. As designed 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 the DVD came out in 2001, I plopped it in my player Ė and made it maybe 20 minutes into the flick. For reasons I canít recall nine years later, I just couldnít get involved in the tale, so I bailed.

Iím not sure why I didnít try again after I saw the remake in 2002; I guess I remembered the specifics of my disinterest in the original too well to hazard another stab. Now that Iíve made it all the way through the 1960 version, I can say for sure what I assumed over the last nine 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 edition 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 2001, 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 Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Oceanís Eleven appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1. The transfer consistently looked pretty terrific.

Sharpness became one of the more satisfying aspects of the picture. A smidgen of softness crept into a few wide shots, but these were minor. The movie usually looked tight and concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. As for print flaws, I saw a couple of small specks but that was it; this was a clean movie the vast majority of the time.

Colors were quite good, though not outstanding. Given the Vegas setting, we got a broad palette, and the hues were pretty peppy and vivid. Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity. The movie came with a very nice visual presentation.

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.

How do the picture and audio of the Blu-ray compare to those of the DVD from 2001? I thought both soundtracks were similar, as the lossless Blu-ray audio couldnít do much to add pizzazz to a 50-year-old mono mix.

However, visuals demonstrated a marked improvement. The Blu-ray was substantially cleaner, tighter and more vivid than the DVD. This was a pretty remarkable step up in quality.

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. 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 a Tropicana Museum Vignette. This one-minute, 40-second snippet provides notes from Legends of Las Vegas Museum curator Steven Cutler as he discusses the location. Itís nothing more than an advertisement, really.

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 Blu-ray provides good audio, excellent visuals and a small set of supplements highlighted by a mostly enjoyable commentary. The movie bores me, but I feel pleased with this Blu-ray.

To rate this film, visit the original review of OCEAN'S 11 (1960)

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