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)