New on Blu-ray: Ocean’s 11 (1960)

The boys are back in town. The original boys, that is. We’re talking Sinatra, Martin, and Davis (ably backed by Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop), and of course, Angie Dickinson bringing the va-va-voom as Sinatra’s long-suffering wife. If you needed a token girl for your movie and you can get a 1960s-era Angie Dickinson, you’ve pretty much hit the jackpot. Before Clooney and Pitt, there was the Rat Pack and 1960’s “Ocean’s 11”, which recently made its Blu-ray debut from Warner Home Video.

New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. Roulette wheels spin, cards snap, slots chime, champagne fizzes, 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 10 partners in crime, it’s the ideal moment to steal millions. Sinatra and off-screen pals Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and more play army buddies who 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 now in gorgeous hi-def, Ocean’s 11 is your entertainment best bet.

Movie Review:

Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake might have had style to burn, but Lewis Milestone’s 1960 original sure doesn’t lag too far behind. Of course, the powerhouse cast of three of the biggest names in movies and music at the time certainly didn’t hurt. What’s Clooney and Pitt got? Movie careers? Pfft. Sinatra, Martin, and Davis had that, and music, too.

With New Years closing in, Danny Ocean (Sinatra) hatches a heist involving five of Las Vegas’ casinos, utlilizing paratroopers from his old Army unit, each one with a very specific set of skills that will be needed to carry out the daring caper. A slick, well-shot and stylish caper that believably translates the real-life relationships of the stars onto the screen (was it really this cool to hang out with thes guys in real life? We can only imagine), “Ocean’s 11” is generally considered to the first official Rat Pack movie. The Chairman easily holds top dog position, but Cesar Romero is just as fantastic as the menacing “reformed gangster” Duke Santos.

And the ending? I won’t spoil it, but it’s definitely one of the best heist film endings of all time. (Note: don’t watch the Tonight Show bonus in the special features section before you watch the movie, because it gives away the ending.)

If you ever wanted to know what it was like being a part of the Rat Pack in the ’60s, “Ocean’s 11” is probably as close as you’ll get. The boys would dust off their Las Vegas glitz for more dusty climes in “Sergeants 3” and “4 for Texas”, but this is them at their best — the beasts in their natural habitat, if you will. Are they essentially playing more criminal versions of themselves? I’d say yeah, but that takes absolutely nothing away from the film.

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • Commentary by Frank Sinatra Jr. and Angie Dickinson: Sinatra Jr.’s commentary is interesting, in that it comes across as more of a professor breaking down the movie than the “shoot the breeze” type of commentary you usually get nowadays. It’s filled with information, so if you ever wanted to know everything that was to know about the “Ocean’s 11”, watching it with Sinatra Jr.’s commentary is a must. Angie Dickinson’s part of the commentary track doesn’t kick until the 30 minute mark.
  • Interactive Las Vegas Then and Now Map with Casino Vignettes
  • The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Excerpt Featuring Guest Host Frank Sinatra and Guest Angie Dickinson: 3:45 mins. A very sweet reunion between Sinatra and Dickinson years after “Ocean’s 11”. Too bad the video quality is pretty bad. On the plus side, Sinatra recounts how the film’s ending came about.
  • Two Original Theatrical Trailers