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Ocean's 11 (1960)

The original 1960 Rat Pack heist flick plays with the deck stacked in its favor but shrugs off all charges with its easygoing charms. Frank Sinatra stars as Danny Ocean, enlisted by a fussy ex-con (Akim Tamiroff) to coordinate an elaborate heist. Ocean, in turn, recruits 10 former army buddies for the audacious task of knocking over the five big Las Vegas casinos during a 15-minute New Year's Eve blackout. While the clever plotting abuses every advantage against credibility, watching Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Richard Conte, Joey Bishop, Norman Fell, Henry Silva and others saunter their cool way through an audacious crime is giddy fun, only slowed down by a long first hour with a tad too much in the way of unnecessary character development — development that not only doesn't pay off, but which is swiftly discarded once the laughably easy heist is underway. Lewis Milestone's direction captures the effortless cool of its cast, while the screenplay by Harry Brown and Charles Lederer is packed with tight, snappy, fun dialogue. Also with Angie Dickson and Cesar Romero. Warner's anamorphic transfer of Ocean's 11 (2.35:1) provides a vivid recreation of the film's bright Technicolor palette, with only a moment or two of noticeable source damage. Nelson Riddle's excellent ring-a-dingy score sounds terrific in a Dolby Digital mono remix. The disc also sports some surprisingly good extras. On the commentary track Frank Sinatra, Jr. — a teenager at the time of shooting — recollects about his father (to whom he refers as "Sinatra"), while cast member Dickinson also chimes in. Also included is a low-quality but interesting video clip from Sinatra's appearance as guest host on "The Tonight Show" during which he interviews Dickinson several years after the film's release. Of lesser interest, but still nice, are an interactive map of Rat Pack-era Las Vegas with brief vignettes on each of the major casinos, and a hidden clip about "The Casino Legends Hall of Fame." Trailers, snap-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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