Ocean's 11 (1960)
June 1, 2018 6:54 PM - Subscribe

Danny Ocean gathers a group of his World War II compatriots to pull off the ultimate Las Vegas heist. Together the eleven friends plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night.

Rotten Tomatoes: During a Los Angeles Christmas, a group of 82nd Airborne vets assembles under the leadership of gamblin' man Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) to rip off five Las Vegas casinos just after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day. Playboy Jimmy Foster (Peter Lawford) joins in the scheme because he's sick of needing his oft-married mother's money, especially now that she's about to wed Duke Santos (Cesar Romero), a self-made man with all sorts of underworld ties. After he receives the news that he could die at any time, newly released convict Anthony Bergdorf (Richard Conte) reluctantly agrees to participate so he can leave some money to his estranged wife and young son. Ocean's own wife, Beatrice (Angie Dickinson), doesn't think much of her husband's promise of a big score to come, but her quiet protests don't dissuade him. With Las Vegas garbage man and fellow vet Josh Howard (Sammy Davis Jr.) and several casino employees among their number, the titular band of thieves have just a few days to get ready for their caper. When Duke Santos, Jimmy's mother, and one of Ocean's discarded paramours all show up in Sin City at the same time as the veterans, the crew's perfect plans face some serious hurdles.

Empire: The Rat Pack! Broads! Mobsters! Gambling! And then they went to work!

Leaving aside the superior Soderbergh version, the making of Lewis Milestone's 1960 Las Vegas heist caper would make a much more interesting movie than the knockabout comedy on offer here. Indeed, the double duties pulled by the principal cast during the shoot (playing two shows a night at The Sands) are evident in the sluggish pace, sleepy performances and narrative stitched together out of whatever scenes Sinatra showed up for.

Still, there are many incidental pleasures to be had, not least Sammy (cast as a garbage man, apparently because Sinatra was feeling spiteful) singing E-O-Eleven, Dean swinging the old Sahara lounge, Nelson Riddle's sizzling score and some neat hipster dialogue.

From smokes to suits, you get a real flavour of Las Vegas while it was still cool - all of it beautifully shot by the veteran cinematographer William Daniels.


Streaming: [1] [2]

Filming Locations

Art of the Title

In defense of the original “Ocean’s 11″

Vanity Fair: Back in the days when Vegas was dangerous and everybody smoked and drank, the Rat Pack ruled. Contemporary pop culture is still under their influence—in movies, clothes, and music.
posted by MoonOrb (13 comments total)
Is there an official Heist Movie Club? I want in!
posted by rhizome at 7:18 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Unfortunately the first rule of Heist Club is.. well, I've said too much already..
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:30 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Maybe not a great movie, but that bummer ending--the dawning realization at the memorial--is perfect.
posted by duffell at 2:37 AM on June 2, 2018

Well then I suppose I might just steal Heist Club if it's gonna be that way!
posted by rhizome at 10:16 AM on June 2, 2018

Heist Movie Club! There are some good ones in there.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:30 PM on June 3, 2018

I wonder if Soderbergh ever contemplating using 2001-era top Vegas acts for the leading roles of his remake. I think I would have quite liked a hiest movie starring Charo, Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, Tom Jones, Celine Dion and The Blue Man Group.
posted by rongorongo at 11:13 PM on June 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

I think I would have quite liked a heist movie starring Charo, Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, Tom Jones, Celine Dion and The Blue Man Group.

Holy shit -- this really needs to happen.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:22 AM on June 6, 2018

Cannonball Run Away With Stuff
posted by phearlez at 8:20 AM on June 7, 2018

It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World
posted by rhizome at 12:52 PM on June 7, 2018

Interesting article on the future of the heist movie - in the light of the release of Oceans 8. Is it still honest -or bankable- for film makers to depict on screen theft as a basically victimless crime? (Other than the off clobbered security guard, the battered dignity of the casino owner and the poor saps at the insurance company).
posted by rongorongo at 10:46 PM on June 10, 2018

This writer is just gonna look to the side and pretend there haven’t been a lorry full of grifter fiction out of the UK over the years huh?
posted by phearlez at 6:55 PM on June 11, 2018

It's an interesting argument;
1. Heists are robberies, which are crimes.
2. Crimes are committed by people who think they are above the law.
3. People who think they are above the law include Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein.
4. Kids these days are raised on superheros (unlike other kids since the 40s) they know that crime doesn't pay.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:47 PM on June 11, 2018

This writer is just gonna look to the side and pretend there haven’t been a lorry full of grifter fiction out of the UK over the years huh?
She does mention the Guy Ritchie genre of "caper" films as a particular example. This is germane just now in the UK since we have figures such as Arron Banks depicting themselves as cheeky scamps - the Bad Boys of Brexit - plucky David's against a bureaucratic EU Goliath - rather than a partner in crime to a corrupt Goliath in a scam where the general population prove to be the marks.
posted by rongorongo at 3:53 AM on June 12, 2018

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