Ocean’s 11

Ocean’s 11 (1960)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson
Extras: Commentary Track, Las Vegas Vignettes, TV Footage, Trailers, Profiles

With all the publicity surrounding Steven Soderbergh’s remake of the classic movie, I was eager to see the original ’Ocean’s 11,’ featuring the Rat Pack, also known as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford. It is the story of a group of former army buddies who plan to rob five casinos on the Las Vegas strip at the same time. A heist, so daring, not even they really believe it could be done. But their plan seems so good that they give it a shot anyway.

Warner Home Video is presenting the 1960 version of ’Ocean’s 11’ in a beautiful widescreen presentation on this DVD in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The image is surprisingly clean and clear without notable defects or blemishes. Occasional grain is evident but never distracting and comparably little given the film’s age. Colors are beautifully rendered, giving the entire movie a silky look that is very detailed. Edges are nicely delineated and mostly without edge-enhancement. Blacks are deep, giving the image a lot of depth, while highlights are well counter-balanced. The compression is without flaws, creating a superb presentation of this classic film.

The DVD contains the movie’s original mono audio track in English, as well as a French dub. Given the technical limitations of the time it is hardly surprising that the audio track comes across as somewhat restricted but nonetheless, the audio is fully sufficient for the movie, adding to its vintage atmosphere and no notable distortion or sibilance mars the presentation. Overall it is a good track without defects or noise.

The DVD also contains a few very exciting in special features, such as a commentary track that features Frank Sinatra Jr. and Angie Dickinson that offers quite some insight in the magic and chemistry of the Rat Pack. Also part of the disc is are vignettes that highlight the casinos from the movie now and then. And excerpt from the Johnny Carson show is also part of the release, rounding it out nicely together with trailers and cast profiles.

’Ocean’s 11’ is a marvelous movie that has an atmosphere that is impossible to escape. Whether it’s the acting, the characters or just the mesmerizing fact to see so much of Las Vegas in the 60s, everything about this film is charming. I haven’t seen the remake yet, but one thing is sure, this original is hard to beat. Crime caper movies don’t get much better than this and with its cool cast and the wicked ending, this film is memorable and extremely entertaining. Make sure to give it a try!