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OCEAN’S 11 (1960)

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Discussion before

Few films capture the essence of “cool” as well as this 1960 heist film, the second to bring together members of The Rat Pack (after 1958’s Some Came Running), and the only one to feature the entire crew: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson and Shirley MacLaine. Sinatra leads a group of ex-paratroopers with an ingenious plan for robbing five Las Vegas casinos at once. Lawford found the story and bought the rights hoping to get William Holden to star. Instead, it became a showcase for Sinatra and his pals, who ad-libbed their way through the film, often to the consternation of director Lewis Milestone. He also had to contend with conflicting actors’ schedules and Sinatra’s tendency to direct his co-stars. The film was met with only mixed reviews, partly because it was morally ahead of its time. Critics considered the comic focus on a bunch of crooks amoral. Yet it also became Sinatra’s top-grossing film. It inspired a spate of heist films in the 1960s, including How to Steal a Million (1966) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), not to mention the highly profitable remake starring George Clooney in 2001, its sequels and a 2018 all-female spinoff. (d. Lewis Milestone, 127m, Digital)

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