The remake of Ocean's Eleven in 2001, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon could hold a candle to the original production with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.View attachment 48792
Ocean's Eleven from 1960 with Frank Sinatra, his Rat Pack and a bunch of other stars
I had never seen this one before (other than ten minutes here and there), but having just read a Frank Sinatra biography (see comments here: #814 ) that talked about this movie, when it popped up on TCM, I hit record.
I'm glad I did. Yes, it's silly and contrived, but it's not hiding any of that. This is a personality movie - you either like Sinatra, his crew and their Rat-Pack-ness or not. The fun is seeing the stars - Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. - basically play themselves (or, at least, their public personas) with nonchalance but not mockery.
The plot is simple enough: a group of WWII 182 Airborne Division vets, a decade and a half after the war, are pulled together by their former leader, Sinatra, to execute a heist of the five major casinos in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve. And the plot serves its purpose to give these guys a reason to be in a movie together, wear cool clothes, say cool things and run around a cool town.
Each star plays to type: Sinatra is the bit-angry, bit-sarcastic, but caring leader with women troubles (a reason to bring in hot-thing-of-the-moment Angie Dickinson who never gets to really do anything in the movie); Martin is relaxed cool; Lawford is the rich boy only in on the heist so that he doesn't have to keep asking his mother for money and Davis Jr. is the funny, smart guy who gets the joke all along but stays in on the heist out of camaraderie.
And in his best role ever (that I've seen him in), Cesar Romero plays a "retired" professional crook, now Lawford's rich mother's fiance who's tasked by the local sheriff with sussing out the who and what of the heist after the fact. It's kind of like the Rat Pack's father shows up to teach the boys a lesson. Romero is completely comfortable in his role, neither under nor over playing it, and seemingly having as much fun as the Rat Pack "boys" were.
The denouement is enjoyable, if not that original, with the closing shot so iconic that Tarantino riffed on it thirty-plus years later in Reservoir Dogs. I'm sure the public got the movie's joke at the time - just enjoy Sinatra and his buddies having fun and looking cool in Vegas and don't worry too much about the rest of it.
And that might be why it's aged pretty well as it was never a serious effort in the first place. It's a time capsule of early '60s cool when "cool" meant well-tailored dark suits, skinny ties, smoking, Vegas, cocktails in tumblers and crooners. By the end of the decade, all that would look "square," but it was cool in its day and it's cool to look back at it now.
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I've never seen the remake and, after having seen the original, am indifferent to seeing it.The remake of Ocean's Eleven in 2001, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon could hold a candle to the original production with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.
I wholeheartedly concur with the post above. In my post #442 above, I intended to say the remake could not hold a candle to the original movie. Alas I left out the critical word NOT! Sorry about that.I've never seen the remake and, after having seen the original, am indifferent to seeing it.
The original is special because of the actors and place at that time; the story was unimportant. Hence a remake is basically taking the least important element of the original movie - the story - and using that as the basis for a new movie - meh.
I have nothing against the remake and might watch it if it happens to come on when I'm flipping through channels or something. Although, your comment isn't encouraging me.
A more interesting concept would be to make a movie about the making of the original movie that focused on Frank's and the others' lives at the time they made "Ocean's Eleven."
Then you'd have a story to tell as Frank and Sammy both had some serious stuff going on in their lives at that time and you'd also have the fun of recreating a wonderful time and place. Expand the timeline and you could even make it into at TV series today.
I got it from context especially since I make typos, leave words out, etc., all the time.I wholeheartedly concur with the post above. In my post #442 above, I intended to say the remake could not hold a candle to the original movie. Alas I left out the critical word NOT! Sorry about that.
As always you review is informative and well written, but given your past reviews, that is what we've come to expect from you with your current offering(s). However, the incredible level of detail(s) you are able to incorporate in your reviews is truly remarkable. I would have to watch a movie at least a half dozen times to be able to recall the level of detail you routinely report. With all sincerity I greatly respect that ability!View attachment 49108
This Land is Mine from 1943 with Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak, George Sanders and Kent Smith
The word propaganda, like so many things, has been tainted by its association with Nazi Germany, but its core meaning - promoting a particular, usually political, point of view - is also part of what we call freedom of speech.
It's dangerous when the state - as in Nazi Germany - controls speech and promotes only its point of view, hence the taint, but in a free society, where everyone advocates for his or her own beliefs, everyone, effectively, is propagandizing for his or her own viewpoint and ideas.
So it is as a compliment that I say, This Land is Mine is outstanding propaganda.
"Some town" in Europe is occupied by the Germans, but as the Germans did in several places, they wanted this to be a "soft" occupation where they collaborate with willing locals to leave a patina of self-governance in place. Many opportunistic and many just understandably scared locals go along, but a few resist by printing an underground newspaper while others physically resist through sabotage.
Cowardly mamma's boy and schoolteacher Charles Laughton plays by the new rules and looks the other way until his hero, the school's headmaster, is arrested for promoting "unacceptable" ideas at the school. Later, the headmaster is chosen as one of ten hostages to be executed by the Germans in retaliation for a murdered-by-the-resistance German soldier.
Laughton, meanwhile, stumbles upon the body of a collaborator, George Sanders, whose conscience drove him to suicide after he turned his fiance's brother in for sabotage and the brother is killed trying to avoid arrest. Laughton, having found the body, is then arrested and charged with the murder of the collaborator. Adding to the complications, the collaborator's fiancé is a school teacher, Maureen O'Hara, with whom Laughton has been secretly in love.
This brings Laughton into direct conflict with the town's Nazi overseer beautifully played by Walter Slezak. Slezak is no cardboard Nazi thug. He's an educated man who quotes and clearly respects the leading philosophers of Western Civilization; a man who would prefer not to use force, not to kill the innocent. But he is also a shrewd and, when necessary, ruthless Nazi willing to kill ten innocent locals in retaliation for one murdered German soldier - order must be maintained.
Slezak doesn't want to have Laughton put on trial, but if he must be tried and found guilty of murder to maintain the fiction that the collaborator's death wasn't a suicide, then, so be it. Having the public know that collaborators are committing suicide over guilt is not in the Nazi's interest.
It takes two thirds of this better-than-average WWII propaganda film to get to this point, but then it only gets much, much better.
With his fears almost realized, Laughton, on trial in an all but rigged court for a murder he didn't commit, finds his inner fortitude, in part, when he sees, from his jail cell awaiting trial, his former headmaster executed in the prison's yard by the Nazis.
In dramatic courtroom fashion, with the prosecutor screaming to have his defense speech shut down, Laughton - disheveled, a bit nervous, but clearly not scared anymore - quietly and methodically exposes and dissects the evil of the Nazi occupation, the hypocrisy of the collaborators and his own cowardice to date.
It's not only a speech of hammering logic, it's a tour-de-force acting performance as you forget everything else as this fat, rumpled and awkward man single-handedly eviscerates all the evil fictions holding the town in its grip. And just when you think he has nothing left, this shy man, who's never expressed romantic love or passion for another in his entire life, in open court, declares his love for O'Hara and, at this point, you realize she's a lucky woman.
But there's still a little more movie left. Despite being knocked back on their heels with their immorality exposed by Laughton, Nazis are gonna Nazi, so they respond with brutal force. And Laughton is given one last moment before the inevitable, which he uses to teach his students the value of keeping the ideals of freedom and individual liberty alive in your head and heart even if all around you others are trying to stomp them out. Basically, he teaches that a book can be burned, but an idea can't be removed from your mind.
Is it propaganda? Sure, and This Land is Mine should be darn proud of it.
Thank you very much - that's very nice of you to say. If you do see the movie, I think you'll enjoy it - it's a really good one.As always you review is informative and well written, but given your past reviews, that is what we've come to expect from you with your current offering(s). However, the incredible level of detail(s) you are able to incorporate in your reviews is truly remarkable. I would have to watch a movie at least a half dozen times to be able to recall the level of detail you routinely report. With all sincerity I greatly respect that ability!
Blazing Saddles and Caddy Shack are both great movies and the old Drive In theaters, featuring box seats as we sait in our respective vehicles, allow one to see such entertainment in a public venue and still maintain the social distancing required by the Pandemic. Here's hoping you all have a lot of fun!Maybe not "best movies", but still great: a drive-in, about twenty miles away, has a double feature tonight! Blazing Saddles and Caddyshack! The Missus wants to go! Maybe a triple feature!
Chaperoning will be provided by GRAND KIDS!!!!!!Blazing Saddles and Caddy Shack are both great movies and the old Drive In theaters, featuring box seats as we sait in our respective vehicles, allow one to see such entertainment in a public venue and still maintain the social distancing required by the Pandemic. Here's hoping you all have a lot of fun!