You wouldn’t call it a gang. Just Danny Ocean and his 11 pals – the night they blew all the lights in Las Vegas!
Sands casino Sinatra is his least appealing alter ego here. He is cocky, smug and vulgar as he consorts with his showbiz pals on stage and with some dubious individuals off it.
Nevertheless, it’s compelling to watch Sinatra strut through this slick heist caper, which was offered to him by Clan confederate and presidential brother-in-law Peter Lawford, who also found roles for fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Joey Bishop, as eleven wartime buddies plotting to hit five casinos during a New Year’s Eve blackout.
It wasn’t hard work for Frank and his pals. They worked on the film for 25 days, dividing their time between set, casino, steam room and bar. “One-take Frank” showed up on set for nine of the days. He got $30,000 for the story, $200,000 for the nine days, and a third of the gross.
Lewis Milestone, veteran of All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) but lately reduced to shooting for TV, was ostensibly the director but mostly threw up his hands and let the “talent” get on with it. The Chairman of the Board ran the show behind the scenes, and it’s tempting to think that his superficial depiction against the gaudy glamour of early 60s Las Vegas was disgruntled Milestone’s sly revenge.
Sammy Davis Jr
George ‘Curly’ Steffans