Scott Marks noon, Jan. 11
- Rated NR | 2 hours, 7 minutes
- View trailer
Frank Sinatra and a group of Korean war buddies regroup to knock over the five major Las Vegas casinos at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s a chance to ring-a-ding-ding in the New Year in style with the Rat Pack. That's style as in sartorial nuance — freshly mowed alpaca sweaters, pocket squares that never match neckties, tuxedos by Sy Devore, etc. — not telling a story with pictures. Warner Bros. never struck a 35mm print for revival bookings. It wasn’t until the film made its debut on DVD that many of us saw it in the widescreen format for the first time since its initial release. Frank Sinatra was allergic to retakes making it impossible for director Lewis Milestone to fret over formal finesse. In this case, the Telecine op did Milestone a favor by trimming the wasted side space. The titular superfluity of swingers includes Chairman Sinatra, Dean “Barometer of Hip” Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. (a garbage collector whose truck is cleaner than most people’s homes), Joey “Putting Green Coiffure” Bishop, Richard “Big Casino” Conte, a torturously post-synched Akim Tamiroff, Richard Benedict (a bald guy nicknamed “Curly”), Clem Harvey as the gang’s resident Mormon cowpoke, the power of Norman Fell, the perpetually outranked Peter Lawford, a whipped Buddy Lester, and the divine presence of Henry Silva. As Duke Santos – Lawford’s fortunate step-father and the man responsible for the caper’s eventual undoing – Cesar Romero out-cools all eleven hipsters combined. Angie Dickinson holds her own as Sinatra’s ex, but for the most part this primer on misogyny is stocked with decorative hot and cold running broads eager to give instant neck rubs and quick to listen after the first “beat it.” Not wanting to lead your expectations in the wrong direction, I’m hesitant to mention it was photographed by Garbo’s favorite cameraman, Lee Garmes. And what’s basically an excuse for Sinatra and his pals to have a swinging’ time on Warner Bros. dime concludes with a powerhouse plot twist. Ain't that a kick in the head? 1960.