The Mesmerizing Colour Palettes of Oceans 11 (1960)

oceans11

source: Warner Bros

I’ve always had a fascination with Las Vegas – vintage Las Vegas in particular. Vegas always had this aura of mystery and secrecy to me. Despite it being a popular tourist destination, I have always felt that ‘Sin City’ was reserved for gangsters, ruffians and showgirls that were desperately looking to con you out of your money. That’s the thing about Vegas, because it has this shiny facade of colours and wealth, we don’t see that seedy underbelly underneath all of the glitz and glamour.

Come to think of it, that’s the perfect way to summerize the 1960 heist film Ocean’s 11. Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Angie Dickinson otherwise known as ‘The Rat Pack’, Ocean’s 11 is basically a 2 hour self-congratulatory movie made to showcase how awesome it is to robe few casino with 10 of your closests friends.

It’s a very enjoyable flick, don’t get me wrong. It’s so enjoyable that I even have this poster of the movie on my bedroom wall. The problem with Ocean’s is that it isn’t the best plot wise. There tends to be a ton of moments in the film where there’s a lot of standing and talking, talking and standing. That would be great if it were a courtoom drama, but for an action-adventure picture, it gets tired very quickly.

That’s where the cinematography comes in.

What’s so great about Ocean’s 11 is the way it looks. The movie’s cinematographer William H. Daniels did such a fantastic on job this movie that the cinematography makes up for what the plot lacks. The vivid colours contrasted with the black backgrounds is something I would frame and put in my livingroom.

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source: Warner Bros

oceans11-5

source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

As you can see above, there are dozens of instances in the film where the contrasts of colour are breathtaking. Even though I don’t necessarily enjoy certain aspects of the movie, the cinematography more than makes up for what the script is lacking. That’s what so great about this movie. It’s fun, slow-paced and doesn’t take it self too seriously. If you have the chance to watch it on TCM or buy it on DVD, it’s undoubtably a great movie to cozy up with on a Saturday evening, paired with your your favorite beverage and a nice bowl of popcorn.

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