Danny Ocean (Sinatra), a gambler and war veteran, calls together 10 of his scattered Army buddies to assist in the holdup of five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve. He outlines the plan to a nightclub singer (Martin), a playboy (Lawford), a master electrician just released from prison (Richard Conte) [and the rest of his friends, informing them] that there will be no gunplay, but the job will be pulled off while a dynamited power tower blacks out Las Vegas. Although the holdup goes off without a hitch, a former racketeer (Cesar Romero in a smash performance) gets suspicious and threatens to expose Ocean unless he gets 50 percent of the loot.
The screenplay by Harry Brown and Charles Lederer is often a makeshift affair with too much footage devoted to planning the fantastic robbery and not enough to developing the 11 main characters, but Lewis Milestone, who produced as well as directed, keeps interests alive and builds up to an exciting climax.
Sinatra remains in the background for much of the action and sings nary a note while Martin warbles “Ain't That a Kick in the Head.”
Sinatra and his nightclub pals, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. et. al., have received wide publicity in news columns. [Tie in with] music stores, [using] window displays of record albums. Lawford has been much in the news as brother-in-law of Democrat John Kennedy.
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