Between 1960 and 1964 the Rat Pack made four movies; but none of these films was ever going to win an award! As Sinatra said... "Of course they're not great movies! But we are not setting out to make Hamlet or Gone with the Wind. We are out to make films the people enjoy. It's called Entertainment."

Originally, the Rat Pack wasn't even Sinatra's idea. It had started with his pal, Humphrey Bogart, who named a group of his drinking buddies the Holmby Hills Rat Pack. They were dedicated to drinking and flying in the face of public opinion. When Bogart died in 1957, Sinatra took over the reins. It was perfect timing, because the swinging sixties were just around the corner, and baby, could Sinatra and the new Rat Pack swing!


Joining Frank were Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and (as mascot) Shirley Maclaine, who once said: "Here I am, surrounded by the most attractive men in the world, and they treat me like one of the boys!"

The new Rat Pack were the last word in cool. They wore natty mohair suits and spoke in hip slang that only they could understand. All women were "broads"; God was "the big G"; Death "the big casino" and "Dullsville" was anywhere but Las Vegas.... There was only one rule for the members of Frank's pack — unswerving loyalty (to Frank). Anyone falling foul of this dictum faced banishment from Sinatra's good graces.


The Rat Pack's crowning moment came in early 1960 in Las Vegas. By night they shared the stage of the Sands Hotel, astounding the standing room only crowds with their singing talent and irreverant off the cuff humour. By day, the pack filmed what was to be the first of four Rat Pack movies... 'Oceans 11'.


OCEAN'S 11 (1960)

Style... Panache... These guys had it all. It was Vegas, 1960, and it was the summit of the cool. The guys were in town to have a little hey-hey and start to shoot Ocean's 11, a film based on a plot outline that Peter Lawford had bought from a guy who worked in L.A. It is the story of eleven friends who know each other from World War II service, and led by Danny Ocean (Sinatra) they plan to rob five casinos in Las Vegas on New Years Eve. They concoct a masterplan but, naturally, something goes wrong...

Ocean's 11 is the ultimate movie for Rat Pack fans. Here was a film that made robbery seem fun! When Dino read the script he supposedly said "Forget the movie, let's pull the job." Although panned by critics, the film was a box office success with the public, and in later years inspired the satorial elegance of Martin Scorsese's, "Goodfellas". Likewise, Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs", whose opening scene is a clear homage to the famous walking shot of the Rat Pack — looking cool, suave, confident and razor sharp. Even an "Ocean's 11" remake is about to hit the big screens. Starring "George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon it seems everybody wants to be The Rat Pack...

The Rat Pack had it all, and it was beautiful... Baby.


 

SERGEANTS 3 (1962)

The last film had been such a blast and financially all the guys had received a nice piece of the action; so it made sense to do it again. This turned out to be the spring of 1961 when all the guys were reunited in the desert shooting the film "Soldiers 3". But due to the fact MGM had a movie with that very title, Sinatra agreed to change the name to "Sergeants 3" during the editing. When informed of the title change, Joey quipped, "I wish you had told me earlier. I would have played it differently."

Set in Utah, this is a western remake of "Gunga Din", but with American Indians... Sinatra, Martin, Lawford and Bishop are inseperable buddies who, during a drunken brawl, meet with a freed slave (Sammy Davis) Whose dream is one day to become a cavalryman and play the company bugle.

After the usual adventures they foil the planned Indian massacre when Sammy's bugle blowing alerts the U.S. Cavalry to the hordes of Sioux massed to attack. The sergeants are decorated for bravery and Sammy is made the company bugler.

This is simply another fun film. Frank had always insisted these films were done for fun and money. Anyone who took them seriously was an idiot — the guys certainly didn't! They even took a day off filming, flew to Vegas and with drinks in hand stormed the stage at The Sands Hotel. They broke up the headline act, grabbing the spotlight and doing bits from the Summit to the delight of the audience and dismay of the stars.

The message was clear... Vegas belong to The Rat Pack


4 FOR TEXAS (1963)

No Sammy, Peter or Joey; so not really a Rat Pack film. Also, not really a very good film. Sammy and Joey were tied up with other projects and Peter was out in the cold. Frank had once again cut Peter adrift but this time there would be no way back. So instead Frank drafted in the Three Stooges. At least it was gonna be fun!

The film is a tongue in cheek western with Frank and Dean playing friendly enemies fighting over a riverboat gambling saloon — and each others girlfriends, played by Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress. But they are forced to join forces to beat the real bad guys... The bad guys defeated, Frank and Dino marry their girlfriends in a double wedding.

The film can't make up its mind if it's a parody or a real western — neither can Frank or Dean. Maybe they should have married each other...

The film opened to a lukewarm reception. Times were changing and the writing was on the wall. Only a fool would deny it.. The members of the Rat Pack were getting older.

But there was still life in the old dogs yet...


ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS (1964)

The last throw of the dice for the boys. Once again they had put a number in the title, the number in the title had nothing to do with the film. But like the previous three:11,3,4 and now 7, it was obvious that Frank was shooting craps... But with the film studio's money!

The film was a loose musical updating of Robin Hood, with Frank as a Chicago mobster named Robbo in the roaring twenties. Dean and Sammy played his sidekicks and Bing Crosby played a bogus charity worker. Joey had some disagreement with Frank and was promptly shown the door.

This time the film had a couple of great songs: "Mr Booze", "Style," and "My Kinda Town Chicago" which has become an anthem for the windy city. Barbra Falk plays the female interest who plays the guys off against each other and finally ends up with Crosby, leaving the trio impoverished, but the good guys they really were.

The film did well at the box office, but the carefree days and the party was over. The film now appeared to be out of date and from a time now sadly passed by... America had become aware of a place called Vietnam.

Broads turned out to be women. Singers grew sensitive and more serious. It was a new generation. But 35 years on, The Rat Pack are more popular than ever. Films, books and tribute shows... So maybe Dean had got it right when he said:

"It's Sinatra's world. We just live in it, Baby."



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