How Not To: Opening Titles (Ocean’s 11)

A new series at Oh Movies! There are a lot of times in films where a filmmaker does the wrong thing. It could be how they directed a scene, or what music is in a film, to the kind of actor put into a role. I look at just why these were the wrong decisions and how they could have been improved. I give you: “How Not To”

When you think of the Rat Pack you think of a lot of things. The words cool, suave, and sexy come to mind. (Oh and also “talented” as well.) So when a film starring some of the biggest entertainers in the world (for 1960 anyways) how do you imagine a film of theirs opening? Did you say a super long sequence that has the dullest music around? If you guessed that specifically then you must have seen how Ocean’s 11 decided to open its film.

I could not believe how dull and uninspired this title sequence was. You have a Vegas inspired opening which is fine. But it is filled in with the dullest music imaginable and it repeats itself endlessly. It is like listening to a elevator muzak version of what Las Vegas should be like. It’s depressing because this was scored by Nelson Riddle who has been a countless Emmy/Oscar nominated composer and has worked on countless Sinatra projects. What makes this sequence even MORE depressing is that they were created by Saul Bass! You know, the greatest graphic designer to ever work in the film industry. It has a Bass-like feel to them but it feels so uninspired and lackadaisical than what we normally see from him. Granted this is still early Saul Bass so maybe he was still learning as he went along.

So how to fix this? Well let’s cut these titles at least in half for length. This film has a ton of actors involved but do we need it to be this long? It sets up the film perfectly I guess because the film in general is so damn slow it is amazing we got 2+ hours of plot. So let’s speed things up a bit and with that make Riddle’s score go a bit quicker. Jazz it up a bit and give us a sweeping, bandstand kind of feel. We’re in Vegas with Sinatra, Martin, and the rest of the crew! We should have a sexier tone to these credits. Instead we get a boring, uninspired, and wasted such talented individuals for this opening sequence.

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2 thoughts on “How Not To: Opening Titles (Ocean’s 11)

  1. While you may not like these opening titles, this is more in line with just how films were made in the 60’s. Title credits were long and a little crude and commonly had soundtracks like this.
    I think you are applying a modern view on old films as opposed seeing them as what they were for the time period they came out.

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    • I definitely am Timmy. But I LOVE Saul Bass and in general this isn’t one of his better outings. It is amazing just how slow films were back in the 60s. Any James Bond film are agonizing that way.

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