MOVIE ARTICLES - Las Vegas Movies
Las Vegas & The Movies
by Iulia Pascanu
Sunny Las Vegas hosted hundreds of movies or movie-scenes.
Some of them got the Oscar. Others got lost on the way.
But Vegas surely remains a classic attraction for film-makers
since the glory of the Rat Pack days.
To be completely fair, the early 60's weren't really the
first screen action days in Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra's
first movie, Las Vegas Nights was set back in 1941. However,
the Rat Pack Days are always a good point to start.
The Rat Packs
Five gentlemen in Las Vegas: Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford,
Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Frank Sinatra. Good friends.
Loved to party. And of course, they had their own favourite
place to hang out, that was Sands Hotel and Casino in
Las Vegas (which was demolished in 1996, nowadays the
site of the Venitian).
The Rat Pack Days begun in late 50's, somewhat as a reaction
to the Cold War early days; the guys came up with the
ideea of having their own "summit of cool" in
Las Vegas; it lasted seven years. As the Sands performing
scene wasn't enough for them, the mighty five moved further
to movies and recordings.
The seven years brought out seven films: Some Came Running,
Ocean's 11, Sergents 3, 4 For Texas, Robin and the 7 Hoods,
Marriage on the Rocks, and Cannonball Run II. Ocean's
11 (1960) is the most famous one, and also benefited from
a modern remake (2001), starring George Clooney, Brad
Pitt and Julia Roberts. The action in new Ocean's 11 involves
robbery scenes at Bellagio. The Rat Pack, released in
1998 for cable TV, includes scenes from The Sands.
The good old days gave us the classic Viva Las Vegas (1964),
featuring Elvis Presley, who sings his heart out for the
beloved "sin city".
Later, in 1970, the King starred a documentary filmed
at the International Hotel, nowadays Las Vegas Hilton
(Elvis: That's the Way It Is).
The 1979 Elvis, a memorabilia to The King, stars Kurt
Russell. The story goes on in 1988 with Elvis and Me,
inspired by Priscilla Presley's autobiography. The 1995
BBC documentary The Burger and the King: The Life and
Cuisine of Elvis Presley seems to have closed the Elvis
& Las Vegas series, up to this moment.
This one, released in 1995, is the classic. It approaces
"sin city" the way nobody dared before. The
story is based on the almost fabulous life of Frank Rosendhale
(impersonated by Robert de Niro), the best handicapper
of all times, and his beautifull wife Gery (impersonated
by Sharon Stone). Las Vegas made them rich and television
made them famous.
"Casino" hit the box-offices, but Frank said
director Martin Scorsese brought the spotlights on his
own chopped vision of Las Vegas; blamed him that he was
not really interested to either understand casinos or
be faithful to the real story; thus, Frank Rosenthale
would have told it differently.
Las Vegas footage has proven a good luck charm for Francis
Ford Coppola's famous nephew, Nicholas Cage. He started
with Honeymoon in Vegas in 1992, grabbed an Oscar on the
road with Leaving Las Vegas and made a come-back with
Con Air in 1997; literally, Nick Cage forced his landing
on the Hard Rock Hotel guitar...
Just another subjective list
* 1971 - Diamonds Are Forever, from the James Bond (Sean
* 1974 - The Godfather Part II
* The Rocky series (parts III and IV) included brief glimpses
from Las Vegas
* 1987 - Heat, 100% Las Vegas made, starring Burt Reynolds
* 1988 - Rain Man, with Dustin Hoffman, action set mostly
inside Caesars Palace
* 1991 - Bugsy, the story of Bugsy Siegel and the making
of the Flamingo. Casts Warren Beatty and Annette Bening
* 1993 - Indecent Proposal. Some reviews advice to "save
the money for slots"
* 1995 - Heat, this time starring Robert DeNiro and Al
Pacino, the only movie the two "monsters" have
* 1995 - Showgirls, mostly a movie about... girls, including
many scenes at Stardust
About the Author
Iulia Pascanu writes for http://www.bestlasvegashotels.info
where you can find more information about the best hotels
in Las Vegas.
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