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The Rat Pack [VHS] (1999)

 NR |  VHS Tape
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 4
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: August 28, 2001
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005MKO7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Their films were box office gold. Their performances were magic. And when they went out on the town, they were legend. In a time when excess was cool and style was king, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were the ultimate bad boys. The Rat Pack explores their lives and legacy with the help of insiders like Angie Dickinson, Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle. And Toe-tapping footage from the "Meeting at the Summit" - Their famous month-long engagement at the Sands Casino at the dawn of 1960 - shows them at their irreverent, brilliant best.

Product Description

In the heyday of Vegas, the Rat Pack--Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop--were royalty. This series uses performance clips, archival footage and home movies to profile the legendary band of playboys who left their mark on American culture. Get the inside scoop from people like Jerry Lewis, Milton Berle, Angie Dickinson and others, and thrill to never-before-seen footage from events like the Kennedy Inaugural gala, where even the King of Camelot was outshone by the boys of the Rat Pack.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rat Pack must, but DVD lacks extras August 7, 2002
Format:DVD
At slightly over 3 and one half hours, this two-disc set in a direct transfer from the A&E Biography series sans any commercials. Each disc contains 2 episodes, in which you have a choice of playing both back to back, one at a time, or basic scene selection. No frills here.
Narrated by Danny Aiello, this series delves deep into the lives and personalities of the four main Rat Pack players: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford. Very little is given on Joey Bishop (the 5th member). Along with the rise and fall of these greats and all the troubles in between, we are also treated to some detailed background histories on Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, and Frank Sinatra and Hollywood legend Ava Gardner (Frank's 2nd wife). There's a bit to detail Peter Lawford's life and loves as well and how he gets wrapped up into the Kennedy family and a triangle with Frank.
This series is filled with rare footage highlighting many points (and again lows) in each of their careers, and there are many great stories told in interview style by Angie Dickinson, Tony Curtis, Milton Berle, singer Keely Smith and many other legendary singers and actors. Mixed into these interviews are serious and sometimes comical stories on practical jokes, heated tensions, personal issues of the group and spotlights on others that traveled at times with the Rat Pack including mobster Sonny Dimato and Jimmy Durante.
The 4 episodes do their best to keep things chronological; however, (and for obvious reasons) do jump around from time to time only to paint a nice solid picture of a story that may span years. The series in total seems to focus primarily on Sinatra, and interlaces his story with the others.
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding in it's length, depth & insight January 6, 2002
Format:DVD
Why A&E would devote the same length of time to a biography on The Rat Pack as they would to the Civil War, the American Mafia or the history of locomotive trains is beyond me - I'm just grateful & amazed that they did. Clocking in at over 3 and 1/2 hours, this expansive insight into "the greatest party in showbiz" knows no bounds. Intimately narrated by actor Danny Aiello, A&E dives deep into the history of America's first celebrity gang. Covering everything from Sinatra's tortuous break-up from Hollywood sex siren Ava Gardner to Dean Martin's accidental alliance with comedian Jerry Lewis, this biography covers it all. It is deftly composed, and never bores.
The first hour of the documentary shuttles back & forth between chronicling the rise of Las Vegas - the Rat Pack's playground, and the individual careers of each Rat Pack member. A&E spends generous time on each member - the turbulent highs & lows of Frank Sinatra, the easy-does-it success of Dean Martin, the desperate ascension of actor Peter Lawford, and most importantly, the barrier-breaking accomplishments of the multi-talented Sammy Davis, Jr. Only standup comic Joey Bishop is shy of biographical information (he is introduced much later in the documentary when Sinatra began assembling his "summit" crew). As usual with A&E biographies, there is a wealth of rare footage here. Utilizing countless film reels; summit performances, Peter Lawford sitcoms, Martin & Lewis television specials, etc. You see a rare glimpse into the performing life of each member.
Also an A&E is custom is the absense of interviews with its biography subjects (everyone but Joey Bishop is dead anyway).
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The "Summit" Continues September 6, 2004
Format:DVD
After seeing HBO's disappointing "Rat Pack" movie, it was nice to encounter this four-part A&E documentary. Running nearly 3 1/2 hours, it traces the origins of the Rat Pack from the days of Bogart and Skinny D'Amato. The documentary contains a wealth of show-biz and political history, with rare footage of the 1960 Summit in Las Vegas and the star-studded Democratic fund-raiser organized by Frank Sinatra. The interviews with Keely Smith, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis and Sonny King are particularly revealing. Unfortunately, there is a lack of archival interviews with Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter and Joey. Danny Aiello's narration is OK, but could have used a little more pizzazz. For those who were not around during the Rat Pack's heyday, this DVD package is a valuable document of a bygone era.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any Rat Pack fan! December 24, 2001
Format:DVD
This DVD set is a worthwhile investment for any fan. This is an informative and fun documentary that provides plenty of background, although is a little light on their years together. Not surprisingly, Frank & Dean receive the bulk of the spotlight, with only Joey Bishop possibly being slighted. This is a great introduction for new fans, and great fun for anyone who likes this great group of entertainers!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary January 25, 2004
Format:DVD
As a young fan(21) of Frank, Dino and Sammy, I loved this buy. It goes through the whole careers of each star on an easy to follow timeline. It also provides interesting facts from the friends of the great entertainment superstars.
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