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Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 1 (The Asphalt Jungle / Gun Crazy / Murder My Sweet / Out of the Past / The Set-Up)

68 customer reviews

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(Jul 18, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Film Noir Classics Collection, The: Volume 1 (DVD) (5-Pack)

Asphalt Jungle (1950)- You have a lot of time to think when you're locked away seven years. So criminal mastermind Doc conceives what he believes is the perfect heist. John Huston explores the feverish grab for the big score and how it unravels in The Asphalt Jungle, a renowned tale of dishonor among thieves whose cast includes. Gun Crazy (1949) - When gun fancier Bart Tare sees Annie Laurie Starr's sideshow sharpshooting act, he's a dead-bang goner. The two become bank robbers on the run, eluding roadblocks and roaring into movie history as one of the benchmark film-noir works. Murder My Sweet (1944)- They say crime doesn't pay. Private detective Philip Marlowe knows better. The fat wad of folding moneywarming his pocket is the kind of thing that keeps him going through thick and thicker as he wades chin deep into a mystery involving a missing necklace and a missing hoodlum's moll named Velma. Murder, My Sweet is film at its most noir, creating a moody sense moody sense of a world that never plays on the level. Out of the Past (1947)-Everything you want in a film noir you'll find in Out of the Past. A tenacious detective (Robert Mitchum) spinning his wheels to make good. A drop-dead beauty (Jane Greer) up to no good. A moneyed mobster (Kirk Douglas) with a shark's grin. Plus double-crosses and fall guys. Shadowy rooms and bleak souls. The Set-Up (1949)- Boxing Wednesdays. Wrestling on Fridays. Stoker Thompson is on Paradise City's Wednesday card, fighting after the main event. He's been 20 years in the game and is sure he's just one punch away from big paydays. But there's one thing Stoker doesn't yet know: his manager wants him to take a dive tonight.


Some boxed sets claim to be definitive, but are haphazardly selected. Not this one. Four of the five titles here can legitimately lay claim to being essentials in the film noir canon, and the fifth, The Set-Up, is a terrific boxing picture with a strong noir atmosphere. If you're a fan of noir--or have no idea what it's all about--this collection is a treat.

Of course, none of these movies were made as "film noir." The term was coined later by French critics to describe the moody, anxious feel of postwar American movies, especially the genre that highlighted duplicitous dames and susceptible men lost in the criminal jungle. Indeed, the title The Asphalt Jungle conveys the edgy urban arena of these pictures. That film is John Huston's masterly 1950 account of a heist, with Sterling Hayden the disenchanted, noirish hero. Joseph H. Lewis's Gun Crazy (1949) is one of the most supercharged (and sexually perverse) of noir films, with John Dall and Peggy Cummins as young criminals in love. Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a straight adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel Farewell, My Lovely. Amid the film's shadowy chiaroscuro, former musical comedy star Dick Powell makes a career-changing transition as Chandler's private dick, Philip Marlowe. Out of the Past puts Robert Mitchum (perhaps the quintessential noir actor) in trouble with gangster Kirk Douglas, complicated by classic femme fatale Jane Greer. Jacques Tourneur provides the evocative direction. And The Set-Up plays out an ingenious boxing tale in "real time," superbly enacted by (former boxer) Robert Ryan. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • 5 classic film noirs all with commentary:
  • The Asphalt Jungle
  • Gun Crazy
  • Murder My Sweet
  • Out of the Past
  • The Set-Up
  • See individual DVDs for more details

Product Details

  • Format: Full Screen, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000244F2S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,473 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 1 (The Asphalt Jungle / Gun Crazy / Murder My Sweet / Out of the Past / The Set-Up)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 161 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 2004
Format: DVD
The irresistible lure of 5 film noir classics, handsomely packaged in one classy prsentation is certain to make this boxed-set a best-seller.
The official Amazon reviewer sums it all up beautifully. Each one of these films is a true American masterwork, a definitive example of why film noir continues to captivate audiences as a unique style of filmmaking.
I've spent the better part of the last three days watching all five films, and then again exploring the commentaries. It's been an amazing experience. I've seen all these films before in battered condition, but each one of these DVDs present the motion pictures with stunning quality that brings out all the nuance in the gorgeous cinematography. Obviously a great deal of meticulous restoration as gone on here, and Warner Bros. should be proud of the fine work that they've put in to these releases.
They look so good, you could almost say they look like they were filmed yesterday....except I doubt anyone today could quite re-create the look of the way these films were shot as exqiuisitely today. Just wonderful.
Do yourself a favor, a get this collection. Settle down with Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Sterling Hayden, John Dall, Robert Ryan, and a bunch of hard-boiled dames like Jane Greer or Peggy Cummmins. Your life will never be the same!
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 2004
Format: DVD
I managed to find an early copy of this boxed set yesterday afternoon, and stayed up until the wee small hours watching ALL the films.
What a SENSATIONAL collection. The transfers are all new and sparkling. They look and sound terrific. Probably some dweeb on here may find a speckle or (I love this B.S.) an "age related artifact". but the truth is I've never seen any of these films presented so beautifully, and anyone who picks up this collection is in for a treat.
GUN CRAZY and OUT OF THE PAST are my two favorite film noirs. Period. They really define the genre. They are amazing, unique films from under-appreciated directors, Joseph H. Lewis and Jacques Tourneur. Amazing performances, great writing and superb direction.
The commentaries here are all quite fascinating, mostly from noir experts and scholars, but on THE SET-UP, Robert Wise himself is there to reflect on his own direction, aided by wise and insightful comments from none other than Martin Scorsese.
The box is nicely designed, but inside are five gorgeous keepcases with original poster art from each film. They look sensational.
...and at Amazon's bargain price, this comes out to about $7 a film. (I paid slightly more from a local retailer who put it out a little early, and it was more than worth it for me!). This is phenomenal film history, presented with class and panache, and at an irresistible price.
Once again Warner Brothers home video sets the standard for how to present classic films on DVD, leaving all the other companies in the dust!
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116 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on August 25, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Don't even think about not buying this set even if you had one or two individual copies as I had OUT OF THE PAST on VHS and two others on tape. If you know the films no need to read on.THE ASPHALT JUNGLE is one of Mr Huston's best films and he made many. A thinking man's noir about the burden of some vice each man carries, loyalty between men and duty and deservedly considered a minor classic in the tragic mold. OUT OF THE PAST has ripper dialogue, wit, style, Mr Kirk Douglas looking like an ad out of Gentlemen's Quarterly and a plot convoluted enough to rival THE BIG SLEEP. GUN CRAZY is a cult classic. MURDER MY SWEET Dick Powell gets drugged, beaten up and double crossed. THE SET UP superbly shot, wonderfully acted by Mr Robert Ryan, and directed by Robert Wise, is another film of tragic proportions and perhaps one of the best on the boxing game. Buy two

copies of this set so there are no disputes during the divorce settlement.

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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Eric Christianson on September 15, 2004
Format: DVD
This is easily the best noir box set available, and as one reviewer has already pointed out, is a fine introduction to the world of noir. I had not seen two of these films (Gun Crazy and The Set-Up) but was wonderfully surprised by both. Gun Crazy is a hugely energetic and inventive road movie that, in the way of story and direction, follows few conventions of the day. The Set-Up is a marvellous slow-boil of a story that has Robert Ryan in a career-best, subtle performance, and again is wonderfully inventive. The other three films are widely acknowledged classics. The dialogue of Murder, My Sweet has to be heard to be believed (Marlowe: "My fingers looked like a bunch of bananas"), but Dick Powell pulls it off with aplomb. The Asphalt Jungle generates unbearable tension and boasts a gorgeous performance from Sterling Hayden, trapped in a noir net he cannot escape from. And Out of the Past? Well, there is no better noir! Mitchum can't help oozing cool from every pore and Jane Greer is a perfect psychotic femme. The photography will leave you breathless and the plot dizzy!

To top it off, there are commentary tracks on each DVD. To hear Robert Wise, the man himself (!), commenting (very charmingly) on his The Set-Up, is simply magical. Also, all of the transfers are terrific, better than anything previously available. So go on, just get it!
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