Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 1 (The Public Enemy / White Heat / Angels with Dirty Faces / Little Caesar / The Petrified Forest / The Roaring Twenties)
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With its stilted visuals and pulpy plot, Little Caesar remains stuck in the stiff, early-sound era, but it's still a prototypical powerhouse, with Edward G. Robinson's titular "Rico" setting the stage for all screen gangsters to follow. The Public Enemy made James Cagney a star (who can forget him smashing a grapefruit into Mae Clarke's face?), and Humphrey Bogart repeats his Broadway success in The Petrified Forest, a stagy adaptation of Robert Sherwood's play, still enjoyable for Bogey's ever-threatening malevolence. Then it's a Cagney triple-threat in Angels (with Pat O'Brien), racketeering in The Roaring Twenties (with Bogart), and especially the jailbird classic White Heat, with a fiery finale and an exit line ("Made it Ma! Top o' the world!") that epitomized Cagney's iconic, tough-guy image. In many ways Cagney was Warner Bros., and this Gangsters Collection pays enduring tribute to him and the important films that forged the studio's rugged reputation. --Jeff Shannon
Top Customer Reviews
If you need more proof about how good these are, I have 3 sources that rated these films BEFORE they were released to DVD.
Leonard Maltin (represented by LM, his highest rating is 4 stars),Nick Martin & Marsha Porter (authers of DVD & Video guide - represented by DVDG), and All Movie Guide (Represented by AMG).
Let's go Chronologically:
Little Caesar: LM- 3 1/2; DVDG - 3; AMG - 5
The Public Enemy: LM - 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 5
The Petrified Forest: LM 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 4
Angels With Dirty Faces: LM - 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 4 1/2
The Roaring Twenties: LM - 3; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 4 1/2
White Heat: LM - 3 1/2; DVDG - 4 1/2; AMG - 5
If you really look at the ratings (and consider that Maltin uses a 4 star rating system (as opposed to a 5 star)),you will see that the profesional critics rate these as quite high. Let's face it. These are the cream of the Warner gangster library. Another neat thing that was done for the DVD is the Warner Night at the Movies (Similarly done with Yankee Doodle Dandy, Treasures of the Sierra Madre, and the Adventures of Robin Hood - also introduced by Leonard Maltin) which gives you the option of viewing the film the way it was in theaters during that year (complete with trailer, news item, short, cartoon, & movie). They all have commentaries by notable historians, and have "Making of" special features (a few which include Martin Scorsese).
The prints are the cleanest I've seen in years (Turner does a top notch job of getting the best available source material).
The sound is above average to good.Read more ›
"The Petrified Forest" is not your typical gangster film, with Leslie Howard's vagabond being the real star in what amounts to an improbable romance set against the backdrop of the desperation of the Great Depression which the desert setting seems to signify. This 1936 film has Bogart as Duke Mantee, a gangster on the run, in what amounts to a supporting role. However, you do get to see all of the traits that made Bogart great when he got the opportunity to seize the lead in later roles. And to think they almost cast him as the filling station attendant in this one!
In 1938's "Angels with Dirty Faces" and 1939's "The Roaring Twenties" Cagney is again playing the lead gangster and Humphrey Bogart plays a supporting role in both films. With prohibition long over, though, these movies make Cagney's gangster more three-dimensional, showing him to even be a self-sacrificing character at times as well as a killer. Both movies bother to show that had circumstances been a little different, he might not have even become a criminal in the first place.Read more ›
The movie is based on Robert Sherwood's hit Broadway play of the same name. Howard plays gentle roustabout Alan Squier, an esthete young man hitchhiking across America, `looking for something to believe in.' The wind shakes him out of the even present dust and deposits him at the isolated Arizona diner young Gabrielle Maple (Bette Davis) runs with her father and grandfather. Davis plays the naïve and romantic and `gabby' young girl stuck in the middle of nowhere who paints and dreams of reuniting with her mother in France and reads the poems of Francois Villon to take the stink of the hamburger and gasoline out of her system.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great, classic movie that was the first starring role for Humphrey Bogart and has Bette Davis in her prime. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Wesley Bob
Robinson was the man, and this movie launched his career and the Gangster genre. Not much of a movie by today's standards but watch it and keep in mind the state of movies back in... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Murphy's Law
Love old movies! No problems watching movies, no scratches, will buy more.Published 1 month ago by Lisa H. Roberts
One of my favorite movies with three of my favorite STARS. What's not to like?Published 2 months ago by Joanne Campbell
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