Customer Reviews


22 Reviews
5 star:
 (17)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Six Classic Films - With Cagney, Bogart, and Robinson
Warner Brother's Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3 is a really nice set filled with classic movies starring some of biggest movie legends of all time. While none of these movies have the reputation of a Public Enemy or The Roaring Twenties they are still quite good and very entertaining movies all the same. One of these films is a welcome surprise, even if it really isn't a...
Published on January 15, 2008 by Erik Rupp

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Picture Snatcher and Mayor of Hell are the weak links of this set. LadyKiller is the best film on this set. Cagney spoofs himself and great to see Mae Clark in here who Cagney made famous by shoving a grapefruit in her face. Cagney and Clark are great here. Smart Money was another reason to buy this set to see Robinson paired with Cagney for the only time. It's Robinson's...
Published 22 months ago by Cagneyfan67


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Six Classic Films - With Cagney, Bogart, and Robinson, January 15, 2008
By 
Erik Rupp (Southern California) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
Warner Brother's Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3 is a really nice set filled with classic movies starring some of biggest movie legends of all time. While none of these movies have the reputation of a Public Enemy or The Roaring Twenties they are still quite good and very entertaining movies all the same. One of these films is a welcome surprise, even if it really isn't a "Gangster" movie; Black Legion.

Black Legion was an early starring role for Humphrey Bogart, one that showed that he could play someone other than a gangster, and play the part well. It might be another 3 or 4 years before Bogart shook off the reputation as a supporting player in Gangster movies, but this movie helped get him there. It is well written, well directed, and well acted by all involved. (And it features one of my favorite actresses of the 30's and 40's - Ann Sheridan!)

Now, maybe Kid Galahad would have been more appropriate for a "Gangsters" Box Set, but Black Legion is a fantastic movie, and I'm very glad to see that it will finally be released on DVD. (And maybe Kid Galahad will see the light of day as a DVD in the next Gangsters set.)

As for the other movies in the set, since there are other reviews with synopses and opinions I won't repeat that information, but I will note that they are all worthy of inclusion (well, we could debate Brother Orchid, but with Robinson AND Bogart it's easy to understand why it was included), and despite most of these films not being particularly well known they are all good to nearly great!

Warner Brothers does as good of a job as anyone (better than most) when it comes to cleaing up and releasing good looking prints of their classic movie catalog on DVD, so you can rest assured that this set will look and sound great (for movies of that era).

This set is well worth buying for anyone with any interest in classic movies - especially classic Gangster movies! (At this price you can't go wrong!)

(And hopefully next time we'll see Kid Galahad in the set...)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars yeah yeah, December 18, 2007
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
i cant wait march 25 will be like xmas. yeah yeah now lets get an hd release on blu ray....... Picture Snatcher (1933)
James Cagney portrays Danny Kean, a gangster looking to reform himself -- after a stretch behind bars -- with a new career as a tabloid newspaper photographer. He's also fallen for Patricia Nolan (Patricia Ellis), the daughter of the cop who put him away (Robert Emmett O'Connor). Dad is less than impressed with Kean's new career and none too happy about his daughter's budding relationship. Danny and his editor (Ralph Bellamy) may be selling papers, but is Danny able to sell Dad? Some of the photographs featured in the movie were recreated from sensational images of a 1928 electrocution that were printed in the New York Daily News.

Special Features:
Vintage theatrical trailer: I Loved A Woman
Classic WB short: Plane Crazy
WB cartoon: Wake Up The Gypsy In Me

Lady Killer (1933)
In one of his more comedic efforts, Cagney plays Dan Quigley, a former con artist who goes to Hollywood to hide out and ends up becoming a star. Making it in show business may have its perks, but it also puts him in the spotlight and in jeopardy of being recognized by the thugs he ran away from. By turns, Lady Killer is a filmmaking spoof, a crime thriller and a character study. With Cagney's vitality out front, it's definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The likable cast includes Mae Clarke, his co-star from Public Enemy (part of the first Warner Bros. Gangster Collection) and the recipient of the famous grapefruit.

Special Features:
Two exclusive WB shorts: The Camera Speaks and Kissing Time
Original theatrical trailer
WB cartoon: The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives

Smart Money (1931)
Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney were teamed up for the only time in their careers in Smart Money. Robinson has the larger part of a small-town barber who fancies himself a big-time gambler. He travels to the Big City carrying ten grand from backers at home with his younger brother (Cagney), who comes along as his bodyguard. Unfortunately Robinson has a weakness for beautiful blondes, which means trouble with a capital T. Watch closely in the first reel for an unbilled appearance by Boris Karloff as a dope pusher. Smart Money was Oscar® nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

Special Features:
Theatrical trailer: Other Men's Women
Two WB shorts: George Jessel and His Art Choir and The Smart Set-Up
WB cartoon: Big Man From the North

Black Legion (1937)
Factory worker Frank Taylor (Humphrey Bogart in one of his early starring roles) believes that he has missed out on a deserved promotion when it is instead given to a Polish immigrant. Angry and looking for a scapegoat, he is an ideal mark for the Black Legion, an underground "Pro American" group that wants to get rid of immigrants and racial minorities through violent means. Frank joins, and with his new friends, he dons black robes and drives the Polish family from their home. His aim achieved, Frank gets his job, but soon the Legion begins to take up more of his time and money, and turns his character darker and darker. Co-starring Ann Sheridan, Black Legion was inspired by a real case and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay.

Special Features:
Theatrical trailer: The Perfect Specimen
Two WB shorts: Hi De Ho and Under Southern Stars
Authentic newsreel
WB short: Porky and Gabby

Mayor of Hell (1933)
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith (Frank Darro), are sent to the State Reformatory, ruled with an iron fist by a callous warden. Soon, Patsy Gargan (James Cagney) - a former gangster - arrives, having been appointed Deputy Commissioner as a political favor. Gargan falls for activist nurse Dorothy (Madge Evans) and, inspired by her, takes over the administration to reform the reformatory and institute some formerly ignored basic Roosevelt-era principles, like humane treatment and democracy.

Special Features:
Four exclusive theatrical trailers: The Kennel Murder Case, The Mayor of Hell, Crime School, and Hell's Kitchen
WB Short: The Audition
WB Cartoon: The Organ Grinder

Brother Orchid (1940)
Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart made five films together and Brother Orchid is the only one in which neither is killed! In this gangster comedy, Little John Sarto (Robinson), returns from Europe where he was hoping to find some "class" and finds his old mob has been taken over by Jack Buck (Bogart). Barely escaping an attempt on his life by the new regime, Sarto takes refuge in the monastery of the "Little Brothers of the Flower," pretending he's interested in becoming a monk so that the Brothers will let him stay while he plots his revenge. However, the kindness of the monks gradually changes him and he resolves to turn over a new leaf and reject his violent past.

Special Features:
Theatrical trailer: It All Came True
WB short: Henry Busse and His Orchestra
Two exclusive WB cartoons: Busy Bakers and Slap Happy Pappy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mainly second rung Warners which is still better than most., December 20, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
Since the previous volumes in this series contained all of the best known films in this genre from Warner Brothers, it is inevitable that the third volume will include a number of lesser known titles. The stars, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart, are the real draws. All of the films are set around crime, if not gangsters, and most contain some fast paced comedy. All are very good entertainment.

The good news is that we get 4 pre-codes (before 1934) when the Warner's product was at its most relentless and entertaining. Cagney stars in 3 and any Cagney is better than just about anyone else! His star rose very quickly and the studio churned out a series of fast moving modern stories to showcase him. He quickly balked at the treadmill and he slams his way through the cliches and is magnetic.

- First off is "Smart Money", released in 1931. Following the success of "Little Caesar", Edward G. Robinson stars as a barber involved in gambling. Cagney plays a supporting role but the film consolidated that he was a star in his own right, after his success in "The Public Enemy". The film is very well directed by Alfred E Green and shows an attention to detail not often visible in Warner's films of this period.
- "Picture Snatcher" is a beautifully made melodrama in which Cagney plays an ex-con who becomes a paparrazi for a crummy tabloid. The film has some great lines, an excellent narrative and Cagney is riveting. It is surprising that the film's themes are just as relevant today as they were in 1933.
- "The Mayor of Hell" is a reform school yarn, a story Warners remade later in the decade as "Crime School" and rich in familiar cliches. The film is pre-code so it is realistic but Cagney has a relatively small role, clearly starred for box office support of the less than starry teenage cast.
- "Lady Killer" is another farce with Cagney teamed with his grapefruit recipient from "The Public Enemy", Mae Clarke. He plays a thug who becomes a film star, of all things. The film is very funny in parts, particularly when Cagney sends himself up as a film star and there is the usual great supporting cast.
- "Black Legion", released in 1937, is a powerful film starring Humphrey Bogart as a worker who gets caught up in the Klu Klux Clan. All the characters are 2 dimensional but the film has a sensational subject and has some cogent things to say about mob rule and bigotry. It was controversial when it was released and represented a welcome change of pace for Bogart at a point when he was typecast on the Warner's treadmill in supporting gangster roles.
- The last film, "Brother Orchid" from 1940, is a comedy/drama in which Edward G. Robinson hides out in a seminary and transforms from a gangster to a monk who cultivates orchids. Ann Sothern plays his moll and she is terrific. Bogart plays one of the last of his supporting roles as a heavy before his stardom finally took off. The film is funny in spots because the supporting cast all have their moments but overall, it pales in comparison to "A Slight Case of Murder", Robinson's previous hilarious foray into comedy. The plot is unbelievable and does not work as farce.

The quality of the prints is outstanding and each disk contains Warner's Night at the Movies, that unbeatable combination of trailer, short film and cartoon prior to the main feature. Each film has a commentary too. "Smart Money's", in particular, is superb, full of information about pre-code Hollywood and cogent observations on the progress of sound films, for this was a very early talkie.

The package is fantastic value.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A box full of crooks, molls and gats, December 27, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
The natural problem with Warner Bros. Gangsters Collection, Volume 3 is that most of the big movies have already been included in the first two volumes. In particular, the first set included nothing but classics: Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, White Heat and others. The second set (originally called the "Tough Guys" set) was nearly as good, but with less true classics. The third set has still less well-known movies, but still is a nice sextet of movies featuring the big gangster stars of the 1930s and `40s, particularly Bogart, Cagney and Robinson.

Chronologically, the first movie is Smart Money, most noted for being the only movie with both James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson. It isn't a co-billing, though: made before Public Enemy made Cagney a star, it has Robinson in the lead as a skilled gambler with a weakness for blondes. Though not really a comedy, it does have a lighter tone and a pre-Code sensibility.

Lady Killer is more comic, with Cagney rising from theater usher to movie star while getting involved with gangsters along the way. Similarly, Picture Snatcher has ex-con Cagney becoming successful as a newspaper photographer; complications ensue when he falls for the daughter of the cop who once put him away.

The Mayor of Hell is the final Cagney movie, in which he is a party boss who is rewarded with a job as a commisioner of a reform school. The school is run by a cruel warden who is surprised when Cagney becomes an actual reformer. Though Cagney is the star, he is in more of a supporting role, with the kids taking the lead.

Black Legion is one of Bogart's first starring vehicles. He is a generally nice family man until he loses out on a promotion at his plant. Though the other man was more deserving, Bogart begins to blame the man's foreigness and soon joins the title organization, a version of the Ku Klux Klan. The Legion gives Bogie some new opportunities, but he realizes the price is greater than expected. Ironically, this anti-prejudice message movie is accompanied by a short subject about the Civil War that glorifies Stonewall Jackson and the South.

The final movie is another comedy, Black Orchid, with Robinson as a gangster who decides to retire and get himself some "class". Unfortunately, all he does is lose all his money, forcing him to go back into his old profession. His successor, played by Bogart, has other ideas, and eventually Robinson is forced to take refuge at a monastery where he will learn some important lessons.

Okay, these movies may not be classics, but they are all four-star material, and the set as a whole is enhanced by lots of extras, most notably the commentaries on all the movies and the "Warner Night at the Movies" feature that allows you to watch an old movie preview, newsreel, short subject and cartoon before the movie itself kicks in. If you have enjoyed the earlier Gangster sets, this one is definitely worth picking up.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Restorations, February 20, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
Seeking to supplement my Bogart collection I came across this WB Compilation. For close to what I was going to spend for 2 films, I got a bonus of 4 decent movies. The remastering quality is very good. I found that setting my player at 4:3 Pan & Scan really made the picture pop and come alive. The Commentary per disc and the extras all make for one pleasing package and all four volumes in this series are worth buying, imo. I have an underlying respect for the principles and supporting actors in these productions. Their enthusiasm and dedication to craft puts a real polish to these 'B' movies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cagney and Robinson with a little bit of Bogie thrown in for good measure!, July 24, 2009
By 
Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
Volume#3 of Warner's "Gangsters Collection" features alot of Cagney,some Robinson with a little bit of Bogie thrown into the mix.This one is a step up from Volume#2 as far as ratings go,and features,for the most part,some interesting flicks that you will be sure to enjoy.
"Lady Killer",released in time for Christmas of 1933(3 1/2 stars) stars a very likable James Cagney as Dan Quigley.He is fired as an usher at a theatre and winds up being a victim of a purse to card game scam,with one Myra(Mae Clarke)as the bait.When Dan gets wise to it,he virtually takes it over promising bigger returns for her and the rest of the cons.True to his word the gang rakes in the dough but when a house keeper gets killed Dan washes his hands of them and they all go on the lam.He and Myra head to L.A.where he ends up in the slammer and Myra and another gang member run out on him.Eventually he gets out and makes a new career for himself in the movies,falling in love with an actress Louis Underwood(Margaret Lindsay).But the old gang comes back to haunt him and blackmail him.He pays them off but they keep after him.In the end he acquits himself and the gang goes off to jail.
The plot is a bit contrived at times but Cagney's persona,as in so many other films,wins you over practically from the start.This film also features the (then) much anticipated return "bout" with Mae Clark.In this one he grabs her hair,drags off a chair to the door then picks her up and throws her into the hallway;baggage not far behind.Watch for some neat little pre-code sexual innuendoes in the first part of the film.
"Black Legion",released January/37,(3 stars) features Humphrey Bogart as Frank Taylor.He is a factory machinist who thinks he is a shoe in for the upcoming foreman's position.He is married and a father of one son,lives a pleasant life and is well liked among his friends.When he is passed up for promotion he becomes very bitter.That night he listens to a radio broadcast concerning a group "concerned" about the the protection of American jobs from foreigners and other hate motivated rhetoric;the Black legion.A co-worker he learns is already a member and after a meeting he joins up.He and the group go on a local reign of terror until Frank inadvertantly shoots one of his best friends.He is put on trial and instead of lying as the Legion demands,part way through he gives in and confesses on the stand.He and the group go off to serve life sentences.
The film is based on the actual group the Black Legion,which terrorized and killed many "undesirables" during the 30s;an arm of the infamous KKK.The film was intended to be a little preachy but gets its' message across without going over board.Watch for actor Joe Sawyer as Bogie's friend who was already a BL member.A busy actor who is well remembered for his role years later in the Sc-Fi flick "It Came From Outer Space" as one of the power company men(Russell Johnson was the other).
'Brother Orchid',released in June/40(4 stars) stars Edward G Robinson as Johnny Sarto,a rackateer boss.Johnny is fed up with the crime scene,quits(once and for all)and leaves on a five year trip to Europe to search for "class",leaving his underling Jack Buck(Bogart)in charge.His "search" just ends up blowing all his dough and he telegraphs his return to his former gang mates.When he arrives he finds he isn't welcome,is tossed out and vows to get back on top.In an attempt to get Sarto and Buck back together,his girlfriend Florence(Ann Southern) arranges a meeting between Jack and Johnny which goes horribly awry with Johnny fleeing only to get shot in the back.He falls down in front of a monastery and the brothers therein nurse him back to health.Over time Johnny,now called Brother Orchid,becomes quite popular but when a chance comes to finally get back at his former gang he takes it and he helps the police shut them down.Instead of marrying his girlfriend he returns to the monastical way of life;'real class',he says.
This an utterly charming film as we see Robinson transform from his shallow but tough guy persona into a trusting and sincere human being in the end. Everyone involved from Southern to the monastery Brother Superior(Donald Crisp) to Southerns' boyfriend Clarence(Ralph Bellamy) does a fine job.
'Mayor of Hell',released in June/33(3 '-4 stars),stars James Cagney as Patsy Gargan a racketeer who,due to his influence,gets a job as deputy commissioner of reform schools.The low down head of the school Mr Thompson(Dudley Digges)doesn't much like Patsy's style,when he comes calling.Patsy soon meets one of the tougher boys Jimmy(Frankie Darro) who was sent here with the rest of his young gang friends.Things are bad at the school with Ferguson cooking the books until Patsy with the help of the school nurse Miss Griffiths(Madge Evans) change things for the better.When Patsy accidentally shoots one of his gang for a double cross he has to lamb out of town,leaving the boys at the school in the hands of Ferguson again.Things go down hill and when one boy dies in the cooler,the entire school takes their revenge on Ferguson.Patsy,wise to the news,returns back in time to stop things before they go too far.The kids are exonerated and Patsy gets Ferguson's job.
A well done movie,it is a bit of a different role for Cagney but he pulls it off with ease.All the boys involved do a tremendous job in their parts.Watch for 'Farina' from the Our Gang series as Joliet.
'Smart Money',released in July/31(3 ' stars),stars Edward G Robinson as Greek barber Nick Venizelos and James Cagney as Jack,his right hand man.Nick is a successful barber who is amazingly lucky in gambling.His employees back him when he decides to go to the big city to try his luck.He gets into a game,is conned and gets fleeced.He soon gets wise and tails the men.By this time he is not alone and has back up.He wins back his money and more and goes on to open a very successful gambling club.The local law wants nothing better than to put him away and in the end they do,but with a twist.A girl Nick has trusted has turned snitch on him and Jack discovers it and hits her.Nick walks in and seeing it knocks Jack down,inadvertently killing him.The police come in and at first arrest him for gambling but when they discover Jack is dead, a murder rap gets added to the list.The girl confesses to a stunned Nick that she did indeed snitch.He is led away,but with his spirits not shaken.
Partly filmed during 'The Public Enemy',Cagney's part is scant and many of the other actors get far more screen time than he does.Overall the pace is good and the dialogue punchy.Watch for a brief appearance of Boris Karloff,pre-Frankenstein.
Finally "Picture Snatcher",released in May of/33(3 1/2 - 4 stars),stars Cagney as ex con Danny Kean.Just out of the jug he returns to his gang and tells them he is quitting and going legit.Danny always wanted to be a newpaperman and gets a job with the lowest of the lowest rags in town.The editor Al Maclean(Ralph Bellamy),smart but alcoholic,become fast friends.Danny takes every dirty job going and becomes very succesful.When he sneaks a pic of a women getting fried in the chair,the cops and every newspaperman in town go after him.But the photo gets published.However Danny has fallen in love with the daughter of the cop who put him in the slammer in the first place and his "exploits" on the paper get him in hot water with him on many occasion.In the climax of the movie Al informs Danny he's quit the paper to get a job somewhere else but he needs a great story to get a chance.At that moment one of Danny's ex gang members is holed up in an apartment hiding from the cops for killing three people.Danny goes there and is with him until the inevitable shooting stops and he is dead.But Danny gets his pictures,he and Al get a job,he gives credit to his girl's father,and he and his girl reunite for a happy ending.
I can't say enough about Cagney.He had such a great range of emotion and characterization and he really dominates every scene he is in.He is certainly one of the greatest actors of all time.And,oh,yes,I counted THREE slugs to a woman in this picture!The public at the time ate it up and it added to the Cagney mystique and payed off big time at the box office.
Technically these movies have been remastered well from good prints and are generally crisp and clean.What gives this a solid four star rating are the extras added into each DVD.There are the vintage cartoons(very clean),commentary for each movies,trailers for the movies and other titles,vintage newsreel clips,and some wonderful 30s musical shorts featuring three big band names of the time,including the great Cab Calloway.
All in all another welcome release by Warner Brothers of some of their earlier gangsters films.While some of these films may be a little light on the gangster angle,they are still all enjoyable flicks.We get to see a star on the rise(Bogie),and two newly established stars,Robinson and Cagney.Cagney has deservedly received great critical acclaim over the years but Robinson has never received the same treatment.Watch his performances and tell me you don't see the same presence and domination of almost every scene like Cagney.Hopefully with these welcome releases of Robinson material the public will get to see just how good an actor he was;every bit on a par with his peers."Gangsters-Volume 3" is a definite keeper,see.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment Excellence!, April 18, 2008
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
DVD box set, Warner Home Video. Six crisp, clean prints! And was I thrilled to find all six with commentaries! Not to mention shorts, vintage cartoons, trailers -- first rate quality all the way! Solid entertainment!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warner Gangster Volume 3, March 31, 2008
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
Warner's continues to lead the way with the release of classic films onto dvd and this box set is no exception. 2008 marks the 85th anniversary of the founding of the company and this collection has been released to coincide with this monumental event. While many of the films may be unfamiliar to mainstream audiences, for those who know and love classic Hollywood this box set will not disappoint.
Four of the six fims are displays of james Cagney's wit, grace, and sheer electricity onscreen. Smart Money is the only film that Cagney and Robinson made together and it was made even before Cagney had emerged as a major star at Warners. Ladykiller is a great example of Hollywood parodying itself (Cagney works as an usher at the Strand theater, becomes a low budget actor and then a star, has contract problems with the studios).
The black legion demonstrates the power and anguish of Bogie before he becomes a major star in the 1940s. Together these fims demonstrate why Warner's was the studio of the people.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Vol. III, December 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
In the 1930's Warner Brothers made the best gangster movies ever. With James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson this studio had a lock on this genre. The movies in this set are not the best gangster movies. However, they are very enjoyable and I recommend this set wholeheartly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lesser gangster films are still great pre-code viewing, December 24, 2007
This review is from: Warner Gangsters Collection: Vol. 3 (Smart Money / Picture Snatcher / The Mayor of Hell / Lady Killer / Black Legion / Brother Orchid) (DVD)
Volume 1 of the gangster series focused on Warner's premiere gangster movie properties. Volume 2 focused on how Warner's handled the gangster picture in the era of the code. Volume 3, although it does consist of the second tier of Warner's gangster films, still has first-rate films and actually a better look at the pre-code era than volume 1 did. In that first package only two of the films were pre-code. This set has four very good examples of pre-code films of the gangster genre.

1933's "Picture Snatcher" is one I've waited to come out on DVD for some time. It's about a gangster (James Cagney) who decides to go straight and become a photographer for a scandal sheet. In the end he gets the girl and a photo of an execution to boot. The film is fast paced and full of the energy that only Cagney could lend to such a role.

1931's "Smart Money" is the only time Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney were paired in a film. Robinson is definitely in the lead here, though. Although it's impossible to really describe Cagney as "subdued" in anything he ever did, he is toned down a bit. Robinson is a barber who gets 10K together to gamble in one of the syndicate's big games. This turns out the way you'd expect when a small time guy goes up against the mob and expects them to play on the level. Robinson's character vows revenge as a result of this double-cross. Not the best pre-code, but a good example of what Robinson could do.

1933's "Mayor of Hell" is one of Warner's depression-era message films. They made many of these in the precode era. Here James Cagney is Patsy Gargan, a reformed gangster who is sent to a boy's reform school as a political favor. The current warden is corrupt and merciless. He fears Gargan will discover and expose how he's been using his position for personal gain, and thus must cook up some way of toppling Gargan before he discovers the truth of the situation.

1933's "Lady Killer" reteams James Cagney with Mae Clarke. Cagney plays Dan Quigley, a movie usher who gets fired and then falls in with a gang of hoodlums to make ends meet. However, when a robbery at a mansion goes wrong Quigley leaves town and heads for California. There he does well in the movies until his old gang hears about his success and his past deeds come back to haunt him. Here poor Mae Clarke gets slapped around again, just as she had been in "Public Enemy". No wonder that she looks so worriedly at that grapefruit in the California travel brochure. For those of you who have seen "Public Enemy" you know what I mean.

Now on to the code-era films...

1937's "Black Legion" tells a story of a man's involvement with what amounts to the Klan without coming out and calling it that. Humphrey Bogart stars as Frank Taylor, a working man who loses a bid to become foreman when a foreign-born man gets the job instead. The Legion is right up Taylor's alley, reinforcing his belief that his woes are all the fault of the foreign-born. He gradually gets more immune to the violence as he gets in deeper and deeper with the Black Legion.

1940's "Brother Orchid" is the lightest of the films in the bunch. Here Edward G. Robinson plays Johnny Sarto, a rival to gangster Jack Buck, played by Humphrey Bogart. Buck convinces Sarto's girl (Ann Sothern) to lure Sarto to a nightspot, and there Buck's gang ambushes him and leaves him for dead. He is nursed back to health by a group of monks. After he recovers he finds he likes the life the monks lead, but when he learns his girl is about to marry someone else he has to choose between two different lifestyles. This film has some good comic turns by Robinson.

I won't mention the extra features since another reviewer has already pointed them out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.