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Top reviews from the United States
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Superb. Avoid "Public Enemy" an overrated Jimmy Cagney flick, about Gangsters. That flick is more like "Reefer Madness", in that those two movies are sort of Tongue-in-Cheek, about their subject matter. Kind of like a Public Service Message - about what not to do, or else... Comparatively, "White Heat" is the Jimmy Cagney movie that showcases his true ability. Mental Illness, Criminal Mindest, Gangster. This flick captures that dark element, clawing away at the underbelly of our society.
White Heat is one of my favourite films, a bona fide gangster movie with a touch of Noir-esq psychological discomfort that has nothing soft, kind or lightweight in it. Human nature at its grimmest, for sure. I've seen it many times including once in a repertory cinema where the entire audience (full house) stood up applauding at the end. And this was 50 years after it was made!
The Blu-Ray edition is unquestionably one of the most beautiful film-like transfers I've ever seen in this still young medium. From the first scene of the train approaching through the tunnel, you're hit with the film-like quality of the transfer. Solid, authentic grain throughout, looking exactly how I imagine it would have during the first week of its release in 1948. The transfer is so film-like that when I watched it, I found it impossible to follow the story - the visuals were so breath-taking!
The detail is extremely strong - the texture of a police officer's leather jacket, the palm tree-lined streets of `40s LA, the manufacturer's label on the vacuum tubes of the surveillance equipment. I particularly dug the way that you could tell exactly what the weather was like on the day the outdoor scenes were shot. And the facial detail - WOW!! Such clarity - even the mother looks attractive!
It is deeply satisfying to see this true cinematic masterpiece presented in such a classy fashion. I would put this on the same level as anything I've seen on Criterion. Don't be misled into thinking "old black and white movies" can't benefit from 1080p `cos this sucker does in bucket loads. A gritty transfer that truly matches the edgy subject matter and should be held up as an excellent example of what Blu Ray can offer.
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2016
I rented this film to keep up with the podcast Moving On. I had seen this film before. But it had been over 12 years since I had seen it and I needed a refresher on it. I somehow thought Public Enemies was the film where James Cagney said "TOP OF THE WORLD MOM" . But re-watching White Heat reminded me this is the film with his famous line.The film feels like the show Dragnet drew inspiration from it.James Cagney is great as a bad guy in this film. The film certainly belongs in his top 5 films of all time.
I was happy to revisit it again. I'll try not to let so many years go by until I see it again.
I had this great Cagney classic on DVD and therefore almost didn’t get this on a Blu Ray disc until I read a review that praised how good it looked in this format. Luckily it steered me in the right direction. The clarity of the video picture is phenomenal and almost looks like a new film. If you are wondering whether to order this in the Blu Ray format, don’t hesitate. It is well worth it. If you are like me and like to upgrade your classic favorites of the past, this will not disappoint. And besides all that, for those who don’t know, the movie is great too!
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2015
*SPOILERS* A perfect gangster movie, Jimmy Cagney is reminiscent to the Joker in many ways and provides enough entertainment and action to keep me watching. Unlike other gangster movies, this one has fun and action. The only setback is we never really get any of Big Ed's big ideas, which really bothers me. I mean we see him try to take out Jimmy and we hear that he makes Virginia kill his mother, but we never actually see any type of plans, any type of difference. Just this jackass who says I got big ideas and I'm cool! Which I also found as a strength, making US picture Big Ed the way Jimmy does, just a plain old rat who wants to take the throne. I find this film a thousand times better than Scarface, a very overrated picture. My favorite scene is when Jimmy finds out about his mother dead OR when he kills his own man and he lays there laughing about it. Overall, Jimmy Cagney should've played the Joker, because he would've ruined Heath ledger in a HEARTBEAT!
The picture quality of the "White Heat" Blu-ray is very much improved over the DVD (maybe a 15% improvement to my eyes), and that's saying something since the DVD was already pretty good. There's a tremendous amount of detail revealed in nearly every scene. The blu-ray unveils the textures of skin, clothing, furniture, and machinery to very good effect, making the film more lifelike.
There is one shot in the opening sequence (during the train robbery) that has poor image quality, but that was true on the DVD as well. Perhaps it looked that way originally.
Audio quality may have improved, but I didn't notice a great change from the DVD.
Overall I am very pleased with the Blu-ray of "White Heat," and consider the upgrade worth the cost.