Perfect Father’s Day Gift: Ultimate Gangster Collection — Classics

Ultimate Gangster Collection — Classics

Little Caesar
The Public Enemy
The Petrified Forest
White Heat
Due Out: May 21, 2013

The “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics and “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary” are available on Blu-ray 5/21 

WHO’S IT FOR?

This collection is for anyone who gets excited for a gangster flick. The look of each film is fantastic, especially considering the age of these movies. Just being able to own (and compare) Little Caesar and The Public Enemy is worth the price alone. Little Caesar has every single cliché that Hollywood is still using for its gangster films. It doesn’t hold up compared to modern movies, but that’s the point of watching it. With Little Caesar these aren’t exactly clichés, but new attempted techniques. The Public Enemy completely holds up. It’s an amazing character study brought to life by the brilliant Cagney. Seeing the intro, explaining that Hollywood is against these gangster types is terribly amusing.

This is a fantastic collection and the only decisions you have to make are if you purchase Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics, Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary or both.

MOVIES:
(information courtesy of Warner Home Video)

The Public Enemy (1931) – Now on Blu-ray!
The Public Enemy showcases James Cagney’s powerful 1931 breakthrough performance as streetwise tough guy Tom Powers, a role Cagney won only because production chief Darryl F. Zanuck made a late casting change. Cagney had a secondary role but Zanuck soon spotted Cagney’s screen dominance and gave him the star part, even after shooting had begun. From that moment, an indelible genre classic and an enduring star career were both born. Bristling with ’20s style, dialogue and desperation under the masterful directorial eye of William A. Wellman, this is a virtual time capsule of the Prohibition era — taut, gritty and hard-hitting. Several restored scenes (deleted from subsequent reissue versions due to enforcement of the Production code) from the original release version of the film are included — unseen for decades until they were restored by WHV for its premiere DVD release.

Special Features:
Commentary by film historian Robert Sklar
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931
Featurette Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public

Little Caesar (1931) – Now on Blu–ray!
“R-I-C-O, Little Caesar, that’s who!” Edward G. Robinson bellowed into the phone and Hollywood got the message. The 37-year-old Robinson, not gifted with matinee-idol looks, was nonetheless a first-class star. Little Caesar is the tale of pugnacious Caesar Enrico Bandello, a hoodlum with a Chicago-sized chip on his shoulder, few attachments, fewer friends and no sense of underworld diplomacy.

Special Features:
Commentary by film historian Richard B. Jewell
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1930
Featurette Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero

The Petrified Forest (1936) – Now on Blu-ray!
A rundown diner bakes in the Arizona heat. Inside, fugitive killer Duke Mantee sweats out a manhunt, holding disillusioned writer Alan Squier, young Gabby Maple and a handful of other hostages. The Petrified Forest, Robert E. Sherwood’s 1935 Broadway success about survival of the fittest, hit the screen a year later with Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart magnificently recreating their stage roles and Bette Davis ably reteaming with her Of Human Bondage co-star Howard. The film presented Bogart with his first major starring role and helped launch his brilliant movie career.

Special Features:
Commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1936
Featurette The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert

White Heat (1949) – Now on Blu-ray!
Playing a psychotic thug, Cody Jarrett, devoted to his hard-boiled “Ma,” James Cagney gives a performance to match his electrifying work in The Public Enemy. Tightly directed by Raoul Walsh, this fast-paced thriller tracing Jarrett’s violent life in and out of jail is among the most vivid screen performances of Cagney’s career.

Special Features:
Commentary by Film Historian Drew Casper
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1949
Newsreel
The Fountainhead theatrical trailer
Comedy short So You Think You’re Not Guilty
Cartoon Homeless Hare
1949 Trailer Gallery
White Heat: Top of the World

MOVIES SCORE: 10/10

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