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Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics

directed by William A. Wellman, Mervyn LeRoy, Archie Mayo and Raoul Walsh
USA 1931 - 1949

       Little Caesar                The Petrified Forest                The Public Enemy                White Heat

 Warner Home Video Boxset -  Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

    

Distribution Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1.0 tracks
Subtitles English (SDH), French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, none

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

 

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• 4 classic 'gangster films' in 1080P all with commentary:
The Public Enemy
White Heat
Little Caesar
The Petrified Forest

• See Press Release below for more details
• Number of discs: 4
Blu-rays / 1 NTSC DVD (region 1,2,3,4)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Custom
Blu-ray Case with booklet

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - May 2013': A few scattered thoughts as I sort through my viewing notes. All 4 films have been re-mastered to 1080P Blu-ray, 3 are single-layered and White Heat is dual-layered. In general the better contrast is readily identifiable and I noticed the improvement most in The Petrified Forest and White Heat. The films are darker with black levels looking stronger than on the 'lighter' SD renderings. What I found most appealing was the visibility and support of the grain structure. Really, this is a large step in improvement on an HD TV - you can easily notice the superiority of the Blu-ray transfers.

 

Audio is lossless mono for all 4 via DTS-HD master tracks. Weaknesses of the original production in Little Caesar are still there but overall the sound has a more resonant depth - especially in the gunfire. There are optional foreign language DUbs and subtitle choices. The Blu-ray discs are Region FREE.  

 

 

Supplements, listed in the Press Release below, seem to cover all the past extras from Warner's 2005 DVD Gangster Collection Boxset (reviewed HERE) including the commentaries and the majority of the video supplements. What we do get new - is the 32-page hardcover book and a DVD with the 1-hour 45-minute 2008 documentary from Constantine Nasr entitled Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film. It is narrated by Alec Baldwin with plenty of archival footage.

 

The package itself is a very nice one - a thick hard cover box that contains a multi-disc case and the advertised hardcover booklet.

 

'Classic' might be the appropriate word here, we get James Cagney, early Bogie, Edward G. Robinson and Bette Davis all in glorious 1080P. My personal favorite may still be The Petrified Forest but I am also partial to Little Caesar, and it's hard to deny White Heat its high-ranking status (Drew Casper calls it the best Gangster film every made). What a pleasure to watch, and own, these gems in their best digital appearance... ever. Those keen on this era and genre - the Blu-ray package is strongly recommended! There is a ton of value here.

Gary W. Tooze

Press Release:

The Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classic  includes a 32-page booklet with images and additional information about each film.

 

Details of Ultimate Gangster Collection Classic

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

 

Blu-ray package

 

 

Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

directed by Mervyn LeRoy

USA 1931

Theatrical Release:  January 9th, 1931 - USA

One of the most well-known and best of the early classical gangster films is Warner Bros.' and director Mervyn LeRoy's Little Caesar (1930). It is often called the grandfather of the modern crime film, with its quintessential portrayal of an underworld character that rebelliously challenged traditional values. Although it was not the first gangster film of the talkies era (that honor went to Lights of New York (1928)), it is generally considered the prototype of future gangster films.

It is a taut, fast-moving (at a brisk 80 minutes) and vivid film that set the genre's standards and launched the entire popular film type. This early, seminal gangster film, that opened in New York near the end of 1930, arrived around the same time as a few other prison-crime films, such as MGM's quintessential The Big House (1930) with Wallace Beery, LeRoy's own Numbered Men (1930) and I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code (1931), and The Last Mile (1932).

Little Caesar reflects the technically primitive nature of early film-making, with a straight-forward, blunt narrative (composed of a series of tableaux), yet its hard-hitting gritty realism gripped audiences. Unlike many other gangster films, the film did not feature graphic bloodshed, depict violence on-screen, or sensationalize street language, but its tone was somber and tough. Its low-budget sets and cheap, sleazy atmosphere added to the film's impact. The film's rich black-and-white cinematography was provided by Tony Gaudio. W. R. Burnett, the author of the novel on which the film's screenplay (by Francis Faragoh and Robert N. Lee) was based, was also co-scriptwriter of Scarface (1932).

Excerpt of Tim Dirks review located HERE on The Greatest Films.org 

 

Posters

 

Reviews                                  More Reviews                        DVD Reviews

Cover and Individual purchase link

 

(DVDBeaver suggests buying the entire Boxset at for both a savings and you get the extra Booklet and included DVD with the entire Blu-ray set.)

 

   

CLICK logo to order the whole Boxset! 

  

Runtime 1:18:30.747
Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,797,643,018 bytes

Feature: 19,354,300,416 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 29.33 Mbps

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1031 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1031 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English (SDH), French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, none
Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



Menus

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

directed by Archie Mayo

USA 1936

Theatrical Release:  February 6th, 1936 - USA

Humphrey Bogart plays gangster Duke Mantee - his first of such roles. Leslie Howard and a young Bette Davis also fill the marquee. Definitely an unlikely gangster film as it is noteworthy for its social commentary on greed, wealth, position, art and love. The action sequences mark the very end of the film and we even get a glimpse of poignant contrast between its two black characters. An unusual and worthy film from 30's.

Gary Tooze

out of

  

Posters

Reviews                                       More Reviews                              DVD Reviews

Cover and Individual purchase link

 

(DVDBeaver suggests buying the entire Boxset at for both a savings and you get the extra Booklet and included DVD with the entire Blu-ray set.)

 

  

CLICK logo to order the whole Boxset! 

  

Runtime 1:22:20.018
Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,068,871,290 bytes

Feature: 17,024,149,056 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1040 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1040 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English , French , German, Spanish, Portuguese, none
Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



Menus

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Screen Captures

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

(aka 'Beer and Blood' or 'Enemies of the Public')

 

directed by William A. Wellman

USA 1931

 

The Public Enemy (1931) is one of the earliest and best of the gangster films from Warner Bros. in the thirties. The film's screenplay (by John Bright and Kubec Glasmon), which received the film's only Academy Award nomination, was based upon their novel Beer and Blood. Unfortunately, the film wasn't even given a Best Picture nomination, nor was Cagney rewarded with a nomination for his dynamic and kinetic performance. Jean Harlow's small role as a sexy call-girl was her only screen appearance with Cagney and her only lead role with Warners.

Director William Wellman's pre-code, box-office smash, shot in less than a month at a cost of approximately $151,000, was released at approximately the same time as another classical gangster film - Little Caesar (1930) that starred Edward G. Robinson as a petty thief whose criminal ambitions led to his inevitable downfall. The Public Enemy was even tougher, more violent and realistic (released before the censorship codes were strictly enforced), although most of the violence is again off-screen.

The lead character is portrayed as a sexually magnetic, cocky, completely amoral, emotionally brutal, ruthless, and terribly lethal individual. However, the protagonist (a cold-blooded, tough-as-nails racketeer and "public enemy") begins his life, not as a hardened criminal, but as a young mischievous boy in pre-Prohibition city streets, whose early environment clearly contributes to the evolving development of his life of adult crime and his inevitable gruesome death. Unlike other films, this one examined the social forces and roots of crime in a serious way.

Cagney's character was based on real-life Chicago gangster Earl "Hymie" Weiss (who also survived a machine-gun ambush) and bootlegging mobster Charles Dion "Deanie" O'Banion (an arch-rival to Al Capone). Reportedly, an exasperated Weiss slammed an omelette (not a grapefruit) into the face of his girlfriend. Similarities also exist between the demise of Nails Nathan and the 1923 death of real-life Samuel J. "Nails" Morton of the O'Banion mob. The retaliatory horse killing in the film was a replay of a similar incident when organized crime figure Louis "Two-Gun" Alterie (and other North Side gang members) executed the offending horse in Chicago after the death of their friend.

Excerpt of Tim Dirks review located HERE on The Greatest Films.org

Theatrical Release:  April 23rd, 1931 - USA

Posters

 

Reviews                                     More Reviews                                DVD Reviews

Cover and Individual purchase link

 

(DVDBeaver suggests buying the entire Boxset at for both a savings and you get the extra Booklet and included DVD with the entire Blu-ray set.)

 

  

CLICK logo to order the whole Boxset! 

  

Runtime 1:24:02.787
Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,785,851,733 bytes

Feature: 18,327,549,312 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 27.26 Mbps

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1029 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1029 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, French, German, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, German, none
Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



Menus

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

directed by Raoul Walsh

USA 1949

 

White Heat (1949) is one of the top classic crime-heist dramas of the post-war period, and one of the last of Warner Bros' gritty crime films in its era. White Heat is an entertaining, fascinating and hypnotic portrait of a flamboyant, mother-dominated and fixated, epileptic and psychotic killer, who often spouts crude bits of humor. The dynamic film, with both film noir and documentary-style elements, is characterized by an increased level of violence and brutality along with classical Greek elements.

The film's screenplay by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts was suggested by a story of the same name by Virginia Kellogg. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Story - the film's only nomination. [Kellogg's next film was the brutal prison drama Caged (1950) set in a women's institution.] The crooked, cold-blooded, and warped gangster has many personality and psychological flaws, but is tragically and ultimately betrayed by the stupidity of his closest accomplices (a right-hand man gang member and even his criminal mother when she purchases strawberries), and by his trusted cell-mate/friend who is actually an undercover cop. [The film was inspired by the real-life gangster Arthur "Doc" and his mother Ma Barker, from a suggestion by star Cagney himself to the writers.]

Excerpt of Tim Dirks review located HERE on The Greatyest Films.org

out of

Theatrical Release:  September 2nd, 1949 (New York City, New York)

 

 

Posters

Reviews                               More Reviews                        DVD Reviews

Cover and Individual purchase link

 

(DVDBeaver suggests buying the entire Boxset at for both a savings and you get the extra Booklet and included DVD with the entire Blu-ray set.)

 

  

CLICK logo to order the whole Boxset! 

  

Runtime 1:53:25.882
Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,752,542,296 bytes

Feature: 28,030,277,184 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 28.96 Mbps

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1036 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1036 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, French, German, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, German, none
Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



Menus

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

DVD Included in the Blu-ray package

 

 

 

    

Distribution Warner -  Region FREE - Blu-ray


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 



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Gary Tooze

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