The final volume of this series finally clocks in and it is heavy on the Edward G.Robinson,and that is definitely a good thing.I am glad Warner's has put these titles out there for our enjoyment and re-assessment of his considerable acting talents. "The Amazing Dr.Clitterhouse",released in July of /38(4-4 1/2 stars),stars Edward G.Robinson as Dr Clitterhouse.He is a well educated and spoken physician/surgeon in the city with a flourishing practice.But the good doctor,as the picture opens,has just committed his fourth robbery by heisting some jewels out of the upstairs safe of a friends home.The doctor has immersed himself into criminology,specificially the study of criminals,their behaviour and reactions of same.The fence he finds for his takings is one Joe Keller(Claire Trevor) and her head man Rocks Valentine(Bogart).He ingratiates himself into Joe's favour and he joins the gang for a period of six weeks to study them in depth for his research and an eventual book;he does blood work,takes blood pressure readings and their reactions to light,stress,etc.Rocks doesn't like Clitterhouse and tries at one point to kill him;unsuccessfully.The six weeks come and go and the doctor leaves but Rocks learns the doctors location,confiscates his research and wants to use his office as his front.Clitterhouse is backed into a corner and kills Rocks.He is found out and put on trial.With a top lawyer friend for his defense,and in spite of almost blowing his own case,the doctor gets off with an insanity plea. The screenplay co-written by future director John Huston is an engrossing one and Robinson is on top of his game in this film.Bogie also turns in a powerful and menacing performance as Rocks.Read more ›
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
More from the Warner's vaults - the best sourceJune 20 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
The fourth collection in Warner's Gangster sets contains more unsung gems from Warner Brothers, the studio whose product stands up the best of all today. The reasons are simple - they had the best actors and their production environment produced dynamic economical unpretentious entertainments. This set contains 4 starring vehicles for Edward G Robinson and 3 supporting roles for Humprey Bogart.
- "The Little Giant" is a pre code 1933 vehicle, a typical smart comic melodrama with Robinson as a beer baron who mixes in society, a not dissimilar theme to the later and far superior "A Slight Case of Murder". In this case, Robinson is still a bit close to "Little Ceasar" to be funny and the main interest is the endless slang and pre-code innuendo. - From 1937, "Kid Galahad" is an exciting prize fight melodrama. Robinson is paired with a very attractive Bette Davis as his moll and together, they tear up the screen with their magnetism. Bogart and Robinson have a great shoot out at the end of the film. - "The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse", released in 1938 and based on a successful West End play, stars Robinson as a surgeon who infiltrates a gang to analyse the criminal mind. With Bogart in support as a particularly vicious crook and the attractive and brittle Claire Trevor as the leader of the gang, this film, as directed by Anatole Litvak, is more polished than the usual Warner's programmer. The story is ambiguous with a very clever climax; a most unusual and interesting film. - by 1939, the gangster cycle had just about runs its course and the Hays Code was more interested in how the gangster reformed than how he operated. "Invisible Stripes" is more a social melodrama than a gangster film and stars the wooden George Raft as an ex-crim trying to re-establish himself while on parole. Bogart is in support again and a very young William Holden appears. It is a dull and predictable film. - "Larceny Inc", released in 1942, is a very funny comedy with Robinson out of jail and buying a luggage shop adjoining a bank in order to break in. Jack Carson is particularly amusing as a travelling salesman. Watch out for his sales pitch on his range of luggage - hilarious! Also the incomparable Ed Brophy with his hysterical Brooklyn accent appears as one of Robinson's sidekicks.
All the prints are in good condition and the DVDs are packed with extras - cartoons, short films and trailers as part of "Warners's Night at the Movies". A number of the films have expert commentaries. The one for "Larceny Inc" is lousy. A seperate DVD is included which contains a very detailed documentary about the development of the gangster genre at Warner Brothers. The best parts are the snippets of archival interviews with such people as Joan Blondell, that spunky moll essential to the early Warner's product, and directors such as William Wellman ("The Public Enemy") and Raoul Walsh ("White Heat"). If you are interested in the history of Warner Brothers, then the documentary is interesting but keep in mind that most of its content has been covered in commentaries and featurettes included on the DVDs of the films which make up Warners Gangster Collections.
As usual, Warner Brothers have produced a good value package.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Another first -rate classic film set by Warner Home VideoJune 28 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
The films in this edition of the Warner Gangsters are The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The Little Giant, Larceny, Inc., Invisible Stripes and Kid Galahad. The films contain bonus features such as rarely-seen Warner Bros. shorts, vintage newsreels and classic cartoons, plus original theatrical trailers. Also included in the collection is an all-new Warner Home Video feature-length documentary, Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film which takes a detailed look at the crime genre and how it came about. Kid Galahad will be available as a single title. Notably absent in this set is James Cagney, but we have just about all of his gangster films on DVD now. All that's left are his precodes that don't really fit into the gangster genre.
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) Dr. Clitterhouse (Edward G. Robinson) is fascinated by the study of the physical and mental states of lawbreakers, so he joins a gang of jewel thieves for a closer look in this dark comedy. Claire Trevor co-stars as a savvy crime queen, and Humphrey Bogart plays Rocks Valentine, whom Robinson calls "a magnificent specimen of pure viciousness." The movie also marks the start of one of film's most noteworthy collaborations. John Huston, who was to later direct Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen, co-wrote the screenplay of The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse.
Special Features: Commentary by Dr. Drew Casper and Richard Jewell Racket Busters theatrical trailer Vintage newsreel WB short: Night Intruder WB cartoons: Cinderella Meets a Fella Count Me Out 1941 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Broadcast (audio only) 1944 Gulf Screen Guild Theater Broadcast (audio only) Theatrical trailer
The Little Giant (1933) Bootlegger Bugs Ahearn (Edward G. Robinson) has a plan for what he'll do now that Prohibition is past. He decides to head for California's posh, polo-playing Santa Barbara to become part of the high society. What he finds there - swindlers and gold diggers - are the set-up for some great precode antics. Edward G. Robinson shows his comedic talents and paves the way for such subsequent films as A Slight Case of Murder, Brother Orchid, and Larceny, Inc..
Special Features: Commentary by Daniel Bubbeo and John McCarty Vintage newsreel WB short: Just Around the Corner WB cartoon: The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon Theatrical trailer
Larceny, Inc. (1942) Edward G. Robinson plays Pressure Maxwell, who emerges from Sing Sing planning to run a dog track with his cronies Jug (Broderick Crawford) and Weepy (Edward Brophy). But the plan needs funding, so the group (assisted by Jane Wyman) opens a luggage shop as a front while attempting to tunnel into the bank next door. Unfortunately, the store is a success and this puts a comedic dent in Maxwell's plans.
Special Features: Commentary by Haden Guest and Dana Polan Vintage newsreel The Big Shot theatrical trailer WB short: Winning Your Wings WB cartoons: Porky's Pastry Pirates The Wabbit Who Came to Supper Theatrical trailer
Invisible Stripes (1939) Parolee Chuck Martin (Humphrey Bogart) is going straight back to a life of crime when he is released. In lockup or out in the civilian world, he knows he'll forever wear "Invisible Stripes". Bogart often played these tormented souls in the 30's during his long apprenticeship at Warner Bros. Top-billed George Raft plays Martin's ex-Sing Sing yard mate Cliff Taylor, who vows to walk away from crime and be a role model for his kid brother (William Holden). But what awaits Taylor are suspicion, public disdain and joblessness, so he turns to a fellow ex-con for assistance.
Special Features: Commentary by Alain Silver and James Ursini You Can't Get Away with Murder Theatrical trailer Vintage newsreel WB short The Monroe Doctrine and Quiet, Please WB cartoons: Bars and Stripes Forever Hare-um Scare-um Theatrical trailer
Kid Galahad (1937) Edward G. Robinson is racketeer/fight promoter Nick Donati and Humphrey Bogart is Turkey Morgan who is also a fight promoter and Donati's rival. Bette Davis plays the moll who has a soft spot for the bellhop (Wayne Morris) that Nick is grooming for the heavyweight title. Michael Curtiz directs this first of his six collaborations with Bogart that would include Casablanca and We're No Angels.
Special Features: Commentary by Art Simon and Robert Sklar It's Love I'm After theatrical trailer Vintage newsreel WB Shorts: Alibi Mark and Postal Union WB Cartoons: Egghead Rides Again I Wanna Be a Sailor Porky's Super Service Theatrical trailer
Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film is a documentary that explores the invention and development of the crime genre and the rise of Warner stars like Cagney, Bogart and Robinson. Also discussed are directors such as Walsh, Wellman and Curtiz. It will cover the films themselves and the influence they had on filmmakers all over the world. Finally, the documentary will celebrate the impact that Warner Bros. had in establishing the gangster film.
Special Features: Four WB Cartoons: I Like Mountain Music, She Was an Acrobat's Daughter, Racketeer Rabbit and Bugs and Thugs
You have to give credit to Warner Bros. for releasing some of the more obscure films in its catalog rather than just re-releasing in Blu-ray well-known films that are already in wide release as some other studios have been doing. I won't mention any names.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Volume#4-Heavy on Edward G....see?July 29 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
The final volume of this series finally clocks in and it is heavy on the Edward G.Robinson,and that is definitely a good thing.I am glad Warner's has put these titles out there for our enjoyment and re-assessment of his considerable acting talents. "The Amazing Dr.Clitterhouse",released in July of /38(4-4 1/2 stars),stars Edward G.Robinson as Dr Clitterhouse.He is a well educated and spoken physician/surgeon in the city with a flourishing practice.But the good doctor,as the picture opens,has just committed his fourth robbery by heisting some jewels out of the upstairs safe of a friends home.The doctor has immersed himself into criminology,specificially the study of criminals,their behaviour and reactions of same.The fence he finds for his takings is one Joe Keller(Claire Trevor) and her head man Rocks Valentine(Bogart).He ingratiates himself into Joe's favour and he joins the gang for a period of six weeks to study them in depth for his research and an eventual book;he does blood work,takes blood pressure readings and their reactions to light,stress,etc.Rocks doesn't like Clitterhouse and tries at one point to kill him;unsuccessfully.The six weeks come and go and the doctor leaves but Rocks learns the doctors location,confiscates his research and wants to use his office as his front.Clitterhouse is backed into a corner and kills Rocks.He is found out and put on trial.With a top lawyer friend for his defense,and in spite of almost blowing his own case,the doctor gets off with an insanity plea. The screenplay co-written by future director John Huston is an engrossing one and Robinson is on top of his game in this film.Bogie also turns in a powerful and menacing performance as Rocks. "Invisible Stripes",released in December/39,(3 1/2 stars),stars George Raft as Cliff Taylor,William Holden as his brother Tim,and Bogart as Chuck Martin .Cliff and Chuck are jail mates and get released on the same day.Cliff vows to go straight while Chuck is just as determined to go back to crime.Cliff finds the life of an ex-con a tough one,with very few people willing to give him a break.Brother Tim longs to give he and his sweetheart a decent life but can't.Cliff ends up back into crime thanks to the help of his old pen mate Chuck,to make some easy dough.When he has enough he quits.But after a botched robbery Chuck hides out in Tims new business and gets him implicated with the gang.He's arrested and Cliff has no choice but to confront Chuck then go back to jail and force his brother to tell the police the real story.When he returns to try and help Chuck out of his jam both get caught in the pursuing gangs gunfire and get killed. This film is an enjoyable one with Raft doing a nice turn as the big brother and Bogie turns on the menace as Chuck.This was only Holden's second major screen appearance;another star on the rise. "Kid Galahad",released in May/37,(3 1/2-4 stars), stars Edward G.Robinson as fight owner Nick Donati.His right hand "man" is Louise Phillips(Bette Davis).Together for years,they have owned,promoted,trained and fought several potential fighters but none have gotten very far.One day during a party one Ward Guisenberry(Wayne Morris),a new bellhop,comes into their lives.Showing potential Nick trains the now named,Kid Galahad,towards becoming the next world champion;something Nick and Louise have always wanted.The Kid develops a crush on Louise but she keeps things strictly business.Over time while Louises' affection turns to love it is too late as the Kid has fallen in love with Nick's sister.The Kid goes on to a title bout with his rival Chuck McGraw(William Haade) managed by Turkey Morgan(Bogart).Nick double crosses Turkey on the betting and the bout and when the Kid wins Turkey is out for blood.Both Turkey and Nick die in a shoot out. A pleasant film with Robinson turning in another boffo performance along with Bogie,playing that menacing thing to a tee. "Larceny,Inc.",released in May/42(3 1/2-4 stars),stars Edward G.Robinson as "Pressure Maxwell",a just released con who is smart and a natural born salesman.While in the "jug" Pressure was asked by fellow con Leo(Anthony Quinn) if he wanted to go in on a bank job with him when he got out.Pressure said no as he was going straight and all was forgotten.Pressure,with his two sidekicks Weepy(Ed Brophy) and Jug(Broderick Crawford),attend the very same bank Leo approached Pressure about to ask for a legitimate loan.They refuse and he gets angry.He buys a luggage shop next door whose basement backs onto the banks' vault.They start digging but continually get interrupted either by salesmen or legit customers.Leo makes a jail break and finds Pressure and the boys muscling in on his plan.Leo gets through to the vault but is apprehended by the cops trying to esacpe.All ends well with popular Pressure now a legitmate and well loved local business man with many lofty plans. "Larceny,Inc" has gotten alot more airplay on TV in recent years because the time takes place around Christmas.Jane Wyman stars as a ward of Pressures',Jack Carson is Jane's beau and watch for a young Jackie Gleason as the soda jerk in his sixth film. The last film is "The Little Giant",released in May/33(3 stars),and it stars Edward G. as Bugs Ahearn,a Chicago beer baron whose job comes to an end as swiftly as Prohibition does.He quits it and moves west with his good pal Al(Russell Hopton).There they check into the fanciest hotel($45 a day!)as Bugs seeks out the hoi poloi.But he soon finds he continually gets nothing but the high hat from everyone.When he leaves one Polly Cass(Helen Vinson) finally steps forward to put her claws into him.In fact before the film is through the entire family has gotten into the act of fleecing Bugs.His father does the coup de gras when he sells him a fraudulent bond company lock,stock and barrel.When he realizes he's been taken,Bugs recalls the old gang who come out and put the squeeze on the entire Cass family to get his money back.Bugs falls for the keeper of the house he retained,one Ruth Wayburn(Mary Astor) as they head off to better things. This film unfortunately plods along at a most stodgy pace and it doesn't get interesting until the last 20 minutes.By then it's too late to get the bad taste from the previous minutes,out of your mouth.However the film does have a memorable quote though;Bugs shows Al a painting-"Have you ever seen anything like it?","No,not since I stopped using cocaine". The last DVD in this set consists of a 2008 Warners documentary called "Public Enemies-The Golden Age of the Gangster Film".It is about 105 minutes long and contains a mini history lesson both on film itself and the origins and subsequent rise of the gangsters genre of films.To some much of the information contained is well known but to others it will serve as a kind of gangsters-101 course that is well worth taking a look at.The film clips used date all the way back to the late 1890s,through the silent era and forward and are wonderful to see;many of them in their original tint.I had never seen "The Great Train Robbery" that way and it was fascinating.There are a myriad of well known and lesser known film critics on board and extensive interviews with many of the old films' writers,directors and actors.Also included are four Warners cartoons spanning 20 years from 1933 to 1953,all in good condition.However,if I had had my druthers,I would have liked another movie in this set than this documentary,as there are no shortage of Warner's films like these that could have been included in its' stead. Technically all the films,like the previous sets,have been remastered well and are generally crisp and clean.The sets all include a myriad of extras including trailers for the movies and others,lots of vintage cartoons,vintage newsreel clips and shorts(some great stuff here) and the usual commentary by this critic and that. One last note.Watching these films will have brought to your attention many actors you will have seen either repeatedly in them and/or in other things in later years.Names such as:Marc Lawrence,Jane Bryon,Tully Marshall,Dick Foran,Ward Bond,Henry Travers,Cecil Kellaway,Charles Lane,George E.Stone,Arthur Byron,Henry O'Neil,Leslie Fenton,Frank McHugh,Arthur Kennedy,Barton MacLaine,Victor Jory,Regis Toomey,Ed Pawley,Sterling Holloway, and so many,many more.Many of these actors would go on to more exposure in later years in television,while others would remain just in the movie business.All are stand outs as solid supporting players for the bigger stars through many,many years working in Warners and other studios.Seeing the same actors in different projects over the years was one of the things that got me interested in movies when I was young.Watching them,getting to know who they were and getting to know more about them.If YOU have an interest in movies old or new,this is a great way to get started.May I respectfully suggest you look up these people either in books or on the internet.Without good talent in the background,there is no talent in the foreground.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
amazing collection and commentaryDec 8 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I thoroughly enjoyed, and was often enchanted, by this much needed collection, and the learned commentary that made me feel as if I'd just taken a terrific class in film history, theory, and the evolution of the genre. I'm no film scholar, but I know what I like.....and this was great. Especially noteworthy was the commentary by Art Simon and Robert Sklar, who's insights about Kid Galahad, one of my favorite movies, made it all fresh again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
old favoritesDec 27 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Loved the movie Larceny Inc. Actors playd roles that were completely out of character from their personna delivering hilarious results. Other movies highlight Edward G Robinson at his best. What an actor! He is not the typical leading man but only he can pull it off because of his skill. These films are from the lost generation of filmaking when they were primarily for entertainment as an escape from reality and not some statement on political or world affairs. Very refreshing.