- Actors: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Genevieve Tobin, Dick Foran
- Directors: Archie Mayo, Friz Freleng, Roy Mack
- Writers: A. Dorian Otvos, Charles Kenyon, Cyrus Wood, Delmer Daves, Robert E. Sherwood
- Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
- Release Date: Jan. 25 2005
- Run Time: 82 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0006HBV2I
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,033 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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Petrified Forest (Sous-titres français)
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A GANGSTER ON THE RUN TAKES PEOPLE HOSTAGE IN A ROADSIDE DINER.
For a knock-out combination of timeless entertainment and vintage studio history, you can't do much better than The Warner Brothers Gangsters Collection. In the 1930s and '40s, Paramount specialized in glossy comedies, MGM popularized lavish musicals, Universal produced signature horror classics, and Fox scored hits with sophisticated dramas. But it was Warner Bros. that generated controversy--if not always box-office profits--with so-called "social problem" films, and that meant gangsters. When viewed in their pre- and post-Prohibition context and in chronological order (Little Caesar, 1930; The Public Enemy, 1931; The Petrified Forest, 1936; Angels With Dirty Faces, 1938; The Roaring Twenties, 1939; White Heat, 1949), these six films definitively capture Warners' domination of the mobster genre, and to varying degrees, they all qualify as classics.
With its stilted visuals and pulpy plot, Little Caesar remains stuck in the stiff, early-sound era, but it's still a prototypical powerhouse, with Edward G. Robinson's titular "Rico" setting the stage for all screen gangsters to follow. The Public Enemy made James Cagney a star (who can forget him smashing a grapefruit into Mae Clarke's face?), and Humphrey Bogart repeats his Broadway success in The Petrified Forest, a stagy adaptation of Robert Sherwood's play, still enjoyable for Bogey's ever-threatening malevolence. Then it's a Cagney triple-threat in Angels (with Pat O'Brien), racketeering in The Roaring Twenties (with Bogart), and especially the jailbird classic White Heat, with a fiery finale and an exit line ("Made it Ma! Top o' the world!") that epitomized Cagney's iconic, tough-guy image. In many ways Cagney was Warner Bros., and this Gangsters Collection pays enduring tribute to him and the important films that forged the studio's rugged reputation. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Directed by Archie Mayo
Burned-out British intellectual Alan Squier wanders into the desert service station/restaurant owned by Jason Maple. Alan finds himself an object of fascination for Jason's starry-eyed daughter, Gabrielle, who dreams of moving to France and establishing herself. Boze Hertzlinger, Gabrielle's bowser attendant boyfriend, grows jealous of Alan, but the penniless, dissipated Briton has no intention of settling down; in fact, as soon as he scores a ride from wealthy tourists Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm, he's on his way out of Gabrielle's life or so everyone thinks. Later that same day, Alan, Gabrielle, Jason, Boze, and Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm are huddled together in the same restaurant, held at gunpoint by Dillinger-like desperado Duke Mantee (Humphrey Bogart) and his gang.
When originally presented on Broadway, Robert E. Sherwood's The Petrified Forest starred Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart. Warner Bros. intended to cast Edward G. Robinson in Duke's role, only to be thwarted by Howard, who told the studio that he himself would drop out of the project if Bogart wasn't retained. The film proved to be just the break that Bogart needed; years later, he expressed his undying gratitude to Howard by naming his daughter Leslie Bogart.
Leslie Howard & Humphrey Bogart re-teamed a year later for the delightful "Stand-In" (1937).
1. Archie Mayo [Director]
Date of Birth: 29 January 1891, New York City, New York
Date of Death: 4 December 1968, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
2. Leslie Howard [aka: Leslie Howard Steiner]
Date of Birth: 3 April 1893, Forest Hill, London, England, UK
Date of Death: 1 June 1943, Bay of Biscay (casualty of war)
3. Humphrey Bogart
Date of Birth: 25 December 1899 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 14 January 1957 - Los Angeles, California
4. Bette Davis [aka: Ruth Elizabeth Davis]
Date of Birth: 5 April 1908 - Lowell, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 6 October 1989 - Neuilly, France
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 82 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (01/25/2005)
"The Public Enemy"(4 stars),referred still mistakenly by many today as just "Public Enemy",stars James Cagney as Tom Powers,his two girlfriends Mae Clarke as Kitty and Jean Harlow as Gwen,Ed Woods as his buddy Matt Doyle,his girlfriend Joan Blondell as Mamie,and others.The movie involves the story of Tom and Matt as two boys growing up on the mean streets of the big city and their first brushes as young kids with petty criminals and crime.As they grow up we see their graduation into the big time and their climb to success during prohibition as two of its' biggest hustlers in the illegal distribution of homemade booze.Of course crime doesn't pay and Tom gets his,in the end.Skillfully directed by William Wellman(Wings),this was Cagneys' breakthrough part and put him solidly on the path to major stardom in short order.Originally Woods had the Cagney role but they were reversed due to Cagney's powerful presence.This version has two minutes of restored footage re-inserted into it.It is definitely pre-code(/34)and is violent,with(still)quite shocking overt sexual moments and has the famous grapefruit in the kisser scene.
"Little Ceasar"(4 1/2 stars)released in August of /31,was Edward G.Robinson's breakthrough role also.Robsinson gives a rivetting performance as Enricco Bondello who as a petty thief longs to be the number one man and one day starts on the path to become so.It is a slow climb up the ladder as he steps on many toes,displaces bosses and makes many enemies.When you're at the top there is only one way to go and down and out Bondello goes in a hail of bullets;the only fitting end.Director Mervyn LeRoy(Wizard of Oz,Mister Roberts)nicely directs this taut gangster flick and Robinson gives an Oscar-caliber performance.It is absolute lunacy that Robsinson was never nominated for an Oscar in his entire career.He received an honourary one in /73 but died before getting it.
"Petrified Forest"(4 stars),released in Feb/36,stars wonderful British Actor Leslie Howard as Alan Squier who is hitchiking westward through Arizona when his journey brings him to a small cafe.Bette Davis as Gabrielle works as a waitress for her father,who dreams and longs to go to her mothers' homeland of France.The two strike up a quick bond,much to the chagrin of her boyfriend Dick Foran(Boze).Enter Duke Mantee(Humphrey Bogart)as an arch criminal on the run trying to get to Mexico,who decides to use the cafe as a temporary lay over.In the end the law gets its' man and Gabrielle gets her wish,with the help of Alan;in spirit.The film was originally a successful play starring Howard and Bogart.Howard retained the rights to the property and when Warners wanted Edward G. Robinson in the Mantee role he stubbornly balked and in the end won the day for Bogie.The mise en scene for the most part revolves around the cafe and a wonderful tension and atmosphere prevails the entire film.This was Bogies' breaktrough film who literally dominates every scene he is in.
"Angels with Dirty Faces"(3 1/2 stars),released in Nov/38,stars James Cagney as Rocky Sullivan and Pat O'Brien as his buddy Jerry Connelly.We again see the rise of two friends during lean times as petty thieves.As Rocky continues on the path of crime doing major jail time over the years,his friend Jerry pursues a different course and becomes a priest in their old neighbourhood.Rocky returns to his old haunt and is looked up to by a local gang of youths(The Dead End Kids with Huntz Hall,Leo Gorcy,Gabriel Dell,et al).In the end Rocky gets caught and is sentenced to death in the chair.Jerry asks Rocky to act a coward in his final moments to turn the lives around of the admiring local kids.He does so and the final scene shows Jerry leading the boys off to Church.The film has top acting throughout and is well directed by Michael Curtiz(Casablanca).I have always had a major problem with this films ending.I just cannot see any justification in the script for anything that would remotely suggest in Rocky's personality, that he'd turn yellow at the end just for the kids sake.See what you think.
"The Roaring Twenties"(4 stars),released in Oct/39,stars James Cagney as Eddie Bartlett,an out of work WW1 vet.Unable to get his old job back or ANY employment he eventually turns a burgeoning cab business into hauling bootleg booze.He hires his WW1 buddy Jeff(Lloyd Hart)as his lawyer.Along the way he meets up with another WW1 pal George( Humphrey Bogart),who comes into business as a partner.George gets other ideas along the way and double deals Eddie.Priscilla Lane stars as Jeannie,the girl who can never return Eddies'love and Gladys George as Panama Smith,who loves Eddie but again never in turns receives the love she wants from him.In the end,Eddie goes out in a blaze of glory.The movie almost runs like a documentary and is a telling comment on the times and how such behaviour amongst other wise good people could have developed.Skillfully directed by Raoul Walsh(Sadie Thompson) the movie really packs a powerful punch in its' portrayals and Gladys George is an especial stand out.
Finally "White Heat"(4 stars),released in Sept/49,stars James Cagney as Cody Jarrett.He leads a rag tag bunch of criminals who loyalties are suspect to say the least.Cody is married to Verna(Virginia Mayo)who doesn't love him and is coddled by his dominant mother(Margaret Wycherly).The gang opens the film by pulling a train heist and spends the rest of the movie fleeing from the law.The law is persistant and when they threaten to capture Cody he gives himself in in another state on a lesser(time)indictment.While in the pen a plant by the name of Eddie(Edmond O'Brien) befriends Cody.Suspicious at first Cody finally comes to trust him.In the end Cody is surrounded on top of a gas storage tank,now completely out of his mind, with his mother dead and the truth about Eddie now revealed.Raoul Walsh again directs this gangster flick and Cagney plays a wide range of character personality quirks to a tee.His last gangster flick had been ten years before and it was "The Roaring 20s".
Technically, although many of these films do show their age,they have been transferred very well by Warners.All the DVDs contain the same general line up of extras which include things like the trailers,snippets of vintage newsreels,featurettes,commentaries and of course those wonderful vintage cartoons.
All in all this is a collection worth owning.It helps,but you do not have to be a gangster fan to enjoy the offerings here.The acting is all first rate and historically speaking they are important for it shows three of Hollywood's biggest names,Cagney,Bogart and Robinson in their breakthrough roles.A fine collection on anybody's shelf.
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