DVD Shopping Bag: Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics and Contemporary Blu-rays - Mania.com



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DVD Shopping Bag: Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics and Contemporary Blu-rays

See Ma, Top of the World!

By Robert T. Trate     May 28, 2013
Source: Mania.com

We are going to step out of our normal genre, just for a moment, to highlight two Blu-ray box sets that were released last week from Warner Brothers. Now, in the past, Warner Brothers has released three different volumes of Gangster Films. Mania covered the third volume back in 2008 (check out the review here). That collection featured some of the lesser known titles such as The Black Legion (1936), The Mayor of Hell (1933) and my personal favorite of the lot, Brother Orchid (1940). If you are a fan of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson then this was a rare treat into some of their lesser known films. 


With Blu-ray becoming the preferred format, Warner Brothers is back at it again with all new transfers and a relaunch of the gangster collection. However, this time they have broken the films into “Classic” and “Contemporary.” A fair treatment as (and I still find this hard to believe) some people don’t like black and white films. If you prefer the likes of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino as your gangsters then the “Contemporary” Collection is probably more to your liking. Personally, I find the likes of the “Classics” more appealing.

 

The Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics contains Little Caesar (1931), The Public Enemy (1931), The Petrified Forest (1936), and White Heat (1949). If you love documentaries about the making of movies (and frankly, who doesn’t?) then “Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film” is your icing on the cake. It is nearly two hours of clips, interviews and chats with both contemporary filmmakers, historians, and original cast and crew members of these classic films. To hear likes of William Wellman (director of The Public Enemy) discuss who got punched in the face to save the ending of a film is something I never expected. Narrated by Alec Baldwin, this documentary is the perfect companion for the movies in both collections. However, despite The Untouchables being in the “Contemporary” collection, there is no mention of it in the documentary; odd since Mean Streets, The Departed, and even Heat get mentioned. 


The one film I hadn’t seen in the collection was The Petrified Forest. Here, Leslie Howard (Gone With the Wind) is a drifter who comes to gas station in the middle of the desert. He falls in love with a very young Bette Davis (All About Eve). Director Archie Mayo really lays out all the players and what is at stake just when Duke Mantee (Humphrey Bogart) rolls in hot off a bank robbery. The Duke and his crew are waiting, but waiting for what? It’s a great game of personalities and wits as both Howard and Bogart square off against one another. Sure, many of us have seen the likes of Cagney in The Public Enemy and White Heat, yet the chance to see a young Bogart tear open the screen with a brutal subtlety is too good to pass up. 


The genre of gangster films was clearly defined in the 1930’s. It was the great “No” in the American “Yes”. If there was a time when one man could come up from nothing, it was there on the streets captured on black and white celluloid. This American genre of filmmaking defined Hollywood and is still being reinvented over and over again with each new generation of filmmaker. These two box sets should have just been one big one. As one watches Edward G. Robinson’s portrayal of an Al Capone like character in Little Caesar and then DeNiro’s in The Untouchables, it is easy to see the comparisons and brilliance in each performance. The only difference is time, budget, and color. 


If you need a break from the mundane summer movies playing at the mega-plex, check out these two collections. You’ll be happily mesmerized by the bad guy who takes you on a thrilling, dark adventure on the wrong side of the law.

 

The "Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics" and “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary” are available on Blu-ray 5/21. Clips below!

Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary Blu-rays contains: Heat (1995), The Departed (2008), Goodfellas (1990), Mean Streets (1973), and The Untouchables (1987).

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Best Laid Plans [Blu-ray]

Dead Mine Starring Joe Taslim, Miko Mizumo and Sam Hazeldine

Dead Mine [Blu-ray] Starring Joe Taslim, Miko Mizumo and Sam Hazeldin

Girl on The Run Starring Richard Coogan and Frank Albertson

The Girl Who Knew Too Much [Blu-ray] Starring Adam West, Nancy Kwan, Robert Alda and Nehemiah Persoff

The Girl Who Knew Too Much Starring Adam West, Nancy Kwan, Robert Alda and Nehemiah Persoff

Jumpin Jack Flash [Blu-ray] Starring Whoopy Goldberg, Stephen Collin, Carol Kane

Jumpin Jack Flash

Lore Starring Saskia Rosendahl and Kai Malina

Lore [Blu-ray] Starring Saskia Rosendahl and Kai Malina

The Numbers Station [Blu-ray] Starring John Cusack, Malin Akerman, Liam Cunningham

The Numbers Station Starring John Cusack, Malin Akerman, Liam Cunningham

Priest Of Evil Starring Peter Franzen and Irina Bjorklund

Rolling Thunder [Blu-ray] Starring William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Haynes

Shoot First Die Later (Remastered) [Blu-ray] Starring Richard Conte and Luc Merenda

Shoot First Die Later (Remastered) Starring Richard Conte and Luc Merend

Star Chamber [Blu-ray]

Walk The Dark Street Starring Chuck Connors

ANIME

Okamikakushi Complete

Phi-Brain: Season 1 - Collection 2 [Blu-ray]

Phi-Brain: Season 1 - Collection 2

CARTOONS

Beetlejuice: Season One Starring Stephen Ouimette and Alyson Court

Despicable Me (3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) Starring Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand and Julie Andrews

Despicable Me (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) Starring Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand and Julie Andrews

My Dog Tulip [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave

Superman Super-Villains: Brainiac

Superman Super Villains: Metallo

Superman Super Villains: Bizarro

Tiny Toon Adventures, Volume 4: Looney Links!

CLASSICS

Blowing Wild [Blu-ray] Starring Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Anthony Quinn and Ruth Roman

Cleopatra (50th Anniversary Limited Edition 2-Disc + Book) [Blu-ray]

Cleopatra (50th Anniversary 2-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]

Confidential Starring Donald Cook, J. Carrol Naish and Evalyn Knapp

Dark Command Starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Walter Pidgeon and Roy Rogers

Dark Command [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Walter Pidgeon and Roy Rogers

Father Goose [Blu-ray] Starring Cary Grant, Leslie Caron and Trevor Howard

In Old California Starring John Wayne, Binnie Barnes, Albert Dekker and Patsy Kelly

In Old California [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne, Binnie Barnes, Albert Dekker and Patsy Kelly

Lady From Louisiana Starring John Wayne, Ona Munson, Ray Middleton and Henry Stephenson

Lady From Louisiana [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne, Ona Munson, Ray Middleton and Henry Stephenson

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Bedazzled [Blu-ray]

Black Knight [Blu-ray]

The Magic Christian [Blu-ray] Starring Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr, Raquel Welch

My Super Ex-Girlfriend [Blu-ray]

Criterion Collection

Life Is Sweet (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner

Life Is Sweet (Criterion Collection) Starring Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner

HORROR

9 Days: Whipped Chained & Tortured By a Psychopath Starring Maura Murphy, Chris Schleicher, Simone Fraund

Attack of the Jurassic Shark Starring Christine Emes, Emannuelle Carriere, Celine Filion

The Birds [Blu-ray] Starring Tippi Hedren, Veronica Cartwright and Rod Taylor

Brainiac Starring Abel Salazar and Ariadna Welter

Corpse Grinders III Starring John Martino and Pedro Garcia

Dark Skies Starring Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton and Dakota Goyo

Dark Skies [Blu-ray] Starring Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton and Dakota Goyo

Nailbiter

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Ae: Apocalypse Earth

Ae: Apocalypse Earth [Blu-ray]

Battle Earth

Doctor Who: The Snowmen [Blu-ray]

Doctor Who: The Snowmen

Shanks Starring Marcel Marceau, Tsilla Chelton, Philippe Clay

Shanks [Blu-ray] Starring Marcel Marceau, Tsilla Chelton, Philippe Clay

TV LAND

Covert Affairs: Season Three Starring Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett

Doctor Who: Series Seven - Part Two

Doctor Who: Series Seven - Part Two [Blu-ray]

Longmire: The Complete First Season Starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, Katee Sackhoff

Red Widow: The Complete First Season Starring Radha Mitchell, Lee Tergesen, Luke Goss and Rade Serbedzija

Suits: Season Two (DVD + UltraViolet) Starring Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams

BOX SETS

Best of Film Noir Vol. 1 Starring Edward G. Robinson, Frank Sinatra and John Payne

Predator Trilogy [Blu-ray]

The "Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics" and “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary” are available now on Blu-ray!

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 5 of 5
1 
jedibanner 5/28/2013 6:17:16 AM

This collection makes me feel like playing L.A. Noir again...love classic 30's noir gangster movies.

monkeyfoot 5/28/2013 8:08:09 AM

When I was a kid my father would watch lots of old gangster and western movies on Sunday afternoon. I sometimes I ended up going to school talking like an old movie mobsters. "Hey, you mugs! What's the skinny? Why you lousy no good squealer! You're nuthin' but a dirty rat! I oughta rub you out, see!" 

blankczech 5/28/2013 8:24:38 AM

 Anxiously awaiting Rob Vaux's review of "9 Days:  Whipped, Chained and Tortured by a Psychopath."

domino2008 5/29/2013 11:16:48 PM

I taped many of Bogarts films on DVD , and classics like White Heat . These old gangster films are gems . Too bad many kids now days wont watch B/W films . Some winter days I sit back an watch them . Little Caesur  is great .

domino2008 5/29/2013 11:23:03 PM

Another movie on that list was Rolling Thunder , with a young  Tommy Lee Jones an William Devane . Devanes plays a captured returning vet from Nam , an thugs kill his family an stick his hand into a garbage disposer . an He seeks revenge . very good movie.

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