**Warner Home Video** has announced an March 25th release date for Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3. The 6 disc DVD set will include Smart Money (1931), Picture Snatcher (1933), Lady Killer (1933), Mayor of Hell (1933), Black Legion (1937) and, likely the jewel of the set, Brother Orchid (1940). The set will retail for $59.92, but is available at Classicflix.com for only $44.99. Individual titles will retail for $19.97, and are available at Classicflix for $14.49. Details Below.
Smart Money (1931)
Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney were teamed up for the only time in their careers in Smart Money. Robinson has the larger part of a small-town barber who fancies himself a big-time gambler. He travels to the Big City carrying ten grand from backers at home with his younger brother (Cagney), who comes along as his bodyguard. Unfortunately Robinson has a weakness for beautiful blondes, which means trouble with a capital T. Watch closely in the first reel for an unbilled appearance by Boris Karloff as a dope pusher. Smart Money was Oscar® nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
James Cagney portrays Danny Kean, a gangster looking to reform himself -- after a stretch behind bars -- with a new career as a tabloid newspaper photographer. He’s also fallen for Patricia Nolan (Patricia Ellis), the daughter of the cop who put him away (Robert Emmett O'Connor). Dad is less than impressed with Kean’s new career and none too happy about his daughter’s budding relationship. Danny and his editor (Ralph Bellamy) may be selling papers, but is Danny able to sell Dad? Some of the photographs featured in the movie were recreated from sensational images of a 1928 electrocution that were printed in the New York Daily News.
In one of his more comedic efforts, Cagney plays Dan Quigley, a former con artist who goes to Hollywood to hide out and ends up becoming a star. Making it in show business may have its perks, but it also puts him in the spotlight and in jeopardy of being recognized by the thugs he ran away from. By turns, Lady Killer is a filmmaking spoof, a crime thriller and a character study. With Cagney’s vitality out front, it’s definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The likable cast includes Mae Clarke, his co-star from Public Enemy (part of the first Warner Bros. Gangster Collection) and the recipient of the famous grapefruit.
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith (Frank Darro), are sent to the State Reformatory, ruled with an iron fist by a callous warden. Soon, Patsy Gargan (James Cagney) - a former gangster - arrives, having been appointed Deputy Commissioner as a political favor. Gargan falls for activist nurse Dorothy (Madge Evans) and, inspired by her, takes over the administration to reform the reformatory and institute some formerly ignored basic Roosevelt-era principles, like humane treatment and democracy.
Factory worker Frank Taylor (Humphrey Bogart in one of his early starring roles) believes that he has missed out on a deserved promotion when it is instead given to a Polish immigrant. Angry and looking for a scapegoat, he is an ideal mark for the Black Legion, an underground “Pro American” group that wants to get rid of immigrants and racial minorities through violent means. Frank joins, and with his new friends, he dons black robes and drives the Polish family from their home. His aim achieved, Frank gets his job, but soon the Legion begins to take up more of his time and money, and turns his character darker and darker. Co-starring Ann Sheridan, Black Legion was inspired by a real case and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay.
Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart made five films together and Brother Orchid is the only one in which neither is killed! In this gangster comedy, Little John Sarto (Robinson), returns from Europe where he was hoping to find some “class” and finds his old mob has been taken over by Jack Buck (Bogart). Barely escaping an attempt on his life by the new regime, Sarto takes refuge in the monastery of the “Little Brothers of the Flower,” pretending he’s interested in becoming a monk so that the Brothers will let him stay while he plots his revenge. However, the kindness of the monks gradually changes him and he resolves to turn over a new leaf and reject his violent past.
Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3 in March
Posted by David K. at 12/04/2007 08:02:00 PM