WARNER: Ultimate Gangsters Collection (Blu-Ray) in May


Ultimate Gangsters Collection (Blu-Ray)
May 21st
Warner Bros.
Retail $49.98, Our: $39.99
Little Caesar (1930), The Public Enemy (1931), The Petrified Forest (1936), White Heat (1949), Public Enemies (Documentary)
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Warner has announced a May 21st release date for Ultimate Gangsters Collection (Blu-Ray).

The 5-disc set includes Little Caesar (1930), The Public Enemy (1931), The Petrified Forest (1936), White Heat (1949) and the documentary Public Enemies - The Golden Age of the Gangster Film.

The four films will be available as singles (retail; $19.98, our: $15.99), however the documentry will only be available in the set.

Retail will be $49.99, but it's available at ClassicFlix.com for only $39.99. Minimal bonus features (below) include documentaries that carry over from the standard releases.

Little Caesar (1930)
"R-I-C-O, Little Caesar, that's who!" Edward G. Robinson bellowed into the phone. And Hollywood got the message: 37 year old Robinson, not gifted with matinee-idol looks, was nonetheless a first-class star and moviegoers hailed the hard-hitting social consciousness dramas that became the Depression-era mainstay of Warner Bros.

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. And Robinson - a genteel art collector who disdained guns (in the movie, his eyelids were taped to keep them from blinking when he fired a pistol) - was forever associated with the screen's archetypal gangster.

  • End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero
The Public Enemy (1931)
The Public Enemy showcases James Cagney's powerful 1931 breakthrough performance as streetwise tough guy Tom Powers - but only because production chief Darryl F. Zanuck made a late casting change.

When shooting began, Cagney had a secondary role, but Zanuck soon spotted Cagney's screen dominance and gave him the star part. 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, hard-hitting - even at breakfast when grapefruit is served.

  • Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public
The Petrified Forest (Blu-Ray) (1936)
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 others hostage. As trapped as his captives, Mantee admits: "It looks like I'll spend the rest of my life dead."

The Petrified Forest, Robert E. Sherwood's 1935 Broadway success about survival of the fittest in the modern world, hit the screen a year later with Leslie Howard (Squier) and Humphrey Bogart (Mantee) magnificently recreating their stage roles and Bette Davis (Gabby) ably reteaming with her Of Human Bondage co-star Howard.

Sherwood initially wanted Bogart for a smaller role. "I thought Sherwood was right," Bogart said. "I couldn't picture myself playing a gangster. So what happened? I made a hit as the gangster." So right was he that Howard refused to make the film without him...and helped launch Bogey's brilliant movie career.

  • The Petrified Forest: Menace In The Desert
White Heat (1949)
As a psychotic thug devoted to his hard-boiled ma, James Cagney - older, scarier and just as electrifying - gives a performance to match his work in The Public Enemy as White Heat's cold-blooded Cody Jarrett.

Bracingly directed by Raoul Walsh, this fast-paced thriller tracing Jarrett's violent life in and out of jail is also a harrowing character study. Jarrett is a psychological time bomb ruled by impulse. he murders a wounded accomplice and revels in the act. He neglects his sultry wife (Virginia Mayo) and adores his doting mother. It is among the most vivid screen performances of Cagney's career, and the excitement it generates will put you on top of the world!

  • White Heat: Top of the World
Public Enemies - The Golden Age of the Gangster Film
As popular as these films were in their heyday, seminal giants like Little Caesar and The Public Enemy as well as post-war gems like Key Largo and White Heat still hold power over their audiences today.

Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film explores the invention and development of the crime genre; the rise of Warner stars like Cagney, Bogart and Robinson; as well as directors like Walsh, Wellman and Curtiz. It will cover the films themselves and the influence they had on filmmakers all over the world; and the artistic merit that these defining classic films still warrant. Finally, the documentary will celebrate the impact that Warner Bros. Studios had in establishing the iconic Hollywood Gangster, often imitated but never equaled. 

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