The gangster genre is a huge cornerstone in the legacy of Warner Bros., and the restoration
and preservation of these films is carried out with much pride and care. Major Hollywood
studios in the '30s and '40s were each known for their distinctive styles. Warner Bros. was
best known for firmly establishing the genre of gangster films, which contained socially
conscious themes and a simple visual look.
The Untouchables - Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al
Capone. Because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team, including a
tough-as-nails street cop and a rookie sharpshooter.
Mean Streets - The future is set for Tony and Michael, owning a
neighborhood bar and making deals in the mean streets of New York city's Little Italy. For
Charlie, the future is less clearly defined. A small-time hood, he works for his uncle making
collections and reclaiming bad debts. He's probably too nice to succeed. In love with a woman
his uncle disapproves of (because of her epilepsy) and a friend of her cousin, Johnny Boy, a
near psychotic whose trouble-making threatens them all, he can't reconcile opposing values.
A failed attempt to escape (to Brooklyn) moves them all a step closer to a bitter, almost
Goodfellas - Henry Hill is a small time gangster, who takes part in a
robbery with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, two other gangsters who have set their
sights a bit higher. His two partners kill off everyone else involved in the robbery, and slowly
start to climb up through the hierarchy of the Mob. Henry, however, is badly affected by his
partners success, but will he stoop low enough to bring about the downfall of Jimmy and
Heat - Neil McCauley is a thief -- an expert thief. His philosophy in life -
become attached to nothing in life that you can't walk away from in 30 seconds if you spot
the "Heat" around the corner. His crew of criminals is a high-tech outfit pulling off professional
jobs that impress even the likes of Detective Vincent Hanna. But Hanna, a man driven through
life only by his work, becomes obsessed, at the expense of his private life, with bringing
McCauley down. As McCauley's crew prepare for the score of a lifetime, and Hanna's team
tries to bring him in, the two find that they are challenged by the greatest minds on the
opposite side of the law that either one has ever encountered.
The Departed - Two just-graduated officers from Massachusetts State
Police Academy follow opposite sides of the law: Billy Costigan is assigned to work
undercover with the Irish mobster Frank Costello to get evidences to arrest him. His true
identity is only known by his superiors Dignam and Oliver Queenan. The protégée of Costello,
Colin Sullivan, is promoted in the Massachusetts State Police and is the informer of Costello.
Each police officer gives his best effort trying to disclose the identity of the other "rat".
Classic New to Blu-ray, also Sold Separately
Little Caesar (1931) - The ambitious criminal Rico moves from the
country to the big city in the east and joins Sam Vettori's gang with his friend Joe Massara.
Sooner he becomes the leader of the gangsters and known as Little Caesar, and gets closer
to the great mobster Pete Montana. In a robbery of a night-club, he kills the Crime
Commissioner Alvin McClure and his pal Joe witnesses the murder. When Rico orders Joe to
leave his mistress Olga Strassoff, she takes a serious decision.
Commentary by film historian Robert Sklar
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931
Featurette Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public
The Public Enemy (1931) - Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are best friends
and fellow gangsters, their lives frowned upon by Tom's straight laced brother, Mike, and
Matt's straight laced sister, Molly. From their teen-aged years into young adulthood, Tom and
Matt have an increasingly lucrative life, bootlegging during the Prohibition era. But Tom in
particular becomes more and more brazen in what he is willing to do, and becomes more
obstinate and violent against those who either disagree with him or cross him. When one of
their colleagues dies in a freak accident, a rival bootlegging faction senses weakness among
Tom and Matt's gang, which is led by Paddy Ryan. A gang war ensues, resulting in Paddy
suggesting that Tom and Matt lay low. But because of Tom's basic nature, he decides instead
to take matters into his own hands.
Commentary by film historian Richard B. Jewell
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1930
Featurette Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero
The Petrified Forest (1936) - Gabby lives and works at her dads small
diner out in the desert. She can't stand it and wants to go and live with her mother in France.
Along comes Alan, a broke man with no will to live, who is traveling to see the pacific, and
maybe to drown in it. Meanwhile Duke Mantee a notorious killer and his gang is heading
towards the diner where Mantee plan on meeting up with his girl.
Commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1936
Featurette The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert
White Heat (1949) - Cody Jarrett is the sadistic leader of a ruthless
gang of thieves. Afflicted by terrible headaches and fiercely devoted to his 'Ma,' Cody is a
volatile, violent, and eccentric leader. Cody's top henchman wants to lead the gang and
attempts to have an 'accident' happen to Cody, while he is running the gang from in jail. But
Cody is saved by an undercover cop, who thereby befriends him and infiltrates the gang.
Finally, the stage is set for Cody's ultimate betrayal and downfall, during a big heist at a
Commentary by Film Historian Drew Casper
Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1949
I'll pass on the double/triple dipping for the titles in the the contemporary set, will be buying the classic box though. I am holding out for the restored Goodfellas "ultimate edition" which were talked about in an article with a Warner executive a few months back(I think it was here)and will be released later this year.
Great to see more of the classics finally coming out on Blu-ray, and hope many more will follow soon. Definite must-buys! I'd especially love to see the very first all-talking feature-length gangster film, THE LIGHTS OF NEW YORK get a good Blu-ray release, even if it's a bonus feature on some other title (since it's only about 59 minutes long). It may not be a LITTLE CAESAR or PUBLIC ENEMY, but it's much better than most of the history books claim.
However, though it's nice to see Warner Bros. including the same extras as the DVDs had, I really wish all of the "Warner Night at the Movies" shorts would also be upgraded to HD, as with very few exceptions (mainly an occasional cartoon) they've all been the old SD transfers ported over to Blu. For the WB anniversary it would also be nice to see a new HD documentary, even if it's a generic series like Universal did for its centennial releases.
Yet another repackaing (the fourth??) of a cinematic masterpiece without a decent transfer. Showing such disrespect to Goodfellas while continuing to peddle an awful transfer is one of 1000 reasons why WB is one of the worst distributors in the HD game.
Why are Warner Bros still releasing the newer films again? Why not just release the classics in volumes? But, I'm glad they are coming and since WB are releasing the classics in Volume 2, I'll just get them as singles. I already have the newer films.
I already have the Cagney, Edward G Robinson stuff on DVD . Is there really going to be any improvement with the blu rays? Are these new remasters or are we just expected to shell out again for the same thing (cuz I'm not planning to)
We really need more technical information. Just cos something is on blu ray doesn't necessarily mean its going to be an upgrade