2013 marks the 90th anniversary of Warner Brothers studios. Warner Brothers has produced a lot of movies over those 90 years, but the genre they are most strongly associated with is gangster films. Just in time for this milestone, four of Warner Brothers’ most iconic gangster hits have been released on Blu-ray for the first time in the “Ultimate Gangsters Collection – Classics.” This collection includes: Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, The Petrified Forest, and White Heat.
Cagney. Bogart. Robinson. In this collection, we get three of the greatest actors to ever work at Warner Brothers doing what they did best.
This five-disc set comes in a multi-disc case and also comes with a 32-page, hard-bound book full of information about the movies.
I’m only just now starting to get into Blu-rays and one thing I love about them is that multi-disc Blu-ray sets tend to be packaged more efficiently than standard DVD sets. The “Ultimate Gangsters Collection – Classics” has five discs plus a small book, but it takes up less space on my shelf than two regular DVD cases. As someone who is always looking for better ways to store and organize my movie collection, this is a huge plus to me.
All four movies have been remastered in 1080p and each of them looks fantastic. White Heat is the best of the best, though; it looks absolutely superb on Blu-ray.
The special features for each movie are the same ones from when these movies were first released on DVD in 2005. I’m actually happy to see those weren’t changed because I loved the features on those DVDs.
Each movie has a very informative featurette with people such as Martin Scorsese and Mark Viera offering a lot of background information and historical context for the films. Leonard Maltin hosts a “Warner Night at the Movies” feature that lets you see newsreels, cartoons, movie trailers, and short films before playing the main feature, just like theaters would have done when these movies were first released. The short film included in the “Warner Night at the Movies” feature on Little Caesar is The Hard Guy, which is notable for being Spencer Tracy’s third film appearance.
A bonus disc included with the collection has the documentary Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film, which was originally released as part of the “Warner Gangsters Collection, Volume 3” in 2008.
The one and only flaw I could find in the collection is that the subtitles could have used a thicker black border around the lettering. When the subtitles appeared over something light in the movie, they were just a little bit difficult to read, but those moments didn’t come up too often.
If you’re a fan of classic gangster films, you simply can’t go wrong with this collection. All the movies are excellent, each movie looks fantastic, and you get a very good documentary on the gangster genre as an added bonus. Given the high quality of this collection, I’m really hoping someday there will be another Blu-ray collection of classic Warner gangster movies including Angels With Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties.
The “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics” is now available on Blu-ray. (Released May 21, 2013)
Disclosure: I received a review copy from Warner Brothers.