Four of Humphrey Bogart’s best films get the repackaging treatment from Warner Bros. in The Best of Bogart Collection. The set contains the previously released Blu-ray discs of The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The African Queen, plus postcard-sized reproductions of the movie posters for each film.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 1080P/VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated, PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min., 1 Hr. 42 Min., 2 Hr. 6 Min., 1 Hr. 45 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 03/25/2014
As I stated above, all four films in this set are nothing more than repackagings of previously released discs, and those discs were well-reviewed here on Home Theater Forum by Cameron Yee and Neil Middlemiss:The Maltese FalconCasablanca: 70th Anniversary (only disc one is included in this set)The Treasure of the Sierra MadreThe African Queen“Best of” collections can often include a film or two that some may cry foul over, claiming that this film or that film doesn’t quite live up to the title. Thankfully, that is not the case here, as all four films are definitely classics in the strictest sense. And if Casablanca were to be excluded from the set, it could very easily also be called The Best of John Huston, who directed the remaining three films (and won Oscars for writing and directing The Treasure of the Sierra Madre).Humphrey Bogart is still considered to be Warner’s biggest star of the 1940s, with The Maltese Falcon bringing both he and Huston the notoriety that would allow them to make several pictures together over a 12-year period. And many of those films would inspire other directors. Steven Spielberg’s decision to use no musical score during a key bar fight in Raiders of the Lost Ark was obviously inspired by the graphic bar fight, sans music, in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The phrases “The stuff that dreams are made of” from The Maltese Falcon, “Here’s looking at you, kid” from Casablanca, and the paraphrased “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are often quoted in movies and TV shows. Clint Eastwood’s White Hunter Black Heart is a fictionalized account of the making of The African Queen.But what truly makes these films classics is their ability to still feel timely today. Of course, it does help that these are definitely films of their period (such as Maltese Falcon and Casablanca) or period films (Sierra Madre and African Queen). My first viewing of Casablanca was in 1992 when MGM and Turner Pictures re-released the film to theatres for its 50th anniversary, and played to a packed audience who thoroughly enjoyed it as if it were a recently made movie.
The Production Rating: 4.5/5
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NAAll four films are pillarboxed at 1.33:1, approximating the original theatrical aspect ratio. The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are compressed using the VC-1 codec, while Casablanca and The African Queen with the AVC codec. On The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the end result is a gorgeous black and white transfer with deep blacks, excellent contrast, and exquisite detail (particularly on Casablanca), all while retaining the original grain structure. The African Queen is presented in a restored Technicolor print that is an unbelievable achievement, considering what they had to work with. Colors are well-saturated and consistent, with deep blacks and excellent contrast, although there is some inherent softness and slightly muted colors in some of the shots involving opticals.
The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are all presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono, and sound surprisingly clean with excellent fidelity and dynamic range (considering their age). Dialogue is also clear and understandable on all three films. The African Queen comes with a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track (encoded at 224 kbps). While many would prefer a lossless option, what is presented here sounds just fine. Dialogue is clear and understandable, and, most importantly, serves its purpose.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Special Features Rating: 4.5/5The collection comes housed in the same multi-disc case Warner has been using on its 3-disc and 4-disc releases such as Pacific Rim and Gravity, where two discs are stacked on top of one another on each spindle. The case is then housed in a sturdy cardboard sleeve with a paperboard wraparound highlighting the special features on the back cover. Warner has also included postcard sized reproductions of each film’s movie poster. All of the disc-based special features remain the same as on previous releases.The Maltese FalconCommentary by Bogart Biographer Eric LaxWarner Night at the Movies 1941
- [*]Sergeant York Trailer (480i; 2:00)[*]Newsreel (480i; 1:25)[*]The Gay Parisian (480i; 20:02)[*]Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt (480i; 7:47)[*]Meet John Doughboy (1080p; 7:00)[/list]The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird (480i; 32:05)Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart (480i; 44:45)Breakdowns of 1941 (480i; 12:53)Makeup Tests (480i, 1:16)Audio Vault
- [*]February 8, 1943: Lux Radio (57:39)[*]September 20, 1943: Screen Guild Theater Broadcast (28:46)[*]July 3, 1943: Academy Awards Theater Broadcast (27:34)[/list]Satan Met A Lady Trailer (480i; 2:30)Original Theatrical Trailer (480i; 2:44)CasablancaIntroduction by Lauren Bacall (480i; 2:03)Commentary by Film Critic Roger EbertCommentary by Film Historian Rudy BehlmerWarner Night at the Movies 1942
- [*]Now, Voyager Trailer (480i; 2:19)[*]Newsreel (480i; 4:36)[*]The Bird Came C.O.D. (480i; 7:43)[*]The Squawkin’ Hawk (480i; 6:41)[*]The Dover Boys of Pimento University (480i; 8:58)[/list]Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (480i; 1:23:27)Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of (1080p; 37:20)Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic (1080p; 34:59)You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca (480i; 34:38)As Time Goes By: The Children Remember (480i; 6:46)Deleted Scenes (480i; 1:41)Outtakes (480i; 4:59)Who Holds Tomorrow (480i; 18:38)Carrotblanca (480i; 8:03)Audio Vault
- [*]Scoring Stage Sessions (15:22)[*]4/26/1943 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcast (29:38)[*]11/19/1947 Vox Pop Radio Broadcast (29:35)[/list]Original Theatrical Trailer (480i; 2:17)1992 Re-release Trailer (480i; 2:53)The Treasure of the Sierra MadreCommentary by Bogart Biographer Eric LaxWarner Night at the Movies 1948
- [*]Introduction by Leonard Maltin (480i; 3:46)[*]Key Largo Trailer (480i; 2:25)[*]Newsreel (480i; 4:45)[*]Hot Cross Bunny (480i; 7:10)[*]So You Want to be A Detective? (480i; 10:53)[/list]John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (480i; 2:08:13)Discovering Treasure: The Story of the The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (480i; 49:57)8 Ball Bunny (480i; 7:08)Lux Radio Theater (59:42)Original Theatrical Trailer (480i; 2:41)The African QueenEmbracing Chaos: Making The African Queen (1080p; 59:23)
Overall Rating: 4.5/5Obviously, if you already own the movies in this set, then there is really nothing new here, other than the postcards and the fact that these will take up less space on your bookshelf. But if you’ve been thinking of picking these up individually, the set is currently a bargain ($34.99 on Amazon at the time of this posting), unless you absolutely need the second disc included with the 70th anniversary edition of Casablanca, which has more to do with the history of Warner Brothers than the movie itself.
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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