A Few Words About A few words about... Warner Brothers Pictures Gangsters Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    We're only three weeks into January, but Warner Home Video has already positioned itself as the studio to beat in 2005.

    With the WB Gangsters Collection, they've released a shot over the bow of their competition, with a collection of the absolute finest gangster genre films from the studio.

    This is no mix and match of A and B product. This is the real deal.

    Little Caesar, The Petrified Forest, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Roaring Twenties, White Heat, and for the first time in over seven decades, the uncut version of William Wellman's The Public Enemy starring the young James Cagney.

    Every one of these six films is beautifully rendered. The earliest two Public Enemy and Little Caesar, looking better than I have ever seen them, on film or video.

    Every one of the six films has commentaries, shorts and newly produced documentaries. Beer and Blood, packaged with Public Enemy includes remarks from Professor Scorsese, the finest film teacher you're apt to find.

    Years ago, I acquired 16mm prints of these films, so that I could view them again and again. The quality was lower, the price was higher -- well past the thousand dollar mark.

    As an aside, it seems that the archival staff at the studio discovered that the details of the long rumored cuts to The Public Enemy by referencing a set of original Vitaphone discs. Shortly thereafter, they came into possession of an early 16mm reduction print of the film. These prints were regularly made for a films director and leads for home screenings and personal libraries. Shortly thereafter, during a further search, they discovered an original nitrate print, struck before the cuts.

    If you can feel my excitement regarding this release, it comes with superb financial news.

    The six films come packaged, ready to screen, at a street price of around eight dollars per title.

    The Gangster Collection is not only extremely highly recommended, but at these prices, they are a steal. No pun intended.

    This is first "no-brainer" purchase of the 2005 season. And I'm told that we'll be seeing this sort of activitiy from WB on a monthy basis.

    A genre film course in a box.


    RAH
     
  2. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Great news, I'm really looking forward to these DVDs. Thanks Robert!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    awesome

    Thanks for the news
     
  4. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Robert, this collection is shaping up to be among my tops of the new year and easily my most anticipated purchase announced so far for 2005! I am going to be first in line at the cash this coming Tuesday and if this set is going to be half as great as last years film noir collection... and with all the extra features and bonus shorts, that's almost guranteed... than I can't imagine any other studio or title topping this one! I would've bought it for the bonus cartoons alone!!!
     
  5. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

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    [​IMG] Thank you, Mr. Harris....and Thank you, Warner Bros.[​IMG]

    I cannot wait until Tuesday!
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    One of my most-anticipated releases of the year - and it's only January! BTW, I just watched Criterion's Touchez Pas Au Grisbi and it makes a superb appetite-whetter!
     
  7. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Mine's been on pre-order for some time now, and I'm hoping to get the shipping notice soon!
     
  8. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of anyone else's chances to get studio of the year in '05? Sounds like it is!



    We already know about the Classic Comedies and Musicals box sets coming in March, so I can't wait to see what comes after them.
     
  9. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Is Public Enemy in it's OAR of 1.17:1?
     
  10. Tim_C

    Tim_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, now I'm even more excited for this set to arrive.

    Three of the four boxsets that I currently have on pre-order are from Warner. Add that to the three Best Picture winners Warner is releasing next month (which will almost finish that part of my collection...) I can't wait to see what they have planned for the next three-quarters of the year!
     
  11. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    As far as I am concerned there are only 2 companies releasing DVDs any more - Warner and Criterion. I can't even recall the last time I bought a DVD from any other studio (the Fox Noir collection may change that). With so many no-brainer releases from just these two I hardly find the time (or have the money) for stuff that the other studios put out (I mostly rent newer stuff and buy only the classics that have stood the test of time).

    Criterion seems to be releasing at least 2-3 no-brainer (at least for me) titles each month and if that didn't put enough strain on my wallet, Warner has started raiding their vault and releasing a boxset filled with goodies almost every month. Like Haggai mentioned they have 3 amazing boxsets lined up for just the first 3 months of the year. Who knows what they have in store for the rest of the year. Feel sorry for my wallet ...

    -D
     
  12. JackKay

    JackKay Second Unit

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    When I first saw this box set was coming out, my jaw dropped. See you guys this Tuesday!
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To Mr. Conway...

    Your request for the original aspect ratio for a Vitaphone release has been granted by WB. The image is properly centered.

    Sound on Disc productions had a frame both higher and wider -- the area later used by the optical sound track. Many of these early productions have survived only in cropped copies, with the left side "automatically" discarded during printing of masters or dupes.

    They've apparently gone back to the earliest surviving elements. As I"ve mentioned, I have never seen Public Enemy look this clean and original. For those unaware, the film drops down two generations for fades, dissolves and other opticals.

    And, yes. This is what the film did, and should look like. The release is amazing!

    When you screen White Heat, it will be noted that during the opening, there is a close-up of Mr. Cagney (18 years after PE) that looks rather grainy and harsh. This is also as produced. You're looking at a field enlargement... a decision, after the fact, to create a close-up from a medium shot.

    They have also created jackets from original artwork and typography, with the classic '30s - early '50s WB logo emblazoned at the top of each spine. Simple, yet elegant packaging.

    In my book, the studio is batting 1,000.

    RAH
     
  14. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    The Errol Flynn Signature Collection comes in April per another thread in this forum. I know what you mean, I can't wait to see what is on top for May through December. All I know is that I'm tentatively budgeting $45-$50 per month for these sets (great bargain).

    Thanks to Mr. Harris for sharing his thoughts on this release and sharing his insights on the efforts Warner made to present these films as they were intended to be seen.

    Steve
     
  15. LorenzoL

    LorenzoL Second Unit

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    Already preordered along with the Classic Comedies Collection from WB.

    Keep up the great job WB.
     
  16. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    OK- what titles are in the Classic Comedies collection, and what are the early Best Picture winners being released by Warners this year? I know that The Broadway Melody is about to be released, but what else?

    Also, does anyone know what George Feltenstein has on tap for this year's Garbo centennial?
     
  17. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    Charles, The Life of Emile Zola and Chariots of Fire 2-disc SE are the Best Picture Oscar winners out in February. The Classic Comedies boxset in March is truly an event, as it contains agruably THE BEST screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby in a 2-disc SE. Details here: http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=55520
     
  18. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Will these titles be available separately or only in the box set? I would love to get The Petrified Forest.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    The titles are also available separately, but at a higher MSRP per title.
     
  20. Kain_C

    Kain_C Screenwriter

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    I am really thinking about getting these films. Even though I haven't seen any of them (I'm 28 so there's alot of catching up to do), the set seems top notch and I am a Bogey fan to boot.
     

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