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Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection (R2) in August

Warner Home Video have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection for 28th August 2006 priced at £19.99. This set offers three new to UK DVD crime genre classics - Bullets or Ballots, San Quentin, and A Slight Case of Murder.

All three titles have been fully restored and digitally remastered with special features including historian commentaries and new making-of featurettes. Each disc also contains an exclusive “Warner Night at the Movies” segment which recreates moviegoer attractions such as newsreels, comedy shorts, cartoons and trailers from the year each film was released.

Readers with a multiregion setup might find the the R1 equivalent due on 18th July 2006 (details here) more appealing, offering an additional three titles not found on this R2 set.

Major Hollywood studios in the ‘30s and ‘40s were each known for their distinctive styles (MGM for its musicals; Universal for its horror films, etc.). Warner Bros. was best known for firmly establishing the gangster film and producing some of the finest classics of the genre, which were also noted for their socially conscious themes as well as their simple visual look (low key lighting and sparse sets). These films launched the careers of actors like Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.

Individual details follow…

Bullets or Ballots (1936)
When Warner Bros.’ Depression-era gangster movies began to draw protests, the studio reinvigorated the genre with stories emphasising law enforcers instead of lawbreakers. Director William Keighley’s (‘G’ Men) swift, sturdy Bullets or Ballots reflects that, with Edward G. Robinson (as Blake) siding with the good guys for the first time in a gangland saga. Humphrey Bogart plays the short-fused Fenner. Joan Blondell and Louise Beavers, in an unusual story element for the times, are thriving numbers operators whose grift is usurped by the mob.

DVD special features include:

  • Warner Night at the Movies 1936 short subjects gallery:
    • Vintage newsreel
    • Vintage Short George Hall and His Orchestra
    • Classic cartoon I’m a Big Shot Now
    • Theatrical Trailer The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • New featurette Gangsters: The Immigrant’s Hero
  • Commentary by Dana Polan
  • How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No. 10: Trouble Shots
  • Breakdowns of 1936 studio blooper reel
  • Audio-only bonus: 4/16/1939 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast with Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart
  • Theatrical Trailer

San Quentin (1937)
Do the crime, do the time. But what happens during the long years spent behind the walls of San Quentin? The penitentiary’s new yard captain wants to make those years a time of rehabilitation rather than punishment. But not everyone’s buying it. Humphrey Bogart portrays Red, continuing his climb to stardom in this brisk film that’s one of a string of Depression-era works combining gangster-movie elements with a Big House setting. Studio mainstay Pat O’Brien (Angels With Dirty Faces) plays Steve Jameson, whose carrot-and-stick reforms begin to change Red’s thinking. An inmates’ strike and a scripture-quoting con who swipes a rifle are among the troubles Jameson faces- and Red is another as he reverts to his old ways and makes a violent break for freedom.

DVD special features include:
  • Warner Night at the Movies 1937 short subjects gallery:
    • Vintage newsreel
    • Oscar-nominated Broadway Brevity short The Man Without a Country
    • Classic Cartoon Porky’s Double Trouble
    • Kid Galahad Theatrical Trailer
  • New featurette Welcome to the Big House
  • Commentary by Patricia King Hanson
  • Breakdowns of 1937 studio blooper reel
  • Theatrical Trailer

A Slight Case of Murder (1937)
Prohibition’s ban on booze is over, and that means bootlegger Remy Marco must make some changes. Don’t call his beer-peddling enterprise a racket. It’s now a business. Employees are no longer lugs or palookas, they’re associates. And don’t refer to Marco as da boss. Use sir. He’s gone legit, see? Edward G. Robinson plays Marco, spoofing his Little Caesar persona in a comedy spree based on Damon Runyon and Howard Lindsay’s Broadway play. Lloyd Bacon, director of San Quentin and Robinson’s gangster sendups Brother Orchid and Larceny, Inc., guides with screwball flair as corpses, creditors, the swellest of swells and more mayhem descend on Marco.

DVD special features include:
  • Warner Night at the Movies 1938 short subjects gallery:
    • Vintage newsreel
    • Oscar-nominated drama short Declaration of Independence
    • Classic cartoon The Night Watchman
    • The Dawn Patrol Theatrical Trailer
  • New featurette Prohibition Opens the Floodgates
  • Audio commentary by Robert Sklar
  • Theatrical Trailer

Last updated: 19/04/2018 05:15:12

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