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The Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 [7 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 8041727
  • Release Date: 10/03/2006
  • Rating: NR
  • 5.0 (1)
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$49.99
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
5.0
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

Special Features

  • 1931 & 1936 film versions of The Maltese Falcon story
  • New The Maltese Falcon documentary
  • Commentaries on selected titles
  • Warner Night at the Movies presentations of new/vintage featurettes
  • Classic cartoons
  • Studio blooper reels
  • Radio shows
  • Trailers

Synopsis

The Maltese Falcon
This first of three film adaptations of Dashiel Hammett's The Maltese Falcon plays at times like the road-company version of the more famous 1941 John Huston/Humphrey Bogart adaptation. Ricardo Cortez stars as a slick, rogueish edition of Sam Spade, using his office as a trysting place for his various amours. Bebe Daniels plays the Brigid O'Shaughnessy character, here rechristened Ruth Wonderly. Ruth hires Spade and his partner Miles Archer (Walter Long) to locate her missing sister. Archer is killed while on duty, confirming Spade's suspicion that Ruth's lost-sister story was a subterfuge. In fact, Ruth is one of several disreputable types in search of a valuable falcon statuette encrusted with jewels. Others mixed up in the quest for the "black bird" are portly Casper Gutman (Dudley Digges), Gutman's neurotic gunsel Wilmer (Dwight Frye, better known as Renfield from Dracula) and effeminate Joel Cairo (Otto Matiesen). It is giving nothing away at this stage of the game to note that, after all the various intrigues concerning the falcon have come and gone, Spade turns Ruth over to the cops as the murderer of Archer. As would be the case with the 1941 version, the 1931 Maltese Falcon does not use Hammett's original ending, in which Spade callously resumes his affair with Archer's widow (Thelma Todd). Instead, we are offered a jailhouse coda, where a suddenly compassionate Spade asks the matron to treat the incarcerated Ruth gently during her 20-year stay. When Maltese Falcon was due for a reissue in 1936, it was denied a Production Code approval on the basis of one single line: Archer's widow, spotting Ruth Wonderly in Spade's bedroom, exclaims "Who's that dame in my kimono?" In between the 1931 and 1941 versions of Maltese Falcon, there would be a heavily disguised reworking of the Hammett novel, Satan Met a Lady (1936), starring Warren William and Bette Davis. To avoid confusion with the 1941 remake, the 1931 Maltese Falcon has been retitled Dangerous Female for television. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

All Through the Night
Humphrey Bogart plays Gloves Donahue, a rough-hewn but essentially decent New York gambler. The Runyonesque plot gets moving when Gloves tries to find out what's holding up his favorite restaurant's daily shipment of cheesecake. Paying a call on the bakery, Gloves stumbles into a Nazi spy ring, masterminded by Conrad Veidt. Mixed up in all this is nightclub singer Kaaren Verne, whose loyalties are in question in her early scenes but who turns out to be as true-blue as the patriotic Gloves. Combining a quick wit with quicker fists, Gloves and his "mob" thwart the Nazis before they're able to skip the country. The cast is a movie buff's dream, ranging from Jane Darwell as Bogart's mom to Peter Lorre as a cynical Nazi flunkey to William Demarest, Frank McHugh, Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason as Bogie's favorite cohorts. The film's best scene would have us believe that Bogart could confound a gang of erudite Nazis with a steady stream of Manhattan slang. One shudders to think how leaden All Through the Night would have been had George Raft accepted the role of Gloves Donahue. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Action in the North Atlantic
Action in the North Atlantic is solid wartime propaganda with a rather endearing inner lining of left-wing politics, courtesy (no doubt) of scenarist John Howard Lawson, who based his screenplay on a novel by maritime specialist Guy Gilpatric. While running war goods to America's Russian allies, a merchant marine ship captained by Raymond Massey is torpedoed. The courage of Massey and his first mate Humphrey Bogart serves as an inspiration to the survivors, who manage to navigate their tiny lifeboat to America, where they are lauded as heroes. After only the briefest of compassionate leaves (Massey is reunited with wife Ruth Gordon, while Bogart strikes up a relationship with Julie Bishop), the crew is assigned a new Liberty Ship. Despite fears of being torpedoed again, Massey, Bogart, and the other men successfully bring their cargo to Russia, shooting down several German planes in the process. As the Americans are cheered on by the smiling, well-fed Russian seamen and peasants, Action in the North Atlantic fades out, with the voice of Franklin D. Roosevelt (actually radio announcer Art Gilmore) heard on the soundtrack encouraging a "United Nations" allegiance against the axis. The supporting cast of Action in the North Atlantic includes a young newcomer by the name of Bernard Zanville, whose billing was changed to "Dane Clark" upon the film's release. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Across the Pacific
A lively espionage drama that reunited the stars and director of the previous year's The Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific was originally envisioned as the story of a Japanese invasion of Hawaii. Real-life events of December of 1941, however, precluded such a scenario and the location was changed to the Panama Canal. For reasons known only to Warner Bros., the title was retained despite the fact that none of the action takes place in the Pacific. Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Leland, a disgraced ex-army man, who, after being turned down by the Canadian military, jumps a Japanese steamer bound for the Panama Canal Zone. Also onboard are Alberta Marlow (Mary Astor), a small-town girl claiming to be en route to Los Angeles; Dr. Lorenz (Sydney Greenstreet), a corpulent sociologist with a suspiciously friendly regard for all things Japanese; and Joe Totsuiko (Victor Sen Yung), a happy-go-lucky second generation Japanese-American on his way to visit the old country. But no one is exactly who he or she claims to be and the voyage from Halifax via New York City to Panama becomes a matter of life and death for the passengers in general, and for the future of the United States in particular. Director John Huston was forced to leave the film three weeks into the four-week shooting schedule when summoned to report to the Department of Special Services. According to Huston, he purposefully placed Humphrey Bogart's character in a highly precarious situation and left it up to his replacement, Vincent Sherman, to come up with the solution -- which Sherman did in an especially fiery climax. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Passage to Marseille
Designed as a followup to the enormously successful Casablanca, Passage to Marseille utilizes the talents of many of the on- and off-screen personnel of the earlier Warner Bros. classic. Unfolded in a complex flashback-within-flashback structure, this is the story of Matrac (Humphrey Bogart), a freedom-loving French journalist who sacrifices his happiness and security to battle Nazi tyrrany. The film opens as French liason officer Freycinet (Claude Rains), stationed in London, tells Mantrac's story to a British reporter (John Loder). Freycinet reveals that Mantrac, happily married to Paula (Michele Morgan), was framed by pro-fascists and sentenced to Devil's Island. Here he engineered a daring escape with such lost souls as Marius (Peter Lorre), Garou (Helmut Dantine), Petit (George Tobias) and Renault (Philip Dorn). Adrift in a lifeboat, the escapees were picked up by a French vessel commandeered by pro-fascist Major Duval (Sydney Greenstreet). With the help of Mantrac and the prisoners, the ship's patriotic captain (Victor Francen) thwarted Duval's evil machinations, enabling Mantrac to continue his battle against Nazism as a member of the RAF. By modern standards, Passage to Marseille is overproduced, overdirected, overacted and overscored (by Max Steiner); however, it filled a definite need in wartime America, and proved a huge financial success. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Satan Met a Lady
While John Huston's screen adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon is widely regarded as a screen classic, it wasn't the first time Hammett's novel had been brought to the screen, and this comedy drama offers a decidedly different spin on the same story. Detective Ted Shayne (Warren William) is hired by a woman named Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis) to find a woman named Mme. Barrabas (Alison Skipworth). Valerie, however, won't tell Ted what she wants from her, and as he tries to track down Barrabas, Barrabas' people come to him in search of Valerie. When Ted and Barrabas finally meet, she claims Valerie has a valuable piece of her property -- a jewel-encrusted ram's horn -- and she'll gladly pay Ted to return it to her. Certain Valerie hasn't been on the level with him, Ted asks his partner to trail her, but when Valerie discovers she's being watched, she kills the second detective. Unaware that she's killed Ted's partner, Valerie asks that Ted pick up a package for her from a ship arriving from Asia the next day, which Ted realizes is the precious horn that has caused all the trouble. Satan Met a Lady was actually the second feature film based on The Maltese Falcon; the first, also called The Maltese Falcon, was released in 1931. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Maltese Falcon
After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett's detective classic The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. finally got it right in 1941--or, rather, John Huston, a long-established screenwriter making his directorial debut, got it right, simply by adhering as closely as possible to the original. Taking over from a recalcitrant George Raft, Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who can be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adheres to his own personal code of honor. Into the offices of the Spade & Archer detective agency sweeps a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), who offers a large retainer to Sam and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) if they'll protect her from someone named Floyd Thursby. The detectives believe neither Miss Wonderly nor her story, but they believe her money. Since Archer saw her first, he takes the case -- and later that evening he is shot to death, as is the mysterious Thursby. Miss Wonderly's real name turns out to be Brigid O'Shaughnessey, and, as the story continues, Sam is also introduced to the effeminate Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and the fat, erudite Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet, in his film debut). It turns out that Brigid, Cairo and Gutman are all international scoundrels, all involved in the search for a foot-high, jewel-encrusted statuette in the shape of a falcon. Though both Cairo and Gutman offer Spade small fortunes to find the "black bird," they are obviously willing to commit mayhem and murder towards that goal: Gutman, for example, drugs Spade and allows his "gunsel" Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.) to kick and beat the unconscious detective. This classic film noir detective yarn gets better with each viewing, which is more than can be said for the first two Maltese Falcons and the ill-advised 1975 "sequel" The Black Bird. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Overall Customer Rating

(1 Review)
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