TCM Greatest Gangster Films Collection: Humphrey Bogart [2 Discs] [DVD]

Few Hollywood actors could portray gangsters on par with the legendary Humphrey Bogart, and the four films in this box set from Turner Classics showcase a quartet of those performances. First on the bill is The Petrified Forest (1936), with Bogart as an escaped gangster who holds several individuals hostage at a roadside restaurant in Arizona. Next up is 1941's High Sierra, with Bogart as Mad Dog Earle, a tender-hearted killer on the lam from the authorities. The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) stars Bogart as a career criminal analyzed by shrink Edward G. Robinson. Finally, All Through the Night (1941) stars Bogie as Gloves Donahue, as the leader of a group of racketeers attempting to root out a Nazi Fifth Column organization.
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Overview

Synopsis

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

High Sierra
The Petrified Forest
Burned-out British intellectual Alan Squier (Leslie Howard) wanders into the desert service station/restaurant owned by Jason Maple (Porter Hall). Alan finds himself an object of fascination for Jason's starry-eyed daughter, Gabrielle Bette Davis, who dreams of moving to France and establishing herself. Boze Hertzlinger (Dick Foran), Gabrielle's gas-jockey boyfriend, grows jealous of Alan, but the penniless, dissipated Briton has no intention of settling down; in fact, as soon as he mooches a ride from wealthy tourists Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm (Paul Harvey and Genevieve Tobin), he's on his way out of Gabrielle's life...or so everyone thinks. Later that same day, Alan, Gabrielle, Jason, Boze, and Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm are huddled together in the selfsame restaurant, held at gunpoint by Dillinger-like desperado Duke Mantee (Humphrey Bogart) and his gang. Alan seems indifferent to the danger, toasting Duke as "the last great apostle of rugged individualism." Sensing an opportunity to give his life meaning, Alan takes Duke aside, begging the outlaw to kill him so that Gabrielle can travel to Paris on the money provided by Alan's insurance policy. When the police converge on the restaurant, Duke announces that he intends to use Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm as a shield in order to make his escape. Alan tries to stop him, receiving a bullet in the belly for his troubles. "So long, pal," growls Duke fatalistically, moments before his own death, "I'll be seein' ya soon." Alan dies in Gabrielle's arms, secure in the knowledge that, alone among the film's principals, she will be able to escape the trap of her existence. When originally presented on Broadway, Robert E. Sherwood's The Petrified Forest starred Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart. Warner Bros. intended to cast Edward G. Robinson in Duke's role, only to be thwarted by Howard, who told the studio that he himself would drop out of the project if Bogart wasn't retained. The film proved to be just the break that Bogart needed; years later, he expressed his undying gratitude to Howard by naming his daughter Leslie Bogart. One year after The Petrified Forest, Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard co-starred in The Stand-In. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
Edward G. Robinson shines in a fine comic role as Dr. Clitterhouse, a brilliant psychiatrist doing research into the criminal mind. The good doctor wants to gain a clearer understanding of how a thief feels when he's in the midst of a robbery, so strictly for academic purposes he tries to crack a safe at a high society party to which he's been invited. While trying to get rid of the jewels he swiped in the course of this experiment, Clitterhouse makes the acquaintance of "Rocks" Valentine (Humphrey Bogart), the tough-as-nails leader of a group of professional thieves. Clitterhouse is fascinated by Valentine and discovers that he enjoys committing robberies, so he joins forces with Valentine's gang and uses his superior intellect to mastermind a series of daring and profitable heists. Clitterhouse is also beguiled by Jo Keller (Claire Trevor), a beautiful dame who fences stolen gems. But Valentine doesn't appreciate how Dr. Clitterhouse has worked his way into the gang, and he is soon looking for an opportunity to get him out of the picture. The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse was co-written by John Huston and features several key members of the Warner Brothers stock company in supporting roles, including Allen Jenkins and Donald Crisp. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Humphrey Bogart
    Humphrey Bogart - Gloves Donahue
  • Conrad Veidt
    Conrad Veidt - Hall Ebbing
  • Kaaren Verne
    Kaaren Verne - Leda Hamilton
  • Jane Darwell
    Jane Darwell - Ma Donahue
  • Frank McHugh
    Frank McHugh - Barney
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