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Warner Rounds Up the Wise Guys

9 Nov, 2007 By: Billy Gil

With the multiplexes currently crowded with the likes of American Gangster and Gone Baby Gone, audience thirst for gangster films seems to be growing. Warner Home Video is taking heed by releasing its third collection of gangster-themed films, Warner Bros. Gangsters Collection Vol. 3, March 11, 2008 (prebook Feb. 5).

The $59.92 set includes the films Picture Snatcher, Lady Killer, Smart Money, Black Legion, The Mayor of Hell and Brother Orchid. Single titles also will be available at $19.97 each.

“The gangster film is a huge cornerstone in the legacy of our studio, and we take great pride in bringing freshly-minted, restored digital masters to new generations of fans via DVD,” said George Feltenstein, Warner Home Video's SVP of theatrical catalog marketing.

The films, each released during the 1930s and '40s, come from a time when Warner Bros. was known for its gangster films. All the films are on DVD for the first time, with new transfers from newly restored film elements, as well as Warner shorts, cartoons and trailers.

Picture Snatcher (1933) stars James Cagney as a former gangster trying to reform himself as a tabloid photographer. The DVD includes the vintage theatrical trailer “I Loved A Woman,” as well as the short “Plane Crazy” and cartoon “Wake Up The Gypsy in Me.”

Lady Killer (1933) also stars Cagney, as a reformed con artist in Hollywood who becomes a star, and the DVD includes the shorts “The Camera Speaks” and “Kissing Time,” as well as the cartoon “The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives” and the film's original trailer.

Smart Money (1931) teamed Cagney with Edward G. Robinson as small-town brothers who become big-city gamblers. The DVD includes the trailer for Other Men's Women; two shorts, “George Jessel and His Art Choir” and “The Smart Set-Up”; and the cartoon “Big Man From the North.”

Black Legion (1937) stars Humphrey Bogart as a factory worker turned anti-immigrant group member when he gets passed for a promotion in favor of a Polish immigrant. The DVD includes the trailer for The Perfect Specimen, a newsreel and the shorts “Hi De Ho,” “Under Southern Stars” and “Porky and Gabby.”

The Mayor of Hell (1933) stars Cagney again as a former gangster, this time as the appointed head of a state reformatory, housing five teenage criminals. The DVD includes the short “The Audition,” the cartoon “The Organ Grinder” and the trailers for The Kennel Murder Case, The Mayor of Hell, Crime School and Hell's Kitchen.

Brother Orchid (1940) stars Robinson and Bogart in a gangster comedy akin to Whoopie Goldberg's Sister Act — one of the gangsters seeks protection with monks while plotting revenge on another, until the monks' peaceful ways begin to change him. The DVD includes the trailer for It All Came True, the short “Henry Busse and His Orchestra” and the cartoons “Busy Bakers” and “Slap Happy Pappy.”

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