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Public Enemies ? The Golden Age of the Gangster Film
Warner Brothers Gangsters Collection Vol. 4
Written and directed by Constantine Nasr
Warner Home Video 2008
106 minutes

Public Enemies The Golden Age of the Gangster Film is a bonus DVD in Warner Brothers Pictures Gangsters Collection Volume 4. This 106 minute documentary on film noir history is most fascinating and shows why WB was famous for its crime movies. This DVD alone makes the Gangster Collection worth the price.

The first scene in this documentary about gangster movies is from Goodfellas althoughit begins with the silent film era and establishes the history of gangster films until the late forties.  Experts include Martin Scorsese, Dr. Drew Casper and other film PhDs, silent film historian Anthony Slide, Warren Beatty, Robert De Niro, Leonard Maltin, Joe Pesci, and other crime movie stars and experts. Also included is archival interview clips with some of the genre’s biggest stars.

The documentary pays special attention to Warner films –this makes sense as the studio’s history in the genre is sans pareil—but it also covers every other studio. It is, without a doubt, thorough. Film fans will appreciate the many, many, many clips it features.

A documentary film on films that actually shows as many examples as possible is not that frequent or easy to find. The Golden Age of the Gangster Film is a must for gangster film buffs and any film fanatic.

Be careful, though, as it will make you want to go out and buy the DVD of some of these movies.

Warner Brothers Gangsters Collection Volume 4 includes: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) with Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart; Invisible Stripes (1939) with George Raft, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart; Kid Galahad (1937) with Edward G. Robinson and Bette Davis; the gangster comedy Larceny Inc (1942) with Robinson and Jane Wyman; and The Little Giant (1933) with Robinson and Mary Astor.

Extra features on Public Enemies The Golden Age of the Gangster Film are 5 Warner Brother Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies cartoons with a gangster theme. Racketeer Rabbit with Bugs Bunny and a cartoon version of Edward G Robinson and Peter Lorre and Bugs and Thugs where the rabbit confronts Boss and Mugsy are the only really good ones even if they repeat some of the very same gags.