TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Gangsters – Prohibition Era (The Public Enemy / The Roaring Twenties / Little Caesar / Smart Money)

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3 thoughts on “TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Gangsters – Prohibition Era (The Public Enemy / The Roaring Twenties / Little Caesar / Smart Money)

  1. 15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Classic films from Classic era, July 15, 2011
    By 
    Dr. James Gardner (California) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Gangsters – Prohibition Era (The Public Enemy / The Roaring Twenties / Little Caesar / Smart Money) (DVD)

    The 1930s was the decade of the gangster film – it began with Edward G Robinson’s “Little Caesar” and Jimmy Cagney’s “Public Enemy” and ended with Cagney and Bogart in “The Roaring Twenties” (1939). So the inclusion of these 3 films in one collection is memorable.

    “Smarty Money”, OTOH, is quite forgettable. As a historical film, we have Edward G Robinson, James Cagney, and Boris Karloff at the very starts of their careers (“Frankenstein” would be released about the same time as “Public Enemy”), all together in the same scene. Other than this, however, the film tends to be tedious.

    Most of these films were based on real characters. “Little Caesar” was based on Al Capone and “The Roaring Twenties” was based on real life bootlegger Larry Fay, who was shot to death in 1932 by a doorman at his nightclub.

    Edward G. Robinson (1893-1973) was making quite a name for himself in early gangster films like “The Hole in the Wall” (1929), “Night Ride” (1930) and the Lon Chaney re-make “Outside the Law” (1930), and on Broadway playing Nick Scarsi, a Capone-like gangster in a play entitled “The Racket”. When “Little Caesar” was being cast, director Mervyn LeRoy was looking for someone that resembled Capone, so Robinson got the nod. Robinson would go on to play in 30 gangster films in a career that included 89 feature films (only Bogart exceeded him with 32 out of 79).

    Jimmy Cagney (1899-1986) was one of the biggest stars of the 30s, was nominated for an Oscar for his work in “Angels with Dirty Faces” in 1938 and won for his 1942 portrayal of George M Cohan “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. While he is best known for his gangster roles, the majority of Cagney’s screen appearances were not as a gangster – he played an insurance salesman (“The Millionaire”, 1931), an engineer (“Other Men’s Women”, 1931), a boxer (“Winner Take All”, 1932), an auto racer (“The Crowd Roars”, 1932), a Broadway producer (“Footlight Parade”, 1933), etc. Indeed, Cagney often appeared in comedies (e.g., “Here Comes the Navy”, “Hard to Handle”, “Jimmy the Gent”), although it was his gangster films that earned him the rally big bucks.

    Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) was an aging 37 year old who had failed to distinguish himself in more than a dozen films over a period of 8 years. Then he made a name for himself on Broadway playing a John Dillinger like criminal in “The Petrified Forest”. Leslie Howard insisted Bogart get the part in the film, and he was a success, but continued to play second fiddle to Warner’s biggest star (e.g., “The Oklahoma Kid”, “Angels with Dirty Faces”, “Dead End”), Jimmy Cagney. “The Roaring Twenties” was the last film in which Cagney and Bogart both appeared. Then in 1941 Bogart starred in “High Sierra” and “The Maltese Falcon” and from that point onward, Bogart became a big name star, eventually surpassing Cagney in 1943 on the tail of his performance in “Casablanca”.

    So here’s a chance to see “the big 3″ in their classic films that literally bookend the classic gangster period. Forget about “Smart Money” and just enjoy these 3 great films.

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  2. 1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Gangster Rap, January 30, 2012
    By 
    P. Bowers “Shady Rest Guest” (Hooterville) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Gangsters – Prohibition Era (The Public Enemy / The Roaring Twenties / Little Caesar / Smart Money) (DVD)

    I have seen two of these: “The Roaring Twenties” and “Little Caesar”. Both are good for their time. Edward G. Robinson was very much into the character he played, and the story line seemed realistic. For the money, a good choice.

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  3. 0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    TCM Gangster collection, April 11, 2012
    By 
    Sallie Tonips (Cyril, OK United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Gangsters – Prohibition Era (The Public Enemy / The Roaring Twenties / Little Caesar / Smart Money) (DVD)

    Another outstanding collection of movies. Quick shipping and careful packaging. This is a great value for the price. Thank you!!!

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