A great 5 film collection.
Somewhat hard to navigate around all the features on the various discs.
Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 is a 7 disc 5 film collection that features the following films:
- The Maltese Falcon (as well as the 1931 version and the 1936 version with Bette Davis titled Satan Met A Lady)
- Across the Pacific
- Action In the North Atlantic
- All Through the Night
- Passage to Marseille
The Maltese Falcon gets a three disc treatment in this well put together set. Humphrey Bogart plays Private Investigator Sam Spade in a film filled with terrific twists, turns, and characters. Action In the North Atlantic sees Bogey tipping his had to World War II allied forces in this thriller. Across the Pacific showcases Bogey as a counterspy who goes up against people trying to sabotage the Panama Canal. All Through the Night sees Bogart battling Nazis is this enjoyable 1942 film. Lastly, Passage to Marseille sees Bogey escape from Devil's Island, only to have him join up with the Free French in this World War II epic.
While I think this collection is truly top notch, I was blown away by the depth and scope of the three disc Maltese Falcon set. It has everything that a fan of the film and Humphrey Bogart could want.
As this set was filled with so much content, I sadly only had to time to really digest certain aspects of it. I have decided to review those while also listing out what the rest of supplemental features are for each disc.
The Maltese Falcon
Commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax
Aside from sounding like he's reading from his book, Eric Lax provides an anecdote ridden commentary track. Calling this film the one that "set the standard for PI" movies, Lax proceeds to launch into what sounds like a recorded history of this film. He talks about how it got made, how it made Bogart's and director John Huston's career, the other actors in the film, and how once Paul Muni left Warner Bros., they essentially made Bogart the new Muni. A very insightful listen despite Lax seeming to never come up for air.
- Warner Night at the Movies 1947 Short subjects gallery
Discs 2 and 3:
- 2 Previous movie versions of the Classic Hammett Caper
The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird
Yet another piece to compliment this well made film. We hear from people as varied as Peter Bogdanovich to Henry Rollins. It is a thickly layered account of how this movie got made but more importantly, it is essentially a history lesson on The Maltese Falcon. We find out how Dashiell Hammet wrote the novel, the other versions that were made of this movie, and the characters aside from Bogart that inhabited the celluloid world. Once this is done, we are then treated to the effect that - The Maltese Falcon had on moviegoers and the movie business. A top notch look at a film that more than deserves this kind of attention.
- Robert Osborne hosts Becoming Attractions: The trailers of Humphrey Bogart
- Breakdowns of 1941: Studio Blooper Reel
- Makeup Tests
- Audio-Only Bonus
Across the Pacific
- Warner Night at the Movies 1942 Short Subjects Gallery
- Breakdowns of 1942: Studio Blooper Reel
Action in the North Atlantic
- Warner Night at the Movies 1943 Short Subjects Gallery
- Audio-only Bonus: Radio Show With George Raft and Raymond Massey
All Through the Night
- Commentary by director Vincent Sherman and Bogart biographer Eric Lax
- Warner Night at the Movies 1942 Short Subjects Gallery
Call the Usual Suspects: The Craft of the Character Actor
Character actors like Clint Howard and Bruce Davison are featured here. I really got a kick out of this because, having done some acting, I know that I was always thought of in the character mode. I didn't mind this because I always felt "the characters" are the most interesting, they just don't make the kind of money that the leading men do. Still, it's nice to know that this group of people helps give movies and TV shows their reality.
Passage to Marseille
- Warner Night at the Movies 1944 Short Subjects Gallery
The Free French: Unsung Victors
Playing more like a history lesson, this featurette examines France in the 1940s. It gives us a history lesson of the Free French who fought against the Nazis, but it also places Passage to Marseille in an interesting light. Overall, even though I was somewhat confused at times (they sort of assume you know who the Free French were), I thought it was good idea to mesh the fiction of the movie with the reality of the situation it was depicting.
- Breakdowns of 1944: Studio Blooper Reel
All of these movies are Standard Version presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of their original theatrical exhibition. All of these movies are in black and white. I can only imagine the job that the people at Warner Bros. had ahead of them when they put this set together. I am willing to bet that they kept these films up pretty well, but I was still impressed with how sharp all the prints were across the board. I didn't notice that any of these titles had been over compressed, and I liked that there was an evenness to the titles. Only certain ones had overt contrast and I tend to think that they were meant to.
Dolby Digital - English Mono. The movies in this set sounded fine. I noticed some overt audio hiss in parts, or during certain cuts their seemed to be a noticeable disparity in the sound. Something tells me that they would have sounded like this if I had watched these films at the time they played theatrically. As I always say, you do have to consider when these movies were made and what year it is now. Judge for yourself, but I think these discs sound quite well mastered.
Humphrey Bogart's face dominates this front cover which is bathed in a graying blue tint. The cover lists out the movies, provides one line descriptions, a truncated "Special Features" listing, and some technical specs on the bottom of this slipcase portion. The covers for the 7 discs in this set are actually the one sheets from when these movies played theatrically. They are also showcased on the back of the slipcase as well. Warner Bros. has made this a complete digipack, and while the cardboard slipcase feels somewhat flimsy, overall things are neatly put together.
I have been watching a lot of Bogart films recently and I have to admit it has been a great experience. All of these movies are well made, well written, and I've even found the subject matter to be highly entertaining as well. Truthfully, I didn't know how much I was going to like Passage to Marseille or Across the Pacific, but all in all these turned out to be really engaging. I am always worried that I am not going to be able to keep up with the stories, or that I am not historically inclined to follow them but that was seriously not a problem in this set. Once again, I really do recommend perusing the three disc version of The Maltese Falcon. It is comprehensive in the best sense of the word, and on top of that we also get other versions of the film with which to bounce the best one off of.
Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 is a very thoughtful box set from our friends at Warner Bros.
Satan Met a Lady was released July 22, 1936.