The Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection, Vol. 2

Title: The Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection, Vol. 2hb2

Silent or Talkie: Talkie

Review

Warner Brothers has released Volume 2 of the Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection. Following the example of Volume 1, which included such classics as Casablanca and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Volume 2 boasts a special 3-Disc edition of The Maltese Falcon and other important landmarks of Bogart’s career. Here you will find a brief review of each film in this beautiful 7-DVD set, as well as the bonus features that each disc contains.

The Maltese Falcon – 3-Disc Edition (1941)
Considered by many to be the official beginning of Film Noir, The Maltese Falcon immortalized Sam Spade (Bogart) as the quintessential hard-boiled detective. After his partner is murdered, Spade finds himself thrown into a never-ending world of shady characters with one thing in mind, a jewel-encrusted golden falcon statue. Originally given as a gift to honor Charles V of Spain in 1539, its value is immeasurable. In his double-quest to find his partner’s murderer and the falcon statue, Spade must overcome temptation and frustration. Brigid O’Shaughnessy (a “femme fatale” role played by Mary Astor), obviously captivates Spade and serves as a detriment to his good judgment. This creates his personal struggle between right and right, what’s right for him versus what’s right in the interest of the law. John Huston directs this cinematic masterpiece. Special features in this 3-disc edition include: A new digital transfer of the 1941 movie from restored elements, Commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax, Warner Night at the Movies 1941 Short Subjects Gallery: vintage newsreel, Technicolor Musical Short: The Gay Parisian, Classic Cartoons: Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt and Meet John Doughboy, 2 Previous Movie Versions of the classic Hammet caper: The Maltese Falcon (1931) with Bebe Daniels and Recardo Cortez and Satan Met a Lady (1936) with Bette Davis and Warren William, Theatrical Trailers, Documentary: “The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird”, The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart, Breakdowns of 1941: Studio Blooper Reel and an audio-only bonus: 3 radio show adaptations including a version starring Edward G. Robinson.

Across the Pacific (1942)
Director John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor are reunited in this tale of war-time intrigue. Bogart plays Richard Leland, an army officer who is given a dishonorable discharge, and still decides to carry on as a soldier. Once aboard a Japanese steamship, Leland discovers a spy (Dr. Lorenz played by Sidney Greenstreet) who is devising a plot to blow up the Panama Canal. No one on-board seems to the person they claim, and Leland must engage in a full-fledged mission to save the Canal. It’s interesting to note that the original plot was envisioned as an attack on Pearl Harbor, however, when the real-life event took place in 1941, the script was changed to the Panama Canal. Special features include: Warner Night at the Movies, 1942: vintage newsreel, patriotic Technicolor short Men of the Sky, classic cartoon The Draft Horse, Featurette “Hollywood Helps the Cause” and Breakdowns of 1942: Studio Blooper Reel.

Action in the North Atlantic (1943)
Action in the North Atlantic is a commentary on war-time America. Humphrey Bogart plays Lt. Joe Rossi, the First Mate on a Merchant Marine ship that is suddenly torpedoed. Along with the ship’s captain, Rossi and the survivors join together to get themselves safely aboard a lifeboat and head back to America. They are welcomed back as heroes, but the celebration would be short-lived. After being assigned to another ship, tensions run high when the possibilities of another torpedo attack are considered. Staring in the face of danger, the men press on and manage to get their ship to Russia. This film is regarded as a look on the state of America during the war, mainly because of the effect on the wives and girlfriends who worried for the safe return of their men. While always supportive, the haunting reality that a husband may not survive was a persistent thorn. Film audiences felt as though they were not only watching a Hollywood interpretation, but a documentary on their current life situation. Special features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1943 Short Subjects Gallery: vintage newsreel, Musical Short: Cavalcade of Dance, Classic Cartoon: Greetings Bait, Featurette “Credit Where Credit is Due” and an Audio-only bonus: radio show with George Raft and Raymond Massey.

All Through The Night (1942)
All Through The Night is a slightly different role for Bogart, yet one that was welcomed among his flurry of timeless characters. Bogart plays New York gambler/gangster Alfred ‘Gloves’ Donahue, whose friend (the baker of his favorite cheesecake) is killed. This prompts him to launch his own amateurish investigation, one that leads him much further into a tangled web of deceit when he discovers that a Nazi group (headed by Franz Ebbing, played by Conrad Veidt of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” fame) is behind it. A nightclub singer named Leda Hamilton (played by Kaaren Verne) is thrown into the mix, adding another element of mystery: which side is she on? Donahue soon learns of the group’s “future endeavors”, and must use the wit and force of his gang to throw them off the course. An all-star cast headlines this Bogart classic, namely Peter Lorre as “Pepi” and Jackie Gleason as “Starchy”. Special features include: A commentary by director Vincent Sherman and Bogart biographer Eric Lax, Warner Night at the Movies 1942 Short Subjects Gallery: vintage newsreel, Joe Doakes comedy short: So You Want to Give Up Smoking, Classic Cartoon: Lights Fantastic and a Featurette: “Call the Usual Subjects: The Craft of the Character Actor.”

Passage To Marseille (1944)
In yet another joining of Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, Passage To Marseille stars Humphrey Bogart as Jean Matrac. Matrac is a French journalist who is unjustly accused of murder and sentenced to Devil’s Island as punishment. Once there, he and four of his fellow “criminals” escape and set out on a raft for France to fight the Germans. They become exhausted after a long amount of time on the raft, but are picked up by a larger ship bound for Marseille. Once aboard, word of France’s downfall is delivered. An officer on board with his partner learns that the ship’s captain has changed course and is now heading towards England. The officer attempts to take over the ship until the convicts and the rest of the crew thwart his effort, battling through enemy planes and chaos to dock safely in England. Passage To Marseille was crafted as a follow-up to Casablanca, the incredibly successful and now legendary film of 1942. Special features include: Warner Night at the Movies 1944 Short Subjects Gallery: vintage newsreel, Patriotic Short: I Won’t Play, Musical Short: Jammin’ the Blues, Classic Cartoon: The Weakly Reporter, Featurette: “The Free French: Forgotten Unsung Victors” and Breakdowns of 1944: Studio Blooper reel.

Conclusion

Humphrey Bogart is both a cinematic and an American icon. His ability to handle roles that were seemingly opposite to each other is what propelled him into the annals of film history. From a detective to a truck driver, “Bogie” was truly a mark of distinction on film. It’s been said that there’s never been another Bogart, and there never will be. Thanks to Warner Brothers’ Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection, Vol. II, these masterpieces can be enjoyed for countless hours.

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