Friday, September 19, 2008

TCM Gangster Marathon

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will take viewers to the wrong side of the law with a special marathon of classic Warner Bros. gangster films designed to celebrate the Oct. 7 Warner Home Video release of the Warner Bros. Gangster Collection Vol. 4 DVD box set. The Tuesday, Oct. 21, marathon is set to begin with a presentation of Public Enemies: The Golden Age of Gangster Film, an all-new original documentary special narrated by Alec Baldwin and created especially for the Warner Home Video DVD set.

Like Universal with its atmospheric horror films and MGM with its big-budget musicals, Warner Bros. made a name for itself with its tough, gritty, sometimes amoral depictions of gangster life. They propelled such actors as Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson to the top of the box office charts while frequently pushing the boundaries of what was considered acceptable for movie audiences.

The following is the complete schedule for TCM’s look at the classic gangster films from Warner Bros.:

8 p.m. Public Enemies: The Golden Age of Gangster Film (2008) –TCM’s celebration of the Warner Bros. gangster films begins with this original documentary, narrated by Alec Baldwin, that explores the advent of the studio’s crime dramas; the rise of its biggest stars; the development of such directors as Raoul Walsh, William Wellman and Michael Curtiz; and the influence they have had on contemporary filmmakers.

9:45 p.m. The Public Enemy (1931) – This seminal Warner Bros. gangster film follows the rise and fall of a Prohibition-era thug. This is the film that put James Cagney on the map, thanks in part to a memorable scene in which he stuffs a grapefruit in the face of co-star Mae Clark. Jean Harlow also stars.

11:15 p.m. The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) – Edward G. Robinson plays the total role of a doctor who is so fascinated with figuring out what makes lawbreakers tick, he joins a gang of jewel thieves for a closer look. Humphrey Bogart co-stars in what would be the first of his many opportunities to work with John Huston, who co-wrote the screenplay.

12:45 a.m. Invisible Stripes (1939) – In this subdued and earnest story, gangster George Raft tries to go straight while also protecting brother William Holden from the influence of mobster Humphrey Bogart. This social-conscience crime saga was adapted from a book by prison warden Lewis E. Lawes.

2:15 a.m. Larceny, Inc. (1942) – Even gangsters can be funny, as proven by this hilarious farce about a trio of ex-convicts, played by Edward G. Robinson, Broderick Crawford and Edward Brophy, using a luggage store as a front for their illegal activities. The script is based on a Broadway play by Laura Perelman and S.J. Perelman. Jane Wyman, Jack Carson and Anthony Quinn co-star, and Jackie Gleason is featured in a small role.

4 a.m. White Heat (1949) – The Warner Bros. gangster genre reached its zenith with this searing portrait of a psychopathic hoodlum played forcefully by James Cagney. Virginia Mayo stars as his neglected wife, while Edmond O’Brien plays the cop determined to put him behind bars. The fiery finale – with Cagney shouting, “Made it, Ma…top of the world!” – is one of the most memorable in movie history.

Warner Home Video’s Warner Bros. Gangster Collection Vol. 4 includes the films The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, Invisible Stripes and Larceny, Inc., as well as the Public Enemies documentary. In addition, it features The Little Giant (1933) and Michael Curtiz’s Kid Gallahad (1937), both with Edward G. Robinson. The latter film also stars Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis. DVD extras in the box set include feature commentaries on all five films, rarely seen Warner Bros. shorts, vintage newsreels, theatrical trailers and classic Warner Bros. cartoons.

Three previous Gangster Collections are currently available from Warner Home Video:

· Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection Volume 1 (formerly Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection): The Public Enemy, White Heat, Angels with Dirty Faces, Little Caesar, The Petrified Forest and The Roaring Twenties.

· Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection Volume 2 (formerly Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection): Bullets or Ballots, Each Dawn I Die, ‘G’ Men, San Quentin, A Slight Case of Murder and City for Conquest.

· Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection Volume 3: Picture Snatcher, Lady Killer, Smart Money, Black Legion, Mayor of Hell and Brother Orchid.