Case Number 20115: Small Claims Court

HUMPHREY BOGART: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION

The Petrified Forest
Warner Bros. // 1936 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
The Black Legion
Warner Bros. // 1937 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Dark Victory
Warner Bros. // 1937 // 104 Minutes // Not Rated
Kid Galahad
Warner Bros. // 1937 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
Marked Woman
Warner Bros. // 1937 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
San Quentin
Warner Bros. // 1937 // 70 Minutes // Not Rated
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
Warner Bros. // 1938 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Invisible Stripes
Warner Bros. // 1939 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
The Roaring Twenties
Warner Bros. // 1939 // 106 Minutes // Not Rated
Brother Orchid
Warner Bros. // 1940 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
They Drive By Night
Warner Bros. // 1940 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Virginia City
Warner Bros. // 1940 // 121 Minutes // Not Rated
All Through The Night
Warner Bros. // 1941 // 107 Minutes // Not Rated
High Sierra
Warner Bros. // 1941 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
The Maltese Falcon
Warner Bros. // 1941 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Across The Pacific
Warner Bros. // 1942 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Casablanca
Warner Bros. // 1942 // 102 Minutes // Rated PG
Dark Passage
Warner Bros. // 1942 // 106 Minutes // Not Rated
Action In The North Atlantic
Warner Bros. // 1943 // 127 Minutes // Not Rated
Passage To Marseille
Warner Bros. // 1944 // 109 Minutes // Not Rated
To Have And Have Not
Warner Bros. // 1944 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
The Big Sleep
Warner Bros. // 1946 // 114 Minutes // Not Rated
Key Largo
Warner Bros. // 1948 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
The Brothers Warner
Warner Bros. // 2008 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ike Oden (Retired) // November 15th, 2010

The Charge

"My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains."

Opening Statement

Mark this as the first review that has very nearly murdered the thin grasp of sanity I've managed to cling to. Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection is a chaotic beast of a box set, featuring 24 classic Bogart films and one documentary that are slapped together on twelve double sided discs with no sense of order, chronological or otherwise. Warner Bros has randomly shuffled a massive volume of Bogart films onto one set, leaving me to try to make sense of the madness. Is the set worth its weight in extra strength Tylenol?

Facts of the Case

The following synopsis are presented.

Disc One
The Petrified Forest

Murderous fugitive Duke Manitee (Bogart) takes a run-down diner in Arizona hostage while awaiting a rendezvous. Among the hostages are suicidal writer Alan Squier (Leslie Howard, Gone With The Wind), whose whirlwind romance with waitress Gabby Hayes (Bette Davis, The Devil Met A Lady) inspires hope in the most unlikely of places.

Marked Woman

Bette Davis is a prostitute with incriminating information about her sleazeball mob boss(Eduardo Ciannelli, Gunga Din). After her sister (Jane Bryan, A Slight Case of Murder) goes missing, she finds herself coming to the aid of District Attorney Humphrey Bogart at a fatal price.

Disc Two
Kid Galahad

Edward G. Robinson (Double Indemnity) and Bogart are rival boxing promoters in the midst of the Depression. When bellhop Wayne Morris (Paths of Glory) K.O.s Bogart's prize fighter at a cocktail party, boxing moll Betty Davis convinces Robinson to take him under his wing as "Kid Galahad." A love triangle between the three ensues. Meanwhile Bogart plots his revenge.

Black Legion

Bogie joins up with the titular KKK-style outfit after losing a job promotion to a Polish co-worker. The group reigns terror upon the ethnic populous of their small town. Bogie gets his promotion, but when his friends and family grow suspicious, the Aryan conspiracy begins to unravel...

Disc 3
San Quentin

Bogart is cast as a young hood doing hard time for the first time. Benevolent Army Sergeant-cum-warden (Pat O'Brien, Some Like It Hot) takes him under his wing, reaching him through fair discipline and empathy. Just when Bogie seems to be on the straight and narrow, he finds out his sister (Ann Sheridan, King's Row) and the warden have been doing some serious snogging behind his back. Enraged, he plots his revenge and an epic breakout from San Quentin.

The Roaring Twenties

Jimmy Cagney (White Heat) and Bogart go from World War I buddies to bootleggers over the course of the famous decade.

Disc 4
Dark Victory

Bette Davis is an aristocratic heiress who, after months of migraine headaches and a swan dive down a staircase, is forced to undergo an experimental brain surgery. The doctor, George Brent (The Spiral Staircase), botches the procedure, but doesn't have the heart to tell her she has merely a few months to live. Why? Oh, you know why. Bogart plays Davis' lusty horse wrangler in this classic melodrama.

Virginia City
This one features Errol Flynn (The Adventures of Robin Hood) as a Union Soldier who escapes from a Confederate prison, only to be tasked with taking a team to the neutral territory of Virginia City, Nevada to intercept a cache of Confederate gold. Standing in his way is Randolph Scott (Ride the High Country), the very Confederate that kept him imprisoned. Miriam Hopkins (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) is the burlesque dancing, Confederate-sympathizing love interest for both men, while Bogart is a Mexican outlaw ready to double cross them all.

Disc 5
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

No, it's not a pre-code sex romp, but a black comedy starring Edward G. Robinson as the titular professor. Clitterhouse seeks to explore the physiological changes of criminals during criminal acts. What better way to do so than to actively participate in the field? Applying his academic know-how, he joins up with mob boss Clare Trevor (Stagecoach) and her gang, who quickly take to the good doctor's high concept heist plans...except for Bogie, whose distrust of Clitterhouse creates grisly results.

Invisible Stripes

Invisible Stripes are exactly what George Raft (Scarface(1932)) wears following his release from prison, and everyone knows it -- especially kid brother William Holden (The Bridge Over The River Kwai), who is so eager to marry his virginal fiancée (Flora Robson, The Black Narcissus) that he's willing to turn to a life of crime for easy money. When leading a straight life proves impossible, Raft turns to ex-Sing Sing yard mate Chuck Martin (Bogart) to pull off a string of bank robberies. Things go sour, the fuzz catches on, and gun play abounds in this socially conscience crime flick.

Disc 6
High Sierra

After being released from prison early, aging hood Roy Earle (Bogart) hooks up with gangster associates to lead a hotel robbery with a crew of reckless young punks and femme fatale Ida Lupino (The Sea Wolf). In his down time, Roy attempts to romance a club-footed young girl (Joan Leslie, Sergeant York) and bonds with her poor family in this hard boiled character study.

They Drive By Night

Bogart and Raft are brothers eager to start their own trucking company. When tragedy strikes the duo, Raft finds himself in the clutches of femme fatale trucking company executive Ida Lupino, who wants the newly wedded Raft for more than his trucking skills (if you catch my meaning).

Disc 7
The Maltese Falcon

Bogart is private dick Sam Spade, who finds himself neck deep in lowlifes like Sydney Greenstreet (The Verdict) and Peter Lorre (The Raven). They're all in search of a jewel encrusted falcon statue. He must fend off crooks as well as sultry femme fatale Mary Astor (Meet Me In St. Louis) to find out which one of them killed his partner. The film is Bogart's first significant John Huston (Prizzi's Honor) collaboration; based on Dashiel Hammet's novel.

Across the Pacific

This action film reunites Bogart, Huston, Astor, and Greenstreet for a tale of WW2 bare knuckle espionage. Disgraced Army grunt Bogart is sent packing from the service, only to a hitch a one way trip across the Panama Canal and kick some serious saboteur ass in the process.

Disc 8
All Through The Night

Bogart teams with then-popular comedians William Dearest (Sullivan's Travels), Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners), and Phil Silvers as a group of Broadway racketeers who find themselves unwittingly tangling with Conrad Veidt (Student of Prague), Peter Lorre and their legion of Nazi saboteurs in this slapstick action-comedy.

Brother Orchid

Edward G. Robinson spoofs his gangster persona as Little John Sarto, who gives up his racket for a life of class and sophistication, only to fail miserably and return with his tail between his legs. His partners, led by Bogart, shame him and refuse to let him back in the fold, sparking a turf war. Things take a turn for the worse when an attempt on Little John's life leads him to be rescued by a monastery. The monks take him in and Sarto lays low under the new moniker of "Brother Orchid." In the process, he learns a peaceful, fulfilling way of life that satisfies him...until he finds out his long-time moll (Ann Sothern, A Letter To Three Wives) is marrying another man. He breaks away to confront his past once and for all.

Disc 9
Action in the North Atlantic

Here's an old-fashioned slice of World War II propaganda with Bogie as Joe Rossi, first officer to a shipment freighter led by Raymond Massey (Arsenic and Old Lace). Together, the duo leads their crew and a naval platoon against a swarm of Nazi submarines. This was an official training film used by the naval merchant marines.

Passage to Marseille

Bogart reunites with Casablanca collaborators Michael Curtiz (Mystery at the Wax Museum), Claude Rains (The Invisible Man), Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet. Bogart plays French patriot Jean Matrac leader of a group of men who escape Devil's Island, defend a French freighter against cowardly countrymen, and join up with the Free French Air Corps.

Disc 10
The Big Sleep
This brings Raymond Chandler's L.A. private eye Phillip Marlow (Bogart) into an adventure involving blackmailers, pornographers, nymphomaniacs, and homicidal gangsters. He takes it all in stride, romances Lauren Bacall, and finds a snappy comeback for almost every line of dialogue. Could we expect anything less from director Howard Hawks?

To Have and Have Not

It's Bogart and Bacall's first collaboration. A very loose Ernest Hemingway adaptation penned by William Faulkner and directed by Howard Hawks, the film is widely considered something of a retread of Casablanca. Self-centered sailor Bogart reluctantly agrees to clandestinely move French Freedom Fighters across Nazi-occupied waters. Sound familiar? He's aided by the sultry Bacall, perennial drunk Walter Brennan (Rio Bravo) and night club pianist Hoagy Charmical (The Best Years Of Our Lives).

Disc 11
Dark Passage

Bogart and Bacall re-team yet again for an ambitious film noir. A fugitive (Bogart) searches San Francisco for the person who framed him for murdering his wife. Bacall plays a woman who helps him for personal reasons. Plastic surgery, suicide, blackmail, and paranoia ensue.

Key Largo

Bogart and Edward G. Robinson squaring off yet again, this time as a shell-shocked ex-GI and a sociopath mobster, respectively. They go toe-to-toe in a seaside hotel run by wheelchair-bound Lionel Barrymore (Son of Frankenstein) and daughter-in-law Lauren Bacall. As tensions mount, a hurricane cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Disc 12
Casablanca

The film considered by many as the greatest of all time. Bogart plays Rick, a disgruntled Cafe owner who "sticks his neck out for nobody." This holds true until long-lost-love Elsa (Ingrid Bergman, Spellbound) re-enters his life, asking him to get a passport for freedom-fighting husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid, Dead Ringer). With Nazis on their tail and time running out, Rick must decide whether to help Laszlo and the resistance or scorn the woman who broke his heart.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

When a good-natured hobo (Bogart), his fellow drifter (Tim Holt, Pistol Harvest), and a grizzled prospector (Walter Huston, Yankee Doodle Dandy) discover gold in the hills of Mexico, it sparks a wave of paranoia and greed among the three.

The Evidence

Let me begin this review by stating the DVDs in this set are, on the whole, identical to their single disc editions from the past, meaning the bulk of them have been reviewed on this site with more critical depth than you're likely to find here.

No, this review isn't about depth. It's about making sense of a box set that refuses to make sense of Humphrey Bogart's career (even though the advertising promises otherwise). Instead, we're going to examine Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection in broader terms, focusing on Bogart's role in each film and their thematic commonalities.

Quality wise, you're probably not going to find a better 24 films grouped together on one set. We'll start by skimming over the classics you've at least heard of (if not seen multiple times), and will work our way down to the more obscure lot.

Petrified Forest, Bogart's film debut, is as romantic and philosophical as a hostage movie is likely to get, with Leslie Howard's disillusioned, suicidal writer causing genuine sparks with a surprisingly warm and fragile (and very young) Bette Davis. The film is beautifully photographed, perfectly acted, and compellingly dense, but it Bogart's anti-hero Duke Manatee that leaves the lasting impression. Its inclusion here is no surprise and it appropriately kicks off the first disc.

Key Largo, a film situated toward the end of the set (intentionally?) has a similar premise, but veers the story toward a more traditional suspense-thriller. This time, Bogart is the reluctant hero, while Edward G. Robinson plays a sadistic gangster. Rather than orienting toward action, the film slowly builds as pacifistic Bogart struggles to stay in control of a situation dominated by homicidal thugs.

No Bogart collection would be complete without a few noir films, and this set has plenty to spare. You get your classic Maltese Falcon, possibly the greatest noir film ever made, as well as the faster, looser Howard Hawks adaptation of The Big Sleep -- a film as snappily funny as it is hard boiled.

More obscure noirs, such as High Sierra and Dark Passage, have Bogart playing against type as doomed schmucks always one step behind the curve. Sierra is marred only by a vast degree of racial humor (typical of the time but uncomfortable today), while Dark Passage only fails to live up to its ambitious beginning -- roughly 40 minutes of sustained Bogart POV that perfectly instills the paranoia of a wanted killer in its audience.

Casablanca and its pseudo-remake To Have and Have Not need no introduction. Casablanca has long been argued as one of the greatest American films of all time. I am unprepared to defend or dismiss this honor, but will say it remains timeless and utterly watchable in every way. Rick is, bar none, the greatest role of Bogart's career, a character that falls not-too-neatly between his gullible noir archetypes and his brash, heroic action heroes. Ingrid Bergman matches him in beauty and grace, and the entire cast is more or less a who's who of 1940s character actors. The script works on every level and is given extra texture by Michael Curtiz's sparse directorial style.

While Casablanca is Bogart's most entertaining movie, To Have and Have Not might be his most interesting. Following up Casablanca, the film is Howard Hawks' play on the formula and it's positively oozing with his cinematic obsessions: overlapping dialogue, sensuous sexual innuendo, strong-willed dames, and a group of men on a mission. If Rick had Stumpy from Rio Bravo occupying his cafe in Casablanca, I can't say it would've made the film better, but I'll be damned if isn't entertaining. Lauren Bacall never looked better than in this film and her chemistry with Bogart squashes the sparks he made with Bergman. Watch both films back to back for an utterly immaculate double feature.

Okay, so that's eight of the best movies you're likely to come across. Bogart's B-sides don't fare quite as well on the set, but are above average at best, and solid at the very worst. Most are polarizing weird in their genre interplay, and we'll examine those first.

Films They Drive By Night and San Quentin are mixed genre cocktails that pack a lot of punch, but leave audience expectations in a bitter hangover. Each film starts out as either gripping (They Drive By Night) or bland (San Quentin) melodramas that shift gears in their last acts, becoming bland (They Drive By Night) or gripping (San Quentin) gangster/noir films in their final act. These shifts typically result in Bogart's supporting characters falling out of the narrative for a good third of the film, which means your interest is likely to fall out with it (unless you're like me and have a particular predilection for young Ida Lupino).

Films on the set like Kid Galahad, The Amazing The Clitterhouse and Brother Orchid, manage to balance their dueling genres to greater effect, usually by believably contextualizing the gangster, sports or comedy elements within the frame of the story. They aren't masterpieces by any means, but are above average matinee fodder. Bogart plays gangster heavies in all of these films and does it well, and all three movies end in showdowns opposite the scene-chewing Edward G. Robinson.

The only mixed-genre film of this sort to unequivocally succeed in blending its tones is The Roaring Twenties. Bogart makes an excellent villain -- a cold blooded, WWI sniper-turned-gangster, reuniting with platoon buddy/protagonist Jimmy Cagney to take over the bootlegging industry during post-war prohibition. The film's schizophrenic war-romance-melodrama-gangster mixture works thanks to a sprawling, decade long narrative told through the framing of faux-newsreels, pre-dating Orson Welles' similar tactics in Citizen Kane by two years (though without the flare for style and detail). Nonetheless, Cagney and Bogart play perfectly off each other as the former sinks into corruption while the latter revels in it.

Which brings us to the box set's straighter fare: turgid melodramas like Dark Victory and Marked Woman, both Bette Davis vehicles, stick out in the box set as well-made, if predictable tear-jerkers. The casts sell the hell out of them, despite some hammy dialogue and dated shock moments (Bette Davis' offscreen nose dive down a flight of stairs in Dark Victory may be the most hilarious moment on the set).

In terms of their Bogie quotient, the man doesn't carry much of a presence in either film. He's cast blandly as a goody-goody D.A. who speaks in inspirational speeches in Marked Woman, while Dark Victory fittingly puts him in the role of a rugged horse trainer whose moves toward Davis are (in an unrealistic twist) ignored. Bogart is by far the most interesting element of Dark Victory and the fact that he's given the least amount of screen time makes the film something of a chore in stretches.

Morality fables like Black Legion and Invisible Stripes play out as ahead-of-their-time crime pictures with strong social compasses, but enough preaching to have you checking the running time on your DVD player sporadically. Invisible Stripes takes a hell of a long time to get its domestic drama out of the way, the film packs a wallop in its few action sequences, aided by a group of characters who, even with a sly gangster like Bogart's character, you really root for.

Black Legion offers Bogie as an unrepentant racist, an utterly unsympathetic brute that sees the error of his ways when it is far too late. The film showcases the darkest content of any in the box set (which says a lot, being that most of the pre-WW2 films carry melancholy, if not utterly bleak, endings). It represents a milestone in terms of race films, taking the KKK to task during their peak. That said, the film also shies away from casting many minorities that aren't German or Polish immigrants (or Anglo actors playing such), thus making a strong case for Black Legion as the whitest race-relations film ever made.

Bogart proves westerners were never his forte in Virginia City a borderline classic entry in the genre. Everything about the film is pretty awesome -- Errol Flynn just barely pulls off the role as a Union hero (the prim and proper accent almost hold him back), while Randolph Scott and Miriam Hopkins create a starkly sympathetic picture of Confederate spies fighting tooth-and-nail for their cause. It's a brutal film, complete with child deaths, botched escape attempts, and gunplay galore. These elements are hindered only by Bogart's clumsy, racist casting as a Mexican desperado.

The straight up adventure films are what I had the most fun with in the set. Bogie is great as an action hero, ruthlessly recalling an American version of Ian Fleming's Bond in Across The Pacific while more kicking Nazi keister as a hood-with-a-heart-of-gold in All Through The Night. These films aren't particularly smart (the comedy of All Through The Night is horribly dated), nor do the plotlines make any real sense, but Bogart licks those Axis Powers real good, gets the girls, and saves the free world from disaster. Across The Pacific especially makes for golden age popcorn entertainment at its finest.

The war films are much more somber affairs. Bogart, a veteran World War I seaman, plays both movies as straight as possible to varying degrees of success. Action In The North Atlantic has him as an easygoing first mate forced to step up his game when his ship takes on a cluster of Nazi sub hits. He's great, but his star prowess takes a backseat to a very strong ensemble of character actors, all of whom pull their weight to create a sense of realism and natural camaraderie.

Passage To Marseille is a bleaker affair, with Bogart as a cowardly countryman forced to rise to the occasion on behalf of France. He conveys a sense of desperation and intensity that sells the character, especially when blasting traitorous Frenchman with a turret mounted machine gun at close range. He and the rest of the cast are only hindered by an utter mess of a script, a hodgepodge strung together by the flimsy narrative that takes a flashback within a flashback within a flashback within a flashback to flesh out the narrative. It's simply too much story, too much framing, and the film suffers as a byproduct, but Bogart makes it worth the watch.

Technically, the films all look and sound merely decent. In today's day and age of Blu-ray and high-def transfers, a lot of these DVD ports are going to look a little drab. Aside from Casablanca, whose superb video was ported from the last DVD edition, all of the transfers are as expected due to age and source material -- sharp images with all the flaws, nicks, scratches, and image jumps typical to a set of films scrounged from the 1930s and 40s. The mono tracks are clear enough, rarely sounding too low, fuzzy, or sterilized.

Collectively, the box set ports over a massive amount of extras. Multiple discs get the "Warner Night At The Movies" treatment, featuring short films, "Merry Meoldies" cartoons, newsreels, and trailers that play before the movie to simulate the period's typical film going experience. These features are always a treat, though sadly aren't present for every disc.

Almost every disc contains some fairly pertinent features, from commentaries to featurettes, audio plays, and cartoons. Only Key Largo gets the shaft, housed only with a theatrical trailer to show for its troubles (merely one reason I believe it to be underrated). Read through the side bar to get a more detailed list -- just don't expect any new bonus materials for these films.

Included in the box set as the 13th disc is The Brothers Warner, a 2008 personal documentary from Cass Warner Sperling that tells the story of the real-life Warner Bros. from a family perspective, bringing in Dennis Hopper, Debbie Reynolds, Tab Hunter, and many Hollywood historians to comment on the rise and fall of the real-life Warner Bros.

From a content perspective, The Brothers Warner is a solid documentary, vividly telling the story with great detail, interesting anecdotes, and wonderful archived materials. Where the film fails is from a presentation standpoint. The movie is wrought with unnecessary man-on-the-street tangents by Warner Sperling, cheesy re-enactments, too often replayed archive footage, bad The Kid Stays In The Picture style flash-photo animation, and a downright unnecessary degree of schmaltz. The documentary seems to aim for Ken Burns and more often than not hits "E! True Hollywood Story."

Even worse, the documentary has very little to do with Bogart directly -- The Black Legion is briefly highlighted as a socially revolutionary film of the period, while Casablanca is hailed as, well, Casablanca. Bogart himself is more or less reprieved from the archive footage; as are so many of the writer, directors, actors, and composers the brothers Warner cultivated during this time period. It's filler, pure and simple.

The box set includes a 48-page, hardcover booklet with liner notes by Robert Osborne and an envelope packed with replica lobby cards, one-sheet posters, and telegraph correspondences between Bogart and the studio. I can only sum up these ancillary features as "neat," but aren't perks that should part you from your hard earned cash.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Let me address my omitting of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and a deep, dark confession I've kept secret from my fellow film geeks till now: I have never seen Treasure of the Sierra Madre. This box set would've marked my maiden screening of the film if Warner would've bothered to include it. Yes, it is advertised on the back of the box and should be on the flipside of Casablanca (they're collected in flipper discs, more on that later), but it seems someone at Warner Bros. accidentally transferred the second and wrong disc of the Treasure of Sierra Madre DVD. It has a documentary on John Huston and other extras from said DVD's bonus features disc, but no film.

I can only assume that this embarrassing mistake is being fixed by the studio before the set is formally released, but that doesn't exactly do much for me as I write this. The error is clearly the work of a studio haphazardly assembling a group of discs to be resold in swanky packaging. Let me assure you, beyond the quality of the films featured, this is as weak a box set as they come.

The thrown together quality previously harped upon is most noticeable in the order of the film's presentation. On the packaging it advertises Bogart's films in order of their release, starting with Petrified Forest (1936) all the way up to Key Largo (1948). That makes sense as the box set houses the sum of Bogart's Warner Bros. career. I only wish the films were presented in such a way. Instead, we have the messy organization you just skimmed over in the Facts of the Case. Blech.

As mentioned, the double sided discs are spread across six ultra-thin amaray cases that if squeezed, dropped, or damaged, threaten to damage the discs being held. I hate double sided discs. Not only do they look cheap, but they are easily damaged if dropped or put inside the case carelessly.

I've always liked thin cases that take up less of my shelf space, but if housing double-sided discs, they make for a collector's nightmare. If you're like me and you obsessively re-organize your collection every two to three months, you know the packaging is going to see some wear and tear at the expense of the discs.

From a consumer viewpoint, one also wonders why Warner decided to omit certain readily available Bogart titles. With the grandeur following the recent release of The African Queen, why not include a copy of that standard DVD? While we're at it, why not throw on Dr. X from the Hollywood's Legends of Horror Collection, which featured Bogart in his first and only horror film? If the racial embarrassment of Virginia City is included, I don't see why we can't get the man skulking around as a mad scientist on this set. Hell, Crime School is available through Warner Archive, why not throw that one on for good measure? For being such an "Essential Collection," there's enough left out to suggest that Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection will be far from the last box set of its sort.

Closing Statement

If you don't already own the bulk of these films and you're ready to tear into some classic cinema, Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection is a fine set to pick up. Long-time Bogie fans who own even a quarter of these films are suggested to save their money for future DVD and Blu-ray upgrades. That is, unless you're looking for certain titles on this set that have long been out of print. In that case, the decision is between you and your media God.

The Verdict

For their cheap, slapdash work on the set, Warner Bros. is sentenced to a year of wearing invisible stripes of their own. The films themselves are not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2010 Ike Oden; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, The Petrified Forest
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, The Petrified Forest
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1936
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Petrified Forest
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary
* Featurette
* Audio Play

Scales of Justice, The Black Legion
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, The Black Legion
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1937
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Black Legion
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, Dark Victory
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, Dark Victory
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 1937
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Dark Victory
* Commentary
* Featurette
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, Kid Galahad
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Kid Galahad
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1937
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Kid Galahad
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, Marked Woman
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Marked Woman
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 1937
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Marked Woman
* Featurette
* Vintage Cartoons
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, San Quentin
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, San Quentin
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 70 Minutes
Release Year: 1937
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, San Quentin
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary
* Blooper Reel

Scales of Justice, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 1938
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary
* Radio Plays

Scales of Justice, Invisible Stripes
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, Invisible Stripes
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1939
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Invisible Stripes
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, The Roaring Twenties
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, The Roaring Twenties
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 106 Minutes
Release Year: 1939
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Roaring Twenties
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary
* Featurette

Scales of Justice, Brother Orchid
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Brother Orchid
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 1940
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Brother Orchid
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, They Drive By Night
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, They Drive By Night
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1940
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, They Drive By Night
* Featurette
* Short Film
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, Virginia City
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Virginia City
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 121 Minutes
Release Year: 1940
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Virginia City
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, All Through The Night
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, All Through The Night
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 107 Minutes
Release Year: 1941
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, All Through The Night
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, High Sierra
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, High Sierra
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1941
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, High Sierra
* Featurette
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, The Maltese Falcon
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, The Maltese Falcon
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 1941
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Maltese Falcon
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Commentary

Scales of Justice, Across The Pacific
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Across The Pacific
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 1942
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Across The Pacific
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Featurette

Scales of Justice, Casablanca
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Casablanca
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 1942
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, Casablanca
* Introduction
* Commentaries
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, Dark Passage
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Dark Passage
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 106 Minutes
Release Year: 1942
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Dark Passage
* Featurette
* Vintage Cartoon
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, Action In The North Atlantic
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Action In The North Atlantic
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 127 Minutes
Release Year: 1943
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Action In The North Atlantic
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Featurette
* Radio Play

Scales of Justice, Passage To Marseille
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, Passage To Marseille
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 109 Minutes
Release Year: 1944
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Passage To Marseille
* Warner Night At The Movies
* Featurette
* Blooper Reel

Scales of Justice, To Have And Have Not
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, To Have And Have Not
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 1944
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, To Have And Have Not
* Featurette
* Vintage Cartoon
* Radio Play
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, The Big Sleep
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, The Big Sleep
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 114 Minutes
Release Year: 1946
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Big Sleep
* Featurette
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, Key Largo
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, Key Largo
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1948
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Key Largo
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, The Brothers Warner
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, The Brothers Warner
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)

Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Brothers Warner
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb: The Petrified Forest
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0028096/combined

* IMDb: Marked Woman
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0029217/combined

* IMDb: Kid Galahad
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0029080/combined

* IMDb: The Black Legion
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0027367/combined

* IMDb: San Quentin
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0029511/combined

* IMDb: The Roaring Twenties
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0031867/combined

* IMDb: Dark Victory
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0031210/combined

* IMDb: Virginia City
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0033226/combined

* IMDb: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0029864/combined

* IMDb: Invisible Stripes
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0032636/combined

* IMDb: High Sierra
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0033717/combined

* IMDb: They Drive By Night
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0033149/combined

* IMDb: The Maltese Falcon
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0033870/combined

* IMDb: Across The Pacific
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0034428/combined

* IMDb: All Through The Night
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0034449/combined

* IMDb: Brother Orchid
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0032285/combined

* IMDb: Action In The North Atlantic
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0035608/combined

* IMDb: Passage To Marseille
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0037166/combined

* IMDb: To Have And Have Not
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0037382/combined

* IMDb: The Big Sleep
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0038355/combined

* IMDb: Dark Passage
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0039302/combined

* IMDb: Key Largo
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0040506/combined

* IMDb: Casablanca
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0034583/combined

* IMDb: The Brothers Warner
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1023499/combined