Blu-ray review: The Best of Bogart Collection with 'Casablanca,' 'Maltese Falcon' and more

By Daniel S Levine,
Author Rating: 
4.0 Stars - Very Good

Humphrey Bogart remains an icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood. For many, he is the embodiment of all that's great from the era. If you ask anyone to name just five actors from the 1940s, Bogart will be one of them. He made most of his films at Warner Bros., and although he did make several great films after leaving the studio in 1951, his best known films were made there. For anyone who knows of Bogart, but for whatever reason hasn't seen any of his films, Warner Bros. Home Video has put together The Best of Bogart Collection.

The set includes just four films, all of which have been previously released on Blu-ray. It starts off with John Huston's first film, 1941's The Maltese Falcon. Although Bogart had made star-making appearances in The Petrified Forest and High Sierra (written by Huston), The Maltese Falcon really cemented his status as a Hollywood A-lister.

The following year, Bogart starred in Casablanca, easily the most iconic film of the 1940s. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the film won Best Picture of 1943 and paired Bogart with Ingrid Bergman. Thankfully, WBHV included the 70th Anniversary remastered edition from 2012. The disc includes an amazing documentary on the career of Curtiz.

Next, we jump all the way to 1948, with the best performance Bogart ever gave, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. With Huston at the helm again, Bogart was astounding as the vile Dobbs. It remains the greatest performance not nominated for an Oscar.

In 1951, Bogart finally gave the performance that would win him an Oscar - The African Queen. It's only fitting that Huston directed him again. The African Queen also features an incredible performance from Katherine Hepburn and lush, Technicolor cinematography from Jack Cardiff. This film is distributed by Paramount, but since WHBV is handling distribution of catalog titles for that studio, it's included here.

WBHV's Best of collection makes for a nice gift for any budding film fan just stuarting a collection, as it's not really aimed at the avid Blu-ray collector who will probably have all these already. Every piece of bonus material from the individual releases are included and the set does get a handsome package. WBHV loves including paper extras and here we get mini posters for the four films. It's a bit unfortunate that WHBV didn't wait a bit longer to release this set. Billy Wilder's Sabrina is coming out soon and would have been a nice inclusion here.

Obviously, though, this is intended for someone who wants to get these four movies right away. If you can get it cheaper than the individual releases, go for it.

The set comes out on March 25.



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