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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cagney - Cinema's greatest tough guy, 3 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
Forget Pacino, De Niro and all other pretenders. James Cagney was without doubt cinema's greatest tough guy - and his influence on modern cinema lives on today in shape of Goodfellas, Mean Streets, Once Upon A Time in America, Scarface and many many more that were inspired by his movies. Throughout the 1930's and late 1940's he electrified the screen headlining some of the best gangster movies of the period - The Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenties, Angels With Dirty Faces & White Heat. He had that special quality that separated him from the rest - a kind of kinetic energy that gave him the ability to let fly and give everything in his performances. When Cagney is on screen you cannot take your eyes off him & thats what makes him a true cinematic great.
Warner Bros brought together the four movies mentioned above in this superb box set. The Public Enemy (1931) sees Cagney in his breakthrough role as Tom Powers - who rises from small town hoodlum to big time gangster. The Roaring Twenties (1939) sees Cagney star alongside Humphrey Bogart as an ex war hero who gets involved over his head in bootlegging during the Prohibition era. Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) sees Cagney star with Pat O'Brien as two friends whose lives take dramatically different paths. Cagney is Rocky Sullivan who takes to a life of crime while Pat O'Brien becomes a man of the cloth as Father Jerry Connelly. However a conflict of interests soon arises when Rocky takes a group of youths (known as "The Dead-End Kids") under his wing much to the dismay of Father Jerry who is trying to make them lead a honest life. Finally & a personal favourite is the glorious White Heat (1949). Starring alongside Pat O'Brien & Virginia Mayo, Cagney is gang leader Cody Jarrett - a ruthless criminal who suffers from headaches that drive him insane & harbours a loving devotion for his ma. Who can forget the final scenes - "Made it Ma - Top of the World!!"
Verdict:
An excellent box set for both Cagney fans and lovers of gangster movies alike - enjoy the early exploits of a cinematic great.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars box sets dont get much better than this!!!!, 30 July 2007
By 
This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
cinemas greatest ever tough guy,in all four of his classic gangster movies.to any fan of james cagney,or to anyone who enjoys classic movies,this box set is about as good as it gets.james cagney had an energy,charisma and presence that was hard to match-in any cinematic era.each of the four films is a five star classic on its own,so to get all four in one great box set makes this a great addition to anyones dvd collection!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made it, Ma, 7 Jun 2009
This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD]

White Heat is one of my all time favourite movies, and I'd have been willing to buy the set for it alone. I didn't know any of the others in this set before, and I'm stunned at the sheer brilliance of Cagney's acting and the high quality of the movies. White Heat is still my favourite, but it's closely followed by Angels With Dirty Faces (chilling death house scene) and The Public Enemy, the ending of which has been leaving me breathless. Once I got used to the newsreels I loved The Roaring Twenties, too. I'm totally blown away by Cagney's acting skills.

The set itself is a real bargain. Each movie comes with commentary, short documentary (including parts of an interview with Scorsese) and "Warner Night at the Movies" (newsreel, short, cartoon and trailer, all from the year of release of the respective feature). I had tremendous fun feeling like a movie goer from the thirties and forties. I can't recommend this set highly enough!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Class Cagney!, 9 Oct 2007
By 
David Lusher (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
This boxed set contains four of James Cagney's best films. They are all superb, with great stories and strong performances. Each is a classic in its own right. It's nice to see a set that is not padded out with work of lesser quality. This is a must buy for all Cagney (and gangster film) fans.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the world of James Cagney., 19 May 2008
By 
Maverick (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
When I first bought this box set I hadn't ever seen any of James Cagney's films. What made me want this box set then? Well, I'm a fan of Martin Scorsese's movies and I saw in some interview with him that two of his favourite movies were 'White Heat' and 'Angels With Dirty Faces'. So, I figured they're worth checking out.

So that leads me to amazon.co.uk were I found both of the films in the same box set. Perfect.

I can say I enjoyed all the movies quite a lot. I watched a movie a day for four days in a row. Starting with the earliest (The Public Enemy) to the most recent (White Heat).

The Public Enemy - This was probably my favourite. Stylish and very well shot. I was surprised with it being made in 1931. I think as of yet this is the oldest movie I have seen. SO, I was expecting it to be terrible and look just the same. I was wrong and happy to be. The movie is worth seeing just for the grapefruit scene. Absolutely hilarious.

Angels with Dirty Faces - Very good film with a great ending. Still has me thinking about that one. Another film which was well shot, again to my surprise. You'd think I'd have learnt by now. The only bad thing I could say about this film was that the "dead end kids" were quite annoying.

The Roaring Twenties - Another good one. I enjoyed this one more than Angels With Dirty Faces.

White Heat - Probably the most classic and well known film of the bunch. The film that contains the "Made it ma, top of the world!" line. Strange that I had always known this line or some variation of it yet never seen the movie or heard of it. Possibly know it from Delboys impression on Only Fools and Horses. I think that this may be the case for a lot of people also. Strangely enough, with this film probably being the most well known it was my least favourite.

All the movies were enjoyable and I'm definitely happy I bought this box set. My only problem was, and this may be my problem alone. But all the films seemed to blend into each other. I look back and find myself getting confused about which scenes were in which movies. I find the stories and characters bleeding into one another. I would guess though that this is my problem because I watched them all a day after each other and I'm not that used to watching movies that are this old. So I'll have to go back and watch them again.

About this box set, the dvd's are in normal size boxes and can be taken out and say put in a dvd stand for example. Which is what I've done. Each DVD box is individual and each dvd has special features including interviews with Martin Scorsese....

All in all a great box set and some absolutely wonderful movies. A great place to start in James Cagney's career.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cagney, Top of the World, 3 Mar 2008
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This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
Rarely can an actor have merited the accolade "star" more than Jimmy Cagney. He brought to the screen a consistencey of performance which is unequalled to this day. His versatility ranged from song and dance (Yankee Doodle Dandy)through comedy (The Strawberry Blonde) to serious bio pics (Man of a Thousand Faces). Although it is as a screen tough guy he is perhaps best remembered.

This collection features probably his four finest perfomances as the ultimate gangster of the american screen.

In "Public Enemy" he gives a touching portrayal of the kid from a good background gone wrong who pays the ultimate price for aspiring to the wild side of the law.

"The Roaring Twenties" is yet again another moralistic tale with a social conscience about prohibition era America. Cagney plays the returning dough boy who finds not a hero's welcome but rather doors being closed in his face. Out of desperation he resorts to boot legging with savage consequences.

Cagney's performance as Rocky Sullivan in "Angels with Dirty Faces" is a wonderful dichotomy of venom from a soft heart. Pat O' Brien's final exhortation to "pray for a boy who couldn't run as fast as I could" encapsulates the whole theme of the environmental determinism on the growing child. Cagney's final scene in the death chamber must rank amongst the silver screens finest moments.

Finally, in "White Heat" Cagney surely brings to the screen the most frightening human being ever in the guise of mother fixated, psychotic gangster Cody Jarret.This is a towering performance which evokes a real sense of fear as the audience empathises with everyone who crosses Cody's path. The final scene atop the blazing gas tanks is legendary as Cagney screams his final epitaph "Made it Ma, top of the world"

This collection represents wonderful entertainment from a true movie great. If you are not familiar with Cagney's work and believe he can be stereotyped as the one dimensional character who's best line is "you dirty rat", why not educate yourself and experience the depth and intensity of perfomance which was unique to-Jimmy Cagney
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Cagney - the ultimate tough guy, 22 Jun 2009
By 
B. M. Taylor - See all my reviews
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This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
James Cagney stars as the ultimate tough guy in these DVDs, each being an absolute classic film in its own right, and presented here as a superb boxed collection for total enjoyment. If you are a James Cagney fan, like classic films, or just feel nostalgic, this is a must have set. The themes may be set in a bygone era, but are more realistic historically compared to modern stuff, and the cast, acting, storylines, direction and production are as good as you can get.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four of Cagney's best = great value!, 18 Nov 2008
This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
This has my two favourite Cagney movies and is worth buying just for those two (White Heat,Roaring Twenties). Throw in the other two and it's a steal.

If you like Cagney, old noir, gangster movies in general of just like old films then this is a terrific purchase. It's a proper set as well, with each DVD in its own case and not some cheap fold out sleeve.

Excellent films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Boxset, 27 Aug 2011
By 
Brawny Withed (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
An excellent set of Gangster movies with the Legend that was James Cagney. The highlight of the set is 1949's `White Heat' a true classic fantastic acting, story and climatic ending `Top of the World Ma!'

The three other films `The Public Enemy', `The Roaring Twenties' and `Angel's with Dirty Faces' are very good also with supporting cast in two of latter films being Humphrey Bogart before he became a leading man in his own right a few years.

Along with each of the films are the Special Feature `Warner's Night at the Movies'' which is an option to watch the film with a short newsreel, a film short and also a Warner Brothers cartoon before the main feature as it would have been back in the 1930's cinemas. Also including a short introduction from Film Historian and Critic Leonard Maltin this is a very informative and interesting addition to this fine box set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who'd have thought shoving of a grapefruit into someones face, 4 Mar 2009
By 
This review is from: James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD] (DVD)
would make you a star.. but those were the times

Cagney is without doubt a star.. incredible charisma

All four films are fantastic.. to pick a favourite i'd say 'Roaring Twenties' just because of the strange mix of documentary and story

B&W with some extras.. well worth it.
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