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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: March 25th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 1941

The Best of Bogart Collection

Overview -

Set includes four films (The Maltese Falcon / Casablanca / The Treasure of Sierra Madre / The African Queen).

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/VC-1 (<i><b>Casablanca</i></b> is 1080p/MPEG-4)
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
<b><i>The African Queen</b></i>: English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese Mono
<b><i>The African Queen</b></i>: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese
Special Features:
<b><i>The African Queen</b></i>: Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen
Release Date:
March 25th, 2014

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take



For the Humphrey Bogart lover, 'The Best of Bogart Collection' is the stuff that dreams are made of – assuming, of course, that you don't already own one or more of the collected movies, as these four Blu-rays are identical to the movie discs of their separate individual releases.

This set brings together four of Humphrey Bogart's (and three of director John Huston's) greatest films: 'The Maltese Falcon', 'Casablanca', 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre', and 'The African Queen'. Not only do they represent Bogart's best work, but each and every one of them are '5-star' films that easily fall onto almost any list of the greatest movies of all time.

The Maltese Falcon

"If you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere."

As a Bogart lover, I often go back and forth between 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'Casablanca' as to which film of his I love the most. While, all things considered, 'Casablanca' probably has the more engaging story, I just love the dialogue in 'The Maltese Falcon', as well as the complexity of its plot. Could a movie with so many twists and turns be made today? Probably not. Hollywood would feel the need to 'dumb it down' for the audience. Thankfully, the movie was made back in the day where much of a story had to be told via dialogue (thanks to the limitations of both budget and filmmaking itself), and here's an example of it working at its best – there's tons of stuff going on in the movie, but we learn of almost all of it through conversations between the characters.

'The Maltese Falcon' is credited by many as the first 'film noir' movie, which would launch a whole generation of films (several of which Bogart would star in) of private detectives (or similar professions) in shady surroundings involved in a sinister plot. Even considering all the movies of the genre that would follow, you still won't find a better flick than this.

(For a more detailed look at this movie, read our complete review of The Maltese Falcon.)


"I stick my neck out for nobody."

If you ask someone to name their favorite movie, you'll probably get a wealth of different replies. However, if you ask someone to name their ten favorite movies, 'Casablanca' is going to be mentioned more times than not. It's a remarkably entertaining film that has a timeless quality to it that hasn't made it seem antiquated over the years. It also helps that it has an ending that is quite open-ended for a movie of its (or, honestly, any other) era. We are left without any firm resolution of the fates of the primary characters.

Once again, Bogart plays a character with some moral ambiguity. At least that's what we think at first. What sets Rick Blaine apart from Bogie's other leading men is that, in the end, Rick is perhaps more moral and selfless than any other character Bogart ever portrayed on screen. That's just one of the many reasons why 'Casablanca' is instantly associated with the actor and vice versa. It's debatable whether Rick Blaine was Bogart's best performance, but it's hard to argue that 'Casablanca' is his best film.

(For a more detailed look at this movie, read our complete review of Casablanca.)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

"Nobody puts one over on Fred C. Dobbs."

Of all of Humphrey Bogart's leading men, perhaps none are more downright evil than the one he plays in 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'. He's blinded by his obsession for gold, and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. That, of course, leads to one of Bogart's most interesting performances of his career, as it's still hard as a viewer not to connect with Dobbs, although that connection has more to do with the actor playing him than the character himself.

'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' came at a time in Bogart's career where he started to make some more interesting choices with his lead characters. No doubt tired of playing the leading man hero, Fred C. Dobbs gave Bogart the chance to explore other areas and ranges of his talent, and he's fun to watch here, even if Dobbs is far from likeable.

(For a more detailed look at this movie, read our complete review of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.)

The African Queen

"Never say die. That's my motto."

With all his impressive performances in great films, Humphrey Bogart only won one Academy Award in his career, and it was for 'The African Queen'. At first glance, there's nothing particularly complex about the film's plot. In fact, the movie consists of little more than a missionary (Katharine Hepburn) and an aging riverboat captain (Bogart) sailing down an African river during World War I, and is almost simplistic when compared to the complex storylines of many of Bogie's other films. However, it's the performances here – and particularly the onscreen chemistry between the two leads – that makes 'The African Queen' worth watching.

While it's not Bogart's best performance, it's hard to argue his Best Actor win -- if only as a nod toward all those great roles he had before 'The African Queen' that he never got recognition for.

(For a more detailed look at this movie, read our complete review of The African Queen.)


I'm a huge Bogart fan. For my money, he's one of the few 'classic' actors whose work translates almost seamlessly to a modern audience. You can watch a movie he starred in during the 1940s and his naturalistic style of acting will make you think it was shot only a few years back. His 'everyman' quality is probably a huge reason why he remains as popular today as he was during his career. This Warners release is a great 'starter' kit for those not familiar with Bogart's work, and a great collector's set for those of us who have admired him throughout the years.

The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats

'The Best of the Bogart Collection' arrives on Blu-ray in a standard size Elite keepcase, with hubs on the inside left and right capable of holding two Blu-ray discs (one right over the top of the other). 'The Maltese Falcon' is packaged overtop 'Casablanca' on the inside left, while 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' sits atop 'The African Queen' on the inside right. The keepcase slides inside an attractive heavy cardboard holder with front artwork that matches the front artwork of the keepcase slick. Also inside the holder is an envelope which contains four mini-poster productions of the four films contained in this set. They measure almost exactly the same size as the Blu-ray keepcase in height and width. Not much in terms of an exclusive, but still a nice addition. The quality of the paper these are printed on is less than sturdy (thin and non-glossy), so buyers will want to be careful not to accidently rip or bend them when taking them in and out of the envelope/packaging. None of the four Blu-rays is front-loaded with any trailers or promotions.

Video Review


There's little doubt that the best looking of the four titles in this release is 'Casablanca', as it went through a brand-new 4k remastering for its 70th anniversary release in 2012 (despite having gone through a pretty extensive and quality remaster in 2003). It's hard to think the movie could look much better than its current rendering, with deep black levels, a wonderful level of clarity and detail, and a fine layer of grain that maintains the look of film in the digital format.

'The African Queen' is the second-best looking film on this set, as it was also treated to a 4k remaster back in 2010. It's also the only color film here, and provides a rich and warm-looking picture whose only real fault is that it's almost too detailed – making many of the movie's process shots more obvious than they've been in any prior release.

Both 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' transfers come from earlier 2k restorations of the movies, and while neither may look as pristine as the other two films in this set, they still look remarkably great. 'The Maltese Falcon' is the oldest movie in this set, and its age shows as there's still a hint here and there of defects in the print, including some missing frames (you'll see the characters abruptly 'jump' for a second) in the final sequence of the movie. 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' fares much better, with a print of the film that's still in excellent shape, with nicely deep black levels and details.

However, any complaints about any of the above films are really just splitting hairs. These four movies look fantastic in HD considering their age, and their video quality ranks among the best you'll find on Blu-ray for movies from this era.

Please refer to HDD's original reviews (linked to in "The Movie Itself" section above) to find more detailed video reviews of these four movies.

Audio Review


You'll find no attempt to provide new stereo tracks for any of the movies on this set. They've all been remastered in DTS-HD Master Audio lossless mono, and they all pretty much sound wonderful. There's a slight hiss to 'The Maltese Falcon' that sharp ears might be able to pick up on, making it the weakest of the four film's tracks. 'Casablanca', on the other hand, sounds great for a movie released just one year after 'The Maltese Falcon', with no evidence of hissing, popping, or other audio glitches to be found.

Both 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' and 'The African Queen' come across as crisp and clear for their ages, with no real noticeable issues of hissing, popping, dropouts, or other problems that are frequently associated with HD releases of older films. Considering its setting, 'The African Queen' does a pretty good job of capturing all the sounds of its environment (yes, much of the movie was actually shot in Africa), despite the limitations of a mono track.

Please refer to HDD's original reviews (linked to in "The Movie Itself" section above) to find more detailed audio reviews of these four movies.

Special Features


The Maltese Falcon

  • Warner Night at the Movies (SD, 38 min.) – One of the cooler designed bonuses I have seen on any Blu-ray release, this option allows viewers to witness what it might have been like to sit in a theater in 1941 to watch 'The Maltese Falcon'. It starts off with a trailer for 'Sergeant York'
    , followed by a Newsreel of the day, a musical number titled 'The Gay Parisian', then two cartoons: 'Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt' (featuring Bugs Bunny) and 'Meet John Doughboy' (this final cartoon is actually rendered in HD, although still at the 4:3 aspect ratio). 'The Maltese Falcon' then plays immediately following this.
  • Commentary by Eric Lax – Eric Lax is an American biographer best known for his books on Woody Allen. He also wrote a bio of Bogart, and in this feature-length commentary, he passes along his knowledge of both the man and the film. This is an excellent commentary track, with lots of inside information for Bogart enthusiasts.
  • The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird (SD, 32 min.) – A featurette on the history of the movie, with comments from Peter Bogdanovich, James Cromwell, and Julie Rivett – who is the granddaughter of author Dashiell Hammett.
  • Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart (SD, 45 min.) – This presentation was originally created for the Turner Classic Movies cable channel, and features Robert Osborne examining how studios used their trailers to promote and establish a movie star image for Bogart.
  • Breakdowns of 1941 (SD, 13 min.) – A pretty entertaining blooper reel featuring some of Warners' actors flubbing their lines (and swearing, no less!) in a number of 1941 films.
  • Makeup Tests (SD, 1 min.) – A quick look at Mary Astor's makeup tests for 'The Maltese Falcon'.
  • Audio Vault (Audio only, 115 min.) – A collection of three radio programs from the 1940s. The first is a February 8, 1943 Lux Radio broadcast of 'The Maltese Falcon' (58 min.), with Edward G. Robinson playing Sam Spade. The second is a September 20, 1943 Screen Guild Theater broadcast of 'The Maltese Falcon' (29 min.), with Bogart, Astor, Lorre, and Greenstreet all reprising their roles. Finally, there's a July 3, 1946 Academy Award Theater broadcast of 'The Maltese Falcon' (27 ½ min.) with Bogart, Astor, and Greenstreet.
  • Trailers (SD, 5 min.) – Trailers for 'Satan Met a Lady' (2 ½ min.) and 'The Maltese Falcon' (2 ½ min.).


  • Introduction by Lauren Bacall (SD, 2 min.) – Bacall, of course, wasn't involved in 'Casablanca' at all, but she did co-star with him in four other movies and, of course, was his wife (Bogart's fourth marriage, Bacall's first) up until the time of his death. This is a pretty standard intro, but worth checking out.
  • Commentary by Roger Ebert – The crown jewel of the bonus materials on this disc, this Ebert commentary was originally recorded for a 2003 special edition DVD release of the film. It's perhaps the best commentary track you'll find out there, with the possible exception of the one Roger recorded for Citizen Kane. It's a must-listen for any movie fan.
  • Commentary by Rudy Behlmer – While Ebert's commentary is more engaging and entertaining, Behlmer's is more informative – passing along a wealth of information about the movie that really shows off his vast knowledge of the film. My biggest problem with this commentary is that it's obviously read from prepared text, rather than spontaneous (like Ebert's). For all we know here, Behlmer could (and possibly is) just reading passages from books and articles he's written about 'Casablanca'. So this commentary is very informative, but rather dry in terms of entertainment.
  • Warner Night at the Movies (SD, 50 ½ min.) – Just like 'The Maltese Falcon' disc, Warners provides another bonus feature on 'Casablanca' that gives viewers an idea of what it might be like to see the film in theaters in the 1940s. This collection starts off with a trailer for 'Now, Voyager' (2 min.), followed by a Newsreel (4 ½ min.) from the period. This is followed by the short film 'Vaudeville Days' (20 min.), and then the color cartoons 'The Bird Came C.O.D.' (8 min.), 'The Squawkin' Hawk' (7 min.), and 'The Dover Boys at Pimento University' (9 min.) (this final cartoon is rendered in HD). If you view these using the 'watch all' option, 'Casablanca' will begin playing after the last cartoon.
  • Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (SD, 83 ½ min.) – This documentary is hosted by Lauren Bacall and examines both the films and personal life of Bogart. It's a pretty informative overview of Bogart's career.
  • Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You've Never Heard Of (HD, 37 min.) – A featurette on the director of 'Casablanca', who also helmed such hits as The Adventures of Robin Hood and White Christmas.
  • 'Casablanca': An Unlikely Classic (HD, 35 min.) – This featurette has modern day notables, including the likes of Steven Spielberg, opine on the reasons 'Casablanca' became such a beloved classic.
  • You Must Remember This: A Tribute to 'Casablanca' (SD, 34 ½ min.) – Narrated by Lauren Bacall, this 1998 featurette is yet another look at both the making and enduring popularity of 'Casablanca'.
  • As Time Goes By: The Children Remember (SD, 7 min.) – Humphrey Bogart's son, Stephen, and Ingrid Bergman's daughter, Pia Lindström, discuss their famous parents.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 1 ½ min.) – Deleted footage from the shooting of 'Casablanca', which sadly is sans any audio.
  • Outtakes (SD, 5 min.) – Additional outtakes from the shooting of 'Casablanca', once again without any audio.
  • Who Holds Tomorrow? (SD, 18 ½ min.) – A 1955 television show from Warner Bros. that takes the sets and characters of 'Casablanca' (with different actors) and tells a new story set during the Cold War. And you thought only modern Hollywood was interested in rebooting their popular films.
  • Carrotblanca (SD, 8 min.) – The 1995 Bugs Bunny cartoon that spoofs 'Casablanca'. It's become somewhat of a classic itself over the years.
  • Audio (74 ½ min.) – This audio-only section of the bonus materials begins with Scoring Stage Sessions (15 ½ min.) which features alternate recordings of the songs 'Knock on Wood' and 'As Time Goes By', the movie version of 'As Time Goes By', and music from when Rick sees Ilsa in the movie, and another part of both the alternate and film versions of 'As Time Goes By'. The next option is for an April 26, 1943 presentation of Esther Screen Guild Theater (29 ½ min.). This is radio play version of 'Casablanca' with original cast members Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid. Finally, there's a November 19, 1947 Vox Pop radio broadcast (29 ½ min.) featuring 'Casablanca' director Michael Curtiz.
  • Trailers (SD, 5 min.) – Both the theatrical (2 min.) and the 50th anniversary re-release (3 min.) trailers for 'Casablanca'.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  • Warner Night at the Movies (SD, 29 min.) – Once again, this disc provides a glimpse of what it might be like to see 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' in a movie theater of the 1940s. This time, however, the bonuses start off with a short introduction by Leonard Matlin (4 min.) who gives viewers some background about each of the clips they are about to watch. Then, things get underway with a trailer for 'Key Largo'(2 ½ min.), followed by a Newsreel (5 min.) of the day. Next is the cartoon 'Hot Cross Bunny' (7 min.) featuring Bugs Bunny, and finally a short film titled 'So You Want to be a Detective' (11 min.).
  • Commentary by Eric Lax – Like he did with 'The Maltese Falcon', Lax provides another super-informative but less-than-engaging commentary track for 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'. It's still worth a listen, due to the vast amount of knowledge Lax provides on the movie and its background.
  • John Huston: The Man, The Movies, The Maverick (SD, 128 min.) – A feature-length 1988 documentary on Huston, hosted by Robert Mitchum, and featuring comments from the likes of Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman, Michael Caine, and – of course – Huston's daughter, Angelica.
  • Discovering Treasure: The Story of 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' (SD, 50 min.) – A 2003 documentary on the making of the movie. This one is narrated by John Milius, and features such notables as Martin Scorsese, Leonard Maltin, and Robert Osborne.
  • 8 Ball Bunny (SD, 7 min.) – A bonus cartoon with Bugs. This one is appropriate here, as it features a cameo of an animated Bogart in his outfit from 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'.
  • Lux Radio Theater Broadcast (60 min.) – An April 18, 1949 radio drama broadcast of 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre', with Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston.
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 3 min.) – The original trailer for 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'.

The African Queen

  • Embracing Chaos: Making 'The African Queen' (HD, 59 min.) – The only bonus feature on 'The African Queen' disc is this nearly hour-long documentary on the making of the movie, and all the problems that came along with it. Produced in 2010, it features comments from Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Meyer, and Richard Schickel, among others.

You'd be hard-pressed to find another movie collection on Blu-ray with four greater films than the titles you get here. Additionally, three of the four (with 'The African Queen' being the only notable exception, although it does contain an informative documentary) are so jam-packed with extras that it will take the average viewer days to get through all the provided materials. While there's nothing new here in terms of content, if you don't already own the individual releases of these titles this is a must-own set for anyone's collection. Highly recommended!