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Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008)

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Narrator (voice)
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Sheri Chinen Biesen ...
Herself - Interviewee
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(archive footage)
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(archive footage)
John Bright ...
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Daniel Bubbeo ...
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...
(archive footage)
Drew Casper ...
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Bernard Dick ...
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Christopher Frayling ...
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Alan Gansberg ...
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Patricia King Hanson ...
Herself
Molly Haskell ...
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Plot Keywords:

1940s | 1920s | 1930s | mobster | arrest | See All (25) »

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Documentary

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Release Date:

21 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigos públicos. La edad dorada del cine de gángsters  »

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Connections

References The Guilty Generation (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Agitate in C Minor
(uncredited)
Music by Jack Shaindlin
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Interesting but perhaps a bit too far-reaching
18 January 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a documentary film about the so-called "Golden Age" for gangster films--the 1930s at Warner Brothers studio. Fortunately, the film makers were able to secure the rights to lots of film footage--in particular Turner Classic Movies' huge library of classic films. While I really enjoyed watching the old clips, there were two shortcomings to the film. First, there weren't that many new insights or behind the scenes information. I really wanted to learn more about the genre but felt this was of limited benefit. Second, at times, the documentary seemed to take on perhaps too much--looking at much older and newer gangster films as well. In particular, there were many important gangster films from the 1920s that were never mentioned and its discussion of Film Noir was so cursory you almost had the impression that this wasn't a very popular style or just a passing fad. I really wished the film had just stuck to the 1930s and perhaps 40s and then addressed these other things in subsequent films--or just made the documentary longer.

Still, for the average viewer, these concerns might not be a big issue. For a compulsive film watcher like myself (I have seen just about every film in the documentary), it probably isn't the most definitive look at the genre.


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