Warner Home Video’s 1080p transfer isn’t as luminous as some of its black-and-white classics on Blu-ray (e.g., Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre). There’s occasional edge-enhancement in facial profiles, and some shots are fuzzy. But black levels are deep, shadows have fine detail, fabrics have thick textures, cars and trucks have a convincingly metallic shine, the smoke from train engines is palpable, and (except for the occasional fuzziness and edge enhancement), there’s a nice, natural film grain throughout. All told, it’s a marked improvement over the standard-definition DVD, which wasn’t at all bad. The sound, though no stunner, is clearer and crisper, too. A featurette and audio commentary, featuring mainly film scholars, is mildly interesting but no more.
White Heat is available separately or as part of a five-disc box set, “Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics,” which also includes Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, The Petrified Forest, and a documentary, “Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film.” White Heat is the newest, most modern, and by far the best of the bunch.
Studio: Warner Bros., 1949
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0
Length: 113 mins.
MPAA Rating: None
Director: Raoul Walsh
Starring: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmund O’Brien