New on DVD: The Warner Bros. ‘Tough Guys’ Collection

Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart in Bullets or Ballots.Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Everett Collection/Courtesy of Carl Samrock Public Relations Inc.

Masters of Horror: Homecoming
Zombies return from the dead—to vote a Bush-like politician out of office in Joe Dante’s brilliant agitprop horror flick. NR; $16.98.

Basic Instinct 2
No, it’s still not bad in a funny way. R or NR; each $26.96.

Maggie Cheung, brittle as an eggshell, plays the widow of a drug-addicted rocker. R; $24.99.

The preposterously maudlin feel-good film about a South African kidnapper. R; $29.99.

We generally think of the seventies as the glory days of macho New York acting, but long before then, Warner Bros. built its studio on three of the toughest New Yorkers ever to punch a guy on the silver screen. Through the worst of the Depression, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart did terrible things in films like the six making their DVD debuts in the Warner Bros. “Tough Guys” collection (Bullets or Ballots, Each Dawn I Die, G Men, San Quentin, A Slight Case of Murder, and City for Conquest). Only City for Conquest is a dud—although 1936’s Bullets or Ballots is an unexpected thrill, in which the fading Robinson plays an incorruptible cop and practically passes the torch to the man playing his nemesis in the film: the young, hungry Bogart. No wonder Bogie, an Upper West Sider, would later growl in Warner’s Casablanca, “There are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

New on DVD: The Warner Bros. ‘Tough Guys’ Collection