The Archivist #139: Keep the Change, Ya Filthy Animals

Known by many as the film spoofed in HOME ALONE, ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES hits Blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive

The Archivist — Welcome to the Archive. As home video formats have evolved over the years, a multitude of films have found themselves in danger of being forgotten forever due to their niche appeal. Thankfully, Warner Bros. established the Archive Collection, a Manufacture-On-Demand DVD operation devoted to thousands of idiosyncratic and ephemeral works of cinema. The Archive has expanded to include a streaming service, revivals of out-of-print DVDs, and factory pressed Blu-ray discs. Join us as we explore this treasure trove of cinematic discovery!

You may not have ever seen Angels with Dirty Faces, but I assure you that you’re familiar with Angels with Filthy Souls. The latter is a parody of the former that is played by Home Alone’s Kevin McAllister to fool the bumbling burglars of that film into running away from the home where he is staying by himself. The parody film includes the scene with one of the film’s most (in)famous line:

Keep the change, ya filthy animal!


The 1938 film noir that inspired the Home Alone spoof recently was released on Blu-ray on the Warner Archive. Starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, and numerous other greats of the genre, this gangster film is among the must-see Cagney performances. Pure melodrama, it’s one of the most classic examples of the noir gangster films. From the time of its release, it’s been heralded by critics and fans alike… and that hasn’t changed at all in modern times, as it retains classic status and is regular pointed to as an example of what these films are supposed to be.

The IMDB plot summary is short and to the point:

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

The standout performance here truly is Cagney, who is demonstrative, engaging, and displays such a star quality that his importance in cinema of yesteryear is undeniable. While it’s not anywhere near his only star performance, it may be among his best. He commands every scene he’s in and is impossible to take your eyes off of. His performance also goes a long way to help with the morality play of the story, demonstrating how the “cool” of being a criminal eventually runs out.

The Release

The Warner Archive collection Blu-ray features:

  • Brand new 1080p HD Master from 4K scan of original nitrate negative
  • Warner Night at the Movies featuring Introduction by Leonard Maltin
  • Boy Meets Girl theatrical trailer
  • Newsreel
  • WB Technicolor® musical short Out Where the Stars Begin
  • Classic WB Cartoon Pork & Daffy in HD
  • Feature commentary by Dana Polan
  • Making-of featurette “Whaddya Hear?, Whaddya Say?”
  • Lux Radio Theater broadcast (5/22/39) with Cagney & O’Brien
  • Original theatrical trailer in HD

The film looks and sounds better than ever and the extra features put the release over the top!

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