The Warner Bros. 100th Anniversary Celebration Releases Three Classics on 4K

A stylized logo reading "WB: Celebrating every story" superimposed over a blue "100"

In 2023, the Warner Bros. Studio turns a stately 100 years old. They are commencing in a year-long centennial celebration over in the realm of physical media. Several classics from their vast library are getting their first treatments in 4K UHD disc form. This month, The Maltese Falcon, Rebel Without a Cause, and Cool Hand Luke hit store shelves in flashy new editions. Film Obsessive was treated to preview copies of these three cherished classics for our “Off the Shelf” series. All three of these movies are available now on both store shelves and through digital download storefronts. 

Each film is presented in Ultra HD Blu-ray. Tuned to the highest level, UHD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before. To pull off the full experience at home, you’re going to need a 4K TV, an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and a high speed Category 2 HDMI cabling. As always, the equipment is worth the investment.

More often than not with WB’s 4K UHD releases, the menus become quite plain and the previously released special features from the DVD and Blu-ray versions are brought over to the new sets. The big question tends to be if they have been upscaled to the 4K UHD disc in the set or remain on the lesser Blu-ray. Luckily, we are happy to report that all of the special features on The Maltese Falcon, Rebel Without a Cause, and Cool Hand Luke, make the top disc. 

4K cover art for The Maltese Falcon
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


John Huston’s 1941 directorial debut remains as a pioneer cornerstone of the film noir genre. Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel, future Academy Award winner Humphrey Bogart stars as San Francisco private detective Sam Space involving himself in a twisty case of murder, international thieves, lies, and a titular jewel-encrusted statue that has been chased for centuries. Co-starring Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and Gladys George, The Maltese Falcon was nominated for three Academy Awards, was one of the first 25 films preserved by the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, and is frequently cited as one of the best Hollywood movies of all-time. 

On the disc, you’ll find a rich feature-length commentary by historian Eric Lax and the primary behind-the-scenes featurette “The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird.” Giving viewers a taste of the times from 1941, the disc also includes a “Warner Night at the Movies” prelude program consisting of the the trailers, newsreel, short film, and cartoon that ran before The Maltese Falcon. This film is one of the most rebroadcast films in history when it comes to radio theater and the disc carries three complete such broadcasts from 1943 and 1946 from the Lux Radio Theater, Screen Guild Theatre, and Academy Award Theater. Finally, a collection of various trailers finishes the menu. 

4K disc art for Rebel Without a Cause
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


Nicholas Ray’s 1955 film has long been celebrated as the breakout film of matinee idol James Dean. Rebel Without a Cause, even still almost 70 years later, is a watershed drama of teenage angst, energetic rage, and rebellion as it follows three high school students who break from their suburban families into youth violence and sexuality that permeated the post-World War II American hey-day. The vital coming-of-age movie was ranked at #59 on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 list.

The 4K UHD disc contains a commentary by Rebel expert Douglas L. Rathgeb which features many notes on Dean and the film’s daring inspiration to future generations. The edition also includes two featurettes– “Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents” and “Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot”– and the 1974 TV special “James Dean Remembered.” Lastly, Rebel Without a Cause includes rarely-seen screen tests, wardrobe tests, and a small handful of deleted scenes. 


4K Cover Art for Cool Hand Luke
Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


As a do-it-all movie star, Paul Newman was never greater than he was in Cool Hand Luke. The 1967 film directed by Stuart Rosenberg is one of the quintessential anti-authority movies of cinema history. Newman’s Luke Jackson is an inspirational, smart, and courageous prisoner in a chain gang who dares to make his time easier and even attempts an escape. Co-star George Kennedy would win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Luke’s biggest friend and supporter. Cool Hand Luke was nominated for three other Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. 

Of these three collected titles for this WB 100th Anniversary release, Cool Hand Luke has the thinnest special features. The largest contribution is a commentary track from historian Eric Lax. Other than that, there is a single trailer and one production featurette titled “A Natural-Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke.” It’s a shame, because this one deserved more extras and special treatment. 

Written by Don Shanahan

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing here on Film Obsessive as the Editor-in-Chief and Content Supervisor for the film department. He also writes for his own website, Every Movie Has a Lesson. Don is one of the hosts of the Cinephile Hissy Fit Podcast on the Ruminations Radio Network and sponsored by Film Obsessive. As a school teacher by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Indie Critics and a voting member of the nationally-recognized Critics Choice Association, Online Film Critics Society, North American Film Critics Association, International Film Society Critics Association, Internet Film Critics Society, Online Film and TV Association, and the Celebrity Movie Awards.

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