Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic Collection (2013)

Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic CollectionMany of the reviews are for a different Hitchcock package. This set has only 3 films: Rebecca, Notorious, Spellbound. And these 3 blu-rays are already just out individually at Sams Club. They are identical, have the same extras, and are only $9.98 each: why is Amazon charging so much when you can get them for about #30 at Sams Club, and get them NOW?

I flipped out when I saw this recently in a store, and knew immediately that it would be going home with me. NINE old and hard to find Hitchcock movies for TEN bucks?? HELL YEAH!

I just got it so I can't say anything yet about the quality of the discs except that my first peek at "The Lady Vanishes" proved that the sound and overall picture quality could have been a lot better. But come on, for ten bucks, you get what you pay for, am I right? And as someone in no position to pay for the lovely but very pricey Hitchcock collections in all the fancy packaging, I was more than pleased to shell out ten dollars for this hidden jewel.

Did I mention that it costs ten dollars???

There are three discs total, each with three movies on it and a special feature. I will come back and edit this review with details as I take my time enjoying the product!


"Blackmail" (1929) -Hitch's first sound film, but still "silent" as in there are title cards in place of spoken dialogue. The "sound" is music and effects. It's about a young engaged woman who is blackmailed by an artist.

"The Lady Vanishes" (1938) -One of Hitch's best, hands down. Far superior to Jodie Foster's recent pretender "Flightplan". It's about a young woman who befriends an older woman on a European train, only to fall asleep and wake up to find the woman replaced by someone else, and everyone around her insisting that nothing has changed. She must prove that her friend is missing and hidden somewhere on the train. The film starts a bit slow but winds up becoming a fast-paced, very suspenseful ride that still retains a clever dash of comedy.

"Rich and Strange" (1932) -I've actually never seen or even heard of this one! I can't wait to see it. Here's the description from the back of the packaging: "Fredy and Emily, a young married couple, decide to take a cruise around the world after they come into a sizeable inheritance. While on the cruise both Emily and Fredy become romantically involved with the wrong people, and end up broke. Forced to journey home on a cargo boat, the couple sadly realizes that the worst is yet to come."

EXTRAS: Three original trailers for Hitchcock classics "Dial M for Murder", "Rear Window" and "To Catch a Thief". Whoever compiled these obviously has a thing for Grace Kelly. These are nice, but I just wish they had included trailers for movies that actually appear in this set. Oh well. Did I mention that it costs ten dollars?


"Sabotage" (1936) -"Karl Verlok leads a secret life as a paid terrorist, which has lead [SIC] undercover agent Ted Spencer to move in next door to Verlok and his wife Sylvia. Feeling that something's up, Verlok sends Sylvia's younger brother to deliver something for him, only the young man doesn't know he's delivering a time-bomb. Based on Joseph Conrad's novel 'The Secret Agent.'" I've never seen this one either, but it sure sounds good!

"Secret Agent" (1936) -"An ever-windeing tale of deception: Secret Agent revolves around British novelist Edgar Brodie and secret agent Elsa Carrington. Their search for a ruthless murderer takes them to Switzerland, through the Alps and a train to Greece. Will a surprise air attack bring an end to their search and their lives? Based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham."

"The 39 Steps" (1938) -Classic Hitchcock. One of many films he did that center around an unwitting person being drawn into a web of terror and suspense, and being the only one who can save the day. This is also based upon a novel, and it was one of Hitchcock's biggest early hits.

LATER EDIT: **The audio and picture quality on this movie are HORRIBLE. You will not be able to understand the dialogue in several sections, no matter how much you rewind, and the print is full of scratches. If this movie is one of the main reasons you buy the collection, just know that you WILL want to invest in a remastered copy, eventually.**

BONUS FEATURE: Rare radio appearance by Alfred Hitchcock! This feature is a radio broadcast that plays over a wonderful poster gallery of Hitchcock's film releases -including some international posters in German and French. If you're like me, you'll have to experience this extra at least twice! I spent the first time so enthralled by the posters that I forgot to listen to the broadcast! :-)


"Number 17" (1932) -I have another copy of this that my mom picked up in a dollar store, but I still haven't seen it! It's basically about a gang of jewel thieves pursued by Detective Gilbert, and involves a train sequence that preludes his future as a quinessential director of movies with pivotal scenes in trains. ;-)

"The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934) -Hitch later remade this in the 50s with Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart. I didn't think the remake was one of his better films. But this is the original, and I can't wait to see it! One of the couple's friends is murdered, and before he dies, he whispers a vital clue to them that they must then solve, before it's too late!

"The Lodger" (1926) -"Quiet and secretive Jonathan Drew has just rented a room in a London boarding house. Coincidentally, his arrival overlaps with the brutal murders orchestrated by Jack the Ripper. The Lodger is the first movie to be designated as a true 'Hitchcock picture'. A gem for collectors."

**This was recently remade with Alfred Molina, Simon Baker and Hope Davis. Judging by the trailer, it's going to BLOW!**

BONUS FEATURE: "About Hitchcock"

One *major* drawback is that NONE of these discs have subtitles of any kind, not even English for the hearing impaired. So don't buy this present for a deaf friend, and if you have a deaf friend who is upset that they can't enjoy the movies with you, just write them a note explaining that it only cost you ten dollars.

Overall, however, this ENTIRE PACKAGE is "A gem for collectors"!! The big expensive Hitchcock collections have his better known and later films, which are all available individually as well. This one has early stuff only, most of which I personally have never seen anywhere else. If you're as die-hard a fan as I am, you'll want this in your collection even if you CAN afford the higher-end stuff. The only thing that would make it better would have been more trailers, more extras, and a booklet of some kind. Instead, all you get is the discs themselves. But the crazy thing is that I would have gladly paid $30 for this set, as is. And instead I got it for ten.


Don't let this bargain pass you by!!

Buy Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic Collection (2013) Now

For VHS nostalgists, and those intimidated by the pricey Criterion boxed set that has replaced this (adding "The Lady Vanishes" and "The Thirty-Nine Steps" and subtracting "The Paradine Case"), this set is a prize to be sought out. Anchor Bay put out a good number of clamshell-cased classics in the suspense and horror genres (including letterboxed Argento titles and "Halloween") and they also did right by these Forties Hitchcock thrillers. Of course, these are the films Hitchcock made under the prying eyes of Selznick, and the relationship was sufficiently difficult that Hitch occasionally drifted away from the post-production, allowing Selznick to lave on extra dollops of music and occasionally even reshoot a smidgeon here and there. "Notorious" is the only one here free of Selznick's taint, but that is in large part because it is the only one of these projects to so completely fire Hithcock's imagination that he considered it absolutely vital to maintain his full vision. Regarded as a highwater mark by everyone from Truffaut to Ebert (and Hitchcock himself), its greatness is so pure and consuming as to reduce even these other terrific films almost to the status of filler. But let us not write them off. Though they are not the same Minerva-born products of Hitchcock's genius as "Notorious" and the Fifties-era masterworks, Selznick was not without his visionary qualities and the Gothic richness of their confections (Hitchcock's ingredients certainly preponderant) make for superb, intoxicating entertainment. Truffaut rightly hailed the 'very modern' qualities of "Rebecca" (the intercutting feels completely contemporary, the forward momentum of the camera through the enormous interiors clearly influenced Kubrick's "The Shining", and the opening sequence is as luminously fluid as any feverish dream of Cuaron). Joan Fontaine is far sexier here than in "Suspicion" (the original "New York Times" review memorably noted "Miss Fontaine has the most expressive spine--and shoulders!--we've bothered to notice this season"), and George Barnes' camerawork is similarly sinuous and expressive. The film's obsessional perversities, like those in "The Paradine Case", come through quite nicely. Alida Valli is the subject of some prime iconic shots in "The Paradine Case" (though the screenplay from Selznick's own hand is a bit disjointed, the camera-choreography clearly kept Hitchcock awake). "Spellbound", the one Hitchcock considered least successful of this bunch, was an enormous hit, and though Miklos Rozsa's sensational score may have been too much for what Hitch regarded as the requirements of the piece, it remains a landmark movie score and will certainly seduce the viewer. Bergman's Dr. Constance Peterson is one-dimensional compared to Alicia in "Notorious" but beguiling nonetheless, and watching the somewhat wan Gregory Peck fume at her mothering attentions provides comic counterpoint to its delirious bouts of pop-Freudian obsession and nightmare. This boxed set comprises a glorious waking dream in luminous black & white, a gorgeous riot of eroticism, fixation, ambiguity, terror, menace and romance rich and seductive enough to keep your nights filled through a long holiday week, and as soon as I have enough nights free I'll be "renting" my brother's set off him and subjecting my girlfriend to the whole lot. Grab it up if you can.

Read Best Reviews of Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic Collection (2013) Here

Surfing through Amazon, repetively and quite tediously, I see the awe-inspiring Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection. Now as a cheap college student who loves movies, I don't exactly have the cash for that kind of dedication. Perhaps later.

However, I came across this treasure. A nice collection of various early Hitchcock movies, along with some radio appearances.

I received the DVD collection for about $6. Wow! I've never gotten 3 discs for $6. In any caes, when I played some of the movies just to check, the quality isn't exactly top-knotch. But what do you expect from 6 bucks? At least it feels like I'm in the 1940s again, right? Overall, a great buy.

Want Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic Collection (2013) Discount?

This collection was a major disappointment. These three wonderful movies are the old digital images created for DVD. If you already have the DVDs, there is no point in buying this collection. The Blu-Ray transfer was not done new. The images are grainy and the contrast is flat.

My expectation for a Blu-Ray transfer of a classic film is that it will be state of the art, with clear, clean images and contrast that pops. None of these three films meet that criteria. Save your money. Perhaps Criterion will offer them in Blu-Ray later.

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