Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Alfred Hitchcock Box Set |
The Ring / The Manxman / Murder! / The Skin Game / Rich and Strange
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 09/09/2008
Hitch finds his "voice"
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 02/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First the good news--we get a solid transfers of early Hitchcock with some minor and major classics early in his career. Studio Canal has done a nice job with these and while the transfers aren't scratch free, they look quite good given the age of the source material and quite a bit better than some of the earlier releases of public domain sources. This boxed set (once you open it) looks like an old bound copy of a script. The outside has a photo of Hitch (which reminds me of a deathmask)from the Universal archive.
The first two films in the set "The Ring" and "The Manxman" were made the year after the success of "The Lodger" (which would been shelved when studio executives thought it a disaster. Luckily, Michael Balcon stepped in a man who championed Hitch early in his career and the film was a wild success). "Murder!" is an early talkie (sadly the German version isn't included. It would have been nice to see for comparison sake as it was shot with a different cast on the same sets). In the early days of film alternate versions were shot for other markets where they might be popular usually with a different director. Hitch spoke German since he worked early on in that country shooting films and absorbing much of the early German expressionist styles that he would reference throughout his career)so directed it himself. "The Skin Game" and "Rich and Strange" (the latter an early Hitchcock classic) are also included. A pity that "Blackmail" (Hitch's first talkie that was also shot to be shown as a silent film) isn't included as well.
The bad news is that we don't get any feature length commentary tracks by Hitchcock historians and film scholars (which is just as well if these things bore you). We do, however, get a new 15 minute featurette focusing on Hitchcock's early life, his collaboration with his wife Alma (who is often overlooked--we must remember that it was team Hitchcock collaborating which consisted of Hitch, his wife Alma and whomever their current favorite writer was)and the development of his early style. It features interviews with USC Hitchcock Professor Drew Casper, director Peter Bogdanovich, Hitch's daughter and screenwriter/film historian Steve Haberman. We have a generous amount of clips from the set illustrating their points. I do wish that "The Lodger" had been included in this set but that's a pretty minor point (although honestly it does belong here as an example of his developing sense of style). Also missing is Hitch's "Number 17" which would have been a natural to include in this set even though the plot is a bit confusing, it's a fun ride.
This is an excellent collection of early minor classics as Hitch developed his film style. It's clear that he was influenced by seeing other directors such as Fritz Lang and FW Murnau but he had already begun to develop his own distinctive voice as a film director. This is a good set to get and is a pretty inexpense handsome package for fans.
Early semi-classics RESTORED from 35mm.
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 02/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Throw out those Madacy & Laserlight DVD's! The U.K. Studio Canal 35mm Masters are here, professionally released with little artifacting by Lions Gate!
I would have given this DVD box set 5 stars except that 1) These are not Hitchcock classics, they are good examples of his early work but they are no Psycho, 2) While mastered from 35mm, they did not get the Criterion treatment of removing scratches & dirt specks. Still this is a great improvement over previous releases of these titles. I only wish "NUMBER 17" was in this set, that early classic deserves the Studio Canal treatment.
This set features a mix of silent films & early sound British films. There is also a nice 15 minute bonus on disc 3 that explains the difficulties of filming sound films in 1930 and how Hitchcock got around the problems.
Disc #1 : Two Silent Films
"THE RING" (1927) - Two boxers fall in love with a girl named Nellie. Very visual, early signs of Hitchcock's style.
"MANXMAN" (1929) - Hitchcock's last silent film! A Love story about two fishermen & a landlord's daughter.
Disc #2 : Two early sound films
"MURDER" (1930) - the 104 minute U.K. version, good suspence drama. A jurer re-thinks his verdict and investigates the crime himself.
"SKIN GAME" (1931) - Based on a John Galsworthy play, a little stagy. A traditional family battles a (then) modern family over land. Not as racey as the title would suggest.
Disc #3 : One more "talkie" and a bonus feature
"RICH AND STANGE" (1931) - Unexpected riches don't bring happiness for a married couple. A tale with a moral.
"THE HITCHCOCK WAY" (2007) - 15 minute documentary interviewing Alfred's daughter and surviving crew members as well as film historians. Of special interest is the explanation of how difficult it was to work in early sound films and how Hitchcock got around the problems in 1930."
Missing scene from MURDER!
Tony Williams | Carbondale, Il United States | 08/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this set a few weeks ago but was only able to view it over the weekend. The restoration of THE MANXMAN, THE RING and, especially THE SKIN GAME superb. However, I was astonished to find that the penultimate scene of MURDER! was missing since it is essential to the entire construction. It looks like the restorers did not have access to a good copy since it went into black frames occasionally and did not parallel the quality of certain VHS copies I've seen."
R. Heeringa | West Hollywood, CA United States | 02/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 5 films contained in this artfully crafted 3-disc set are really the best versions ever released on US home video. This collection contains the remastered versions from Studio Canal that look and sound incredible. While some say "not Hitchcock's best" these early films are of great interest to both collectors and fans and those interested in the master's early technique. The documentary, while brief, is insightful and well done. Highly recommended."