Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Alfred Hitchcock The Early Years|
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
12 DVD SET INCLUDES: — The Lady Vanishes ? The Secret Agent — The Man Who Knew Too Much — The Skin Game ? Jamaica Inn — Number 17/The Ring ? Murder! — Young & Innocent ? Rich & Strange — Sabotage/The Lodger — Blackmail/Easy Virtu... more »
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Some shaky early films, but some classic ones too in this im
A. Ross | New Zealand | 06/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Alfred Hitchcock Collection DVD box set contains some of the directors' earliest films, including rarities like NUMBER 17 (1932) and THE MANXMAN (1929), movies that while not always perfect, showed growing enthusiasm for the art of filmmaking and hinted at the talent of such a visionary director. THE LADY VANISHES (1938) is the best movie in this collection, displaying some kinetic camerawork and visual flair that would be used to great effect in later pictures like REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO. Made in 1936, THE SECRET AGENT was less experimental than earlier films and relied mostly on character actors like John Gielgud, Peter Lorre and Robert Young to give strong performances. The finale ten minutes is classic cinema, with a slow tracking shot with the camera on a large gimble, that went from the back of the dance hall right to the face of the suspected criminal mastermind, a shot taking 2 minutes of screen time that cost the studio a bundle, but its worth it, showing just how the mind of the young director worked.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934) was to be remade later to great effect in 1956 with James Stewart in the Leslie Banks role. The remake is superior in terms of fast-paced action, but the original is worth watching for some great character acting from Peter Lorre, and Arthur Benjamin's speedy musical score turns up the tension and excitement. THE SKIN GAME (1931) and JAMAICA INN (1939 Charles Laughton) don't quite match the witticism and art house fun of Hitch's later work, with some sub-standard direction on JAMAICA and a vaguely un-inspired plot with SKIN GAME. Still interesting for completists though and JAMAICA has a powerful performance from screen veteran Frederick Piper. NUMBER 17 is one of Hitch's better British movies, with some nifty camerawork and smooth editing which sharply throws into effect the master's unique talent for gripping story telling. Watch out for Henry Caine as Mr. Ackroyd, a scene-stealing character throughout the film.
Running at a meager 72 minutes, THE RING is a B&W silent movie made in 1927, which doesn't quite play like a classic, but still shows some bourgeoning talent. I'm fascinated by early sound films and by how some directors are stopped dead in their tracks by the new unwieldy technology. It's amazing that 1930 gave us such a fluid, masterful sound film as "ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT" and such a point-and-click snooze as "DRACULA" (filmed the same year). Hitch's MURDER! Falls somewhere between the two. He's really trying to avoid the camera-never-moves trap of earlier talkies, but it's obvious he's having a fight. For example, there's an interesting montage of the individual jurors' faces, but the momentum is destroyed by the distracting glue edits and audio clicks caused by the editing. In another jury scene, hiding the microphone must have been a task as a lot of the dialog is hard to hear. Honestly, an enhanced story would have helped a lot, but at least Hitchcock is trying to keep the film moving.
Adapted from Josephine Tey's book, YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1937) is possibly the first of Hitch's films to use revolutionary film techniques to give the story style and substance. Many people think of Hitchcock, and when many of them do, they think of 3 movies: Birds, Psycho and Rear Window. But RICH AND STRANGE (1931) is a fantastic slice of action cinema. This one particularly because it was Hitchcock's first use of a blonde in sound films. Many would follow. Hitchcock also made this film sort of autobiographical of himself. SABOTAGE, THE LODGER, BLAKMAIL, EASY VIRTUE and THE MANXMAN are all fantastic movies, and after watching all the selective films on DVD, you start to realize how exhaustive his resume really was. Highly recommended."
Some Early Signs of Genius
Randy Keehn | Williston, ND United States | 09/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alfred Hitchcock has always been one of my favorite directors and I'm sure that I'm not alone in saying that. As a teenager, I was always anxious to see his next movie and, although some disappointed me, most were well worth the wait. Over the years, after there were to be no more new Hitchcock releases, I started looking backwards to see the "new" movies. I knew that his early movies were probably not in the class of his later films otherwise I would have had the chance to see them as well. After all, most great movies eventually make it to the Late Show unless they're non-Chaplin silent movies or foreign language films. With this attitiude, I decided that I was willing to pay to see just what Hitchcock's early films were like and I ordered "Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years".
I will admit that I did not watch all of these movies over the course of a week a month or a year; I watched them over the period of two years. After the first one I saw ("Sabotage"), I realized that my apprehensions were correct and there wasn't going to be a dream sequence, shower scene, or an attack by a menagerie of birds. Whenever I felt in the mood, I would pick out another to watch. Some of the movies such as "The Skin Game", "The Ring", "Easy Virtue", "Rich and Strange", and "The Farmer's Wife", were either mediocre or passably interesting. However, there were some movies that made me realize that a true talent was emerging from obscurity. "Jamaica Inn" had a fairly entertaining plot that reminded me of the Japanese novel "Shipwrecked" that I had just recently read. "Number 17" showed great use of shadow and light with a suspenseful story and an above-average chase scene. "Murder" was an excellent movie for its' time and showed a lot of the early genius of Hitchcock. "The Lodger" is a good silent movie that has some memorable images. It falls short in some areas but is worth watching. The "entrance" of the lodger is a work of visual art. "Blackmail" is another excellent suspense film that has a real Hitchcock chase scene and a real Hitchcock twist at the end. The actual murder takes place behind a curtain but the limited images that the director gave us let us know exactly what was happening
Granted these movies lack the polish of a later-day Hitchcock but there are some that are really worth watching and made me satisfied that I bought this set."
Hitchcock fans will find interesting
J. Greenwood | Mpls, MN USA | 11/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hitchcock is the master of suspense... but even Hitchcock had to start somewhere. And that somewhere was very early in film's history. Hitchcock started in the silents and as film technology progressed so did his tools and skills as a director. From a historical prospective this will give the Hitchcock enthusiast a deep insight as to how it all began.
The DVDs tried to reproduce these very early films with quality but there are many flaws. I don't know if it's because of the original film master's conditions or poor conversions but video aspect is often off, cutting into the film. Sometimes it's title widths, sometimes it's head height. And there are brightness and contrast problems as well.
As previous mentioned elsewhere... no English subtitles, Spanish & Chinese! (As Gen. George Patton once stated: "England and America are two countries divided by a common language"), so some dialogue and references are not understandable.
Tony Curtis' commentaries add some historical data to the films. So, if you can put up with the above mentioned drawbacks there are some gems worth watching. However, buy the collection used for @ $30 bucks and save money."