Scared Silly and Lovin It......A Terrific Selection
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 05/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to "The Best of Hitchcock Collection - Volume 1" DVD set by Universal...
Overall, you will find this to be a terrific selection of seven of Hitch's films that really take in the scope of his talents.
You'll find in these films his masterful way of incorporating suspense,the macabre, romance, horror, mystery and his wonderful wit. His distinctive camera work, the famous staircase scenes, the use of shadows and light,the wonderful stars, all the great trademarks are here in this collection.
So...You may never want to take a shower(alone) again as Norman Bates and "mom" go on a psychotic killing spree in "Psycho", the mother of all fright flicks! It also stars Janet Leigh and Vera Miles.
You'll be rooting on poor wheelchair bound Jimmy Stewart as he and Grace Kelly try to prove the neighbor is a murderer in "Rear Window". The suspense is wonderful, and so is the romance!. It also stars the best character actress ever to grace the screen, Thelma Ritter and the great Raymond Burr.
Hitch will have your heart in your throat as America's sweetheart Teresa Wright may be the next victim of a serial killer in "Shadow of a Doubt". Does she know that it is her own uncle! Yikes! Joseph Cotton will have you on the edge of your seat!..Also look for the very notable and young Hume Cronyn.
Two school chums with nothing better to do, decide to do away with a friend just for the heck of it. Jimmy Stewart sleuths again in this innovatively filmed mystery "Rope". John Dall and Farley Granger are excellent and we are treated to an appearance by Sir Cedric Hardwicke as well.
A masterpiece is reworked an updated by Hitch, the result another masterpiece! "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is a magnificent remake of his earlier work. It stars Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart as parents desperate to get their child back from kidnappers but must also prevent an assassination. Whew, who else could handle that? Doris sings her beautiful rendition of "Que Sera".
"Topaz" presents lots of intrigue during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's spy vs. spy stuff as only Hitch can do it. You won't want to miss a second of this thrilling adventure. It stars John Forsythe, Fredrick Stafford and Phillipe Noiret.
In his last film Hitch combines everything that is Hitch. Humor, mystery, intrigue and suspense. It's all here in "Family Plot". A delightful film starring Barabra Harris and Bruce Dern as a scheming couple who get caught up in more than they bargained for. Karen Black and William Devane also add their talents to this one.
And finally four definitive episodes of his TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".Each includes his intros into the show, which are always fun. The transfers of these old programs are incredible and you'll find a host of great stars including Vera Miles, Ralph Meeker, Joseph Cotten and Meg Mundy.
Looking for Hitch:
"Psycho"..You don't have to wait too long, Check outside the realty office.
"Rear Window"..At the neighbors of course.. about :30 minutes in...he's got time on his hands.
"Shadow of a Doubt".. Take a ride to Santa Rosa, and play some cards with Hitch,,but be careful he's got a great hand!
"Rope".. it must be a sign..look out the window!
"The Man Who Knew Too Much".. taking in the sights in Morocco. Be careful Hitch!... there's going to be a murder!
"Topaz"..Check at the airport..could that be the wheelchair from "Rear Window"?
"Family Plot"..You know THAT Profile about :45 minutes in at the registrar's office.
Have fun looking for him!
Universal has made beautiful transfers of these classic and cherished works. The black and whites(Psycho and Shadow of a Doubt) are crisp, sharp images. The colors are brillant, and all are in the original widescreen(except Shadow of a Doubt and Rope, which were made in full frame. The extras will keep you very busy(see tech info for list). I thought the price though, was a little high considering that ALL of these DVD's were produced in 2.0 MONO! If "Vertigo" from 1958 can be remastered in the Dolby Digital 5.1 why can't these? This is my only reason for the four stars.( I like to review the entire package) If you're like me and you love Hitch, you'll still love this collection and just hope for better sound restoration on future issues. The musical scores alone deserve at least stereo.
All in all a terrific addition to any Hitchcock fan's collection....enjoy...Laurie"
A Fine DVD Collection of Hitchcock Films
gobirds2 | New England | 04/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alfred Hitchcock was a brilliant and innovative filmmaker as this collection can attest to. 1943's SHADOW OF A DOUBT is an allegorical study of Americana seen through the naivete of a typical family in a quiet and slumberous community. When evil comes to town in the embodiment of the beloved Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) it is the perceptive niece Young Charlie (Teresa Wright) that slowly uncovers his true identity as the Merry Widow murderer. Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn spend their evenings concocting ways to commit the perfect murder unknowingly under the watchful eyes of the genuine article. Evil takes many shapes and hides behind many facades in broad daylight. Would the wholesome average American community recognize such evil and be willing to deal with it? Dimitri Tiomkin, composed a brilliant score utilizing American idioms laced with the darkness of the tainted soul. This remains one of Hitchcock's best films. It works, as a thriller yet remains a true reflection of a good-natured but generally complacent lifestyle of sleepy suburbia America during the 1940's. 1948's ROPE is a thoroughly enthralling and disturbing look at a thrill killing perpetrated by two prep-school chums (John Dall and Farley Granger) possibly suggested subconsciously by their unwitting professor (James Stewart). This film has often been characterized notably only as Hitchcock's great experiment. He shot it in ten-minute takes contrary to his stylistic use of effective story telling through editing. This was a technique that he also employed to a lesser degree by Hitchcock in 1949's UNDER CAPRICORN. However, ROPE is first and foremost a riveting tale bordering on the perverse. The DVD transfer of ROPE is one of the best I have ever seen. 1954's REAR WINDOW is a brilliant study on voyeurism and insatiable curiosity. Wheelchair bound James Stewart spies on his neighbors in the courtyard from the window of his Greenwich Village apartment. Convinced that he has uncovered a murder, Stewart maintains his vigil with his society girlfriend (Grace Kelly) by his side. Hitchcock asks the viewer about the ethics of interpreting what goes on behind the closed doors of our neighbors, as his courtyard is an allegorical cross section of American society and mores during the 50s. 1956'S THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is another good DVD transfer and is Hitchcock's effective remake of his 1934 version. An American couple (James Stewart and Doris Day) visiting Morocco have their young son kidnapped as part of an international murder plot which they can not help but be drawn into. Doris Day's performance is brilliant as the mother whose son has been taken from her. Her initial reaction to the news is almost unbearable to watch. This film is very suspenseful and disturbing, as the odds against the family regaining their boy seem insurmountable as the film progresses. This is reinforced by Bernard Herrmann's almost minimal score, which adds an undercurrent of discomfort to the psyche of the viewer. There are some very memorable scenes such as when James Stewart is followed by echoing footsteps in the empty London streets on his way to finding Ambrose Chappell. The suspenseful Albert Hall assassination scenes are brilliantly filmed and edited. The face of Reggie Nalder as Rien the Assassin is unforgettable. Brenda de Banzie turns in a complex performance as Mrs. Drayton. Bernard Miles as Mr. Drayton also gives an effective performance through the various identities he goes through. And that is one of the strengths of this film: people and places are not exactly as they seem. Characters constantly evolve. Some grow in strength while others are mere shadows of virtue. 1960'S PSYCHO is probably Hitchcock's best known film. Its images and sounds are indelibly etched into the psyche of our culture. Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the Bates Motel, Bernard Herrmann's score, Saul Bass' main title designs, the shower scene and many other elements are cinematic icons. One element of this film that has not been given due recognition is Martin Balsam's performance as Milton Arbogast the private investigator. Balsam embodied the personification of professionalism and determination yet he was cut off in mid stream. I think there is a statement being made about the very nature of justice and fate and that life is not always fair. 1969's TOPAZ was Hitchock's second return in that decade to his earlier spy thriller films. Shot directly after 1966's TORN CURTAIN Hitchcock TOPAZ is a more matter-of-fact tale than a genuine thriller where real lives were at stake. Essentially an American intelligence head (John Forsythe) uses his friend in the French Intelligence (Frederick Stafford) to spy for the United States in Cuba and at the same time they try to ferret out a high French official passing on secrets to the Soviets. Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois has the best scenes in the film as he has to get close to the Cubans visiting New York to photograph some secret papers from a high official (John Vernon as Rico Parra). These scenes were what Hitchcock called pure cinema. TOPAZ contains an interesting score by Parisian Maurice Jarre and the DVD contains the 3 alternate endings that Hitchcock filmed. 1976's FAMILY PLOT was Hitchcock's final film. In an interview with François Truffaut, Hitchcock stated that in today's films you no longer had to close the picture with a kiss. The audience no longer needed it or expected it. The romanticism of the motion picture was dead. If not for the performances of Barbara Harris as a phony psychic and Bruce Dern as her taxi driving-detective-boyfriend this film would have indeed lacked any hint of romanticism. In a complex plot that involves the location of a missing heir the lives of Harris and Dern become intertwined with the villains of the piece (William Devane and Karen Black). Ultimately the film seems more akin to ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS than to Hitchcock's previous films. And there's nothing wrong with that DVD either."
Discover Why Today's Filmmakers Worship His Work
carol irvin | United States | 04/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Shadow of a Doubt", "Psycho" and "Rear Window" are the A+ movies in this boxed set. My absolute favorite is "Shadow of A Doubt," about Uncle Charlie who comes to stay with his sister and her family to hide out from being hunted as the serial Merry Widow killer. Joseph Cotton plays Uncle Charlie with all of the charm, grace and elegance which came naturally to him as a member of Virgina's upper class in real life. Yet the sinister undercurrent of his personality is quietly apparent throughout. "Psycho" is the film Hitchcock is now most identified with as was its star, Anthony Perkins, who played twisted Norman Bates. Janet Leigh is also best remembered as the larcenous woman who met her fate in the infamous Bates motel shower. Taking a shower was never the same after people first saw this film! I've reviewed "Rear Window" previously and that is Hitch at the top of his game as well. The other work is all roughly C+ to B+, with "Rope" being a too stagey, limp version of "Leopold and Loeb" and being the C+, the lowest, in the set. "The Man Who Knew Too Much," however, comes in at a strong B+ with Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart being the perfect Every Mr. and Mrs. America who find themselves up to their ears in an international intrigue situation, a role that they never expected or wanted in their perfect mainstream American lives. If there is a film student in your life, these Hitchcock boxed sets will make the perfect gift."
Film study in a box A+
Drew Holmes | Bend, OR United States | 03/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This along with best of #2 is the greatest box set of all time. these movies span decades of great film making. every DVD came with wonderful extras and a documentary. most are widescreen and set up for the home theater experience. These movies are timeless and can be watched 10 years from now and still be enjoyed. great buy!"