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What the best way top pick up Hitchcock's films?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Leiter

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Posted November 11 2005 - 08:42 AM

I was reading a thread a while ago and I realized that other than Physco I don't think I have ever seen any Hitchcock film all the way thru.

So I decided to pick up a boxed set or 2 and work my way through them as I get around to it. After doing a quick search I realized there are several sets of his movies to choose from. So is there a boxed set of his films that is considered to be "the ones to get"? Do I really need to get ALL his films or can I start off with a good set of his best?? If so which ones??

Thanks all in advanced
Mark F. Leiter

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

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Posted November 11 2005 - 09:34 AM

The best way to pick up all of Hitchcock's films is to bend from the knees, not from the back. Posted Image

But seriously, our friends at UNIVERSAL recently released The Masterpiece Collection, which contains the best copies available of 14 of his later films. This box set supercedes all previous releases of Hitch's Universal (and Paramount) films.

The kind folks at WARNER BROS have seen fit to release The Signature Collection, which contains the best copies available of his 9 WB (and MGM) films. Again, all previous WB releases are made obsolete by this release.

The hard working people at CRITERION have let their Wrong Men and Notorious Women collection go out of print, but 39 STEPS and THE LADY VANISHES are still in print, and the others can be found on Ebay or elsewhere. This set includes 5 of Hitch's earlier films. To my knowledge, none of these discs has been superceded by a superior release. (Anyone, please correct me if I'm wrong!)

That leaves Paramount's To Catch a Thief, Fox's Lifeboat, and a few odds and ends. At least one of Hitch's earlier films is available from KINO, one from IMAGE, one from ANCHOR BAY (now OOP), and several are available on various public domain labels (quality generally varies from poor to piss-poor).

A small handful of Hitchcock's films have never been released on home video. THE MOUNTAIN EAGLE is considered a lost film and will probably never be available.

I don't know what the present situation with the "...PRESENTS" TV show is, but I'm sure someone will chime in.

I would start with the top of the list and work my way down. Good luck!

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Eric Huffstutler

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Posted November 11 2005 - 09:44 AM

There are several early works box sets too (films from the 1920s-1930s) and I would like to know which are the ones to avoid and the ones to invest in? (early works that is).

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted November 11 2005 - 10:26 AM

I'm sure the question of post #1 has been answered more than adequately in post #2.

As for the question of post #3:

As far as I know, most of the releases of early Hitchcock are really bad and should therefore be avoided. The exceptions (as far as I can tell) are that couple of 30s Hitchcock titles from Criterion and a nice German (R2) box set. Its title is "Hitchcock - The Early Years".

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted November 11 2005 - 11:24 AM

The only box sets worth anything are Warner's Signature collection, Universal's Masterpiece collection, and the out-of-print Criterion's "Wrong Men and Notorious Women" set.

The four Selznick Hitchcocks are out of print, so the box set is too. However, Criterion still has The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes in print.

As for odds and ends, his only Fox movie, Lifeboat is on DVD... The only film still owned by Paramount, To Catch a Thief, is on DVD. Under Capricorn is on DVD from Image, but apparently not a very good disc.

Except for the two Criterions I mentioned, pretty much all of his British films are unavailable in legitimate and watchable versions on disc. It's been mentioned before that all of the British films are under copyright there, which means anything released here without licensing (as was done for the Criterions) is pretty much theft by Madacy, UAV, Laserlight, etc.

Just getting the Warner and Universal megasets give you 24 out of the 30 American features he directed.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted November 11 2005 - 12:24 PM

This website tells all.

DJ

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   rich_d

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Posted November 11 2005 - 12:26 PM

What DJ said.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

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Posted November 12 2005 - 01:37 AM

For what it's worth, though I'm sure a restoration would yield amazements, the UNDER CAPRICORN disc, in terms of video quality, is far from a bad disc.
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted November 12 2005 - 02:46 AM

Quote:
Except for the two Criterions I mentioned, pretty much all of his British films are unavailable in legitimate and watchable versions on disc. It's been mentioned before that all of the British films are under copyright there, which means anything released here without licensing (as was done for the Criterions) is pretty much theft by Madacy, UAV, Laserlight, etc.


I mentioned a German-released set (by Concorde) that is very much watchable - if you aren't "regionally challenged" ("RC"), that is.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Jason Hughes

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Posted November 12 2005 - 03:04 AM

I just wish they would do a seperate release of the anamorphic Psycho and Vertigo. I already have everything in the new Universal box set...
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#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted November 12 2005 - 04:01 AM

Even if you have the first dvds, the new BIRDS, MARNIE, TROUBLE WITH HARRY, TORN CURTAIN, FRENZY, FAMILY PLOT, TOPAZ, and SABATEUR are so much better than the first issues that it's worth the upgrade. IMO.

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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted November 12 2005 - 01:04 PM

Quote:
For what it's worth, though I'm sure a restoration would yield amazements, the UNDER CAPRICORN disc, in terms of video quality, is far from a bad disc.


I guess that depends on who you ask:

Quote:
Under Capricorn seems to have been put through transfer without a colorist in attendance.

While it is in color, there has been little control of that color, and the transfer has absolutely no attributes of the three-strip process.

DJ

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

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Posted November 12 2005 - 01:38 PM

Yes, I suppose it does:

"Image's DVD of Under Capricorn is a pleasant surprise. The source is a 35mm element in excellent shape, with just a few emulsion nicks here and there. The audio is clear as well. The encoding is more than adequate. Although digital work could have smoothed out the picture even more, this is a very good-looking disc.

Fans of Jack Cardiff will instantly recognize his palate of favorite colors that quietly emphasize the emotions of the characters."


From http://www.dvdtalk.c....=6869&___rd=1.

And, as an owner of the actual disc, I second the accolades, but again, recognizing that a full restoration would surely put the existing disc to shame. I think LIFEBOAT looks 100 times worse than UNDER CAPRICORN, though...

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
--Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

http://www.dvdanthol...-movielist.html), http://LDDb.com/coll....user=Filmmaker

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted November 12 2005 - 02:10 PM

Whether Under Capricorn dvd looks good or not is a moot point considering how bad the movie itself is. Posted Image
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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   PaulP

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Posted November 12 2005 - 02:21 PM

I'm really hoping for a comprehensive boxset of Hitchock's silent and early films in R1, preferably from Criterion, but really anyone who's willing to put in the care required.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted November 12 2005 - 02:39 PM

I think Criterion would be best to handle the best British films... probably The Lodger, Blackmail (both cuts), The Man Who Knew Too Much (hey, maybe they can make it a double-feature so we can get watchable versions of both films), Sabotage, Secret Agent, and Young and Innocent.

Although, the last three were supposed to be in an MGM box set (with boring no-extras versions of the four Selznicks). Since they're all Carlton and Studio Canal, I hope Criterion can get a hold on them. They could at least put together a set like the Truffaut collection with all 6 films.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   John Alderson

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Posted November 13 2005 - 02:25 PM

I like Under Capricorn! Very off kilter, even for a Hitchcock. Posted Image

The DVD looks ok, I guess, for a movie of its age that isn't a big name, but the sound nearly caused my center channel to hang itself.

Hisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick H.

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Posted November 19 2005 - 03:15 PM

Quick question: Is 'To Catch a Thief' supposed to have an insert? I picked this up at Best Buy recently for a great price, but I remember other Paramount DVDs from the same era still having at least a chapter list...

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   AlanP

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Posted November 20 2005 - 12:17 PM

My "TO CATCH A THIEF", did not have an INSERT, and I got it on the initial release.





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