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Hitchcock Masterpiece collection - a significant improvement?


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#1 of 59 OFFLINE   Bruce Morrison

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Posted August 22 2007 - 10:29 AM

I've been hesitating over buying the 15-disc set of the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection, as I already have the earlier DVD releases of many of the films in the set. Have ALL the films been remastered for the MC set? How much of an improvement over the earlier editions is there for 'Rear Window', 'Vertigo' and 'The Birds' for example?
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#2 of 59 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 22 2007 - 11:39 AM

Most improved: Saboteur (less grain, sharper), The Trouble With Harry (better color, sharper), Vertigo (16x9, original mono), Psycho (16x9), The Birds (vastly better compression, cleanup, and sharpness), Marnie (better color, sharper)

Subtle improvements: Shadow of a Doubt (dirt/scratch removal), Rope (sharper, dirt/scratch removal, better color), Rear Window (dirt/scratch removal, sharper), Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy, and Family Plot (all a bit sharper, better color and framing).

Worse off: The Man Who Knew Too Much (DVNR, edge enhancement, blurry image, poor contrast).

Rear Window, Vertigo, and The Birds have enough improvement to justify upgrading. It's also worth knowing that Frenzy is one of Hitchcock's best films and I wouldn't have seen it otherwise. Now it's one of my favorites.

#3 of 59 OFFLINE   Deepak Shenoy

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Posted August 22 2007 - 02:23 PM

Although the packaging leaves something to be desired (don't get me wrong - the outer velvet box is really nice), I would recommend the MC set without any reservations. Almost every title is significantly improved.

-D

#4 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 01:54 AM

Here are some screen capture comparisons between some of the older DVD editions (1998-2001) and the newer DVD editions (2004+):

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#5 of 59 OFFLINE   Bruce Morrison

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Posted August 23 2007 - 05:38 AM

Thanks guys for the replies, and especially Chuck for posting those comparison images. The difference in the two versions of Vertigo appears to be quite stunning. Anyway you've all convinced me that I do need this set, and I've now ordered it!
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#6 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 06:06 AM

Anyone else want some screen capture comparisons? I have more for all of the titles. :-)

#7 of 59 OFFLINE   Arnie G

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Posted August 23 2007 - 08:22 AM

more, more, more please Posted Image
Those are great!
I've got my own Toto

#8 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 08:35 AM

VERTIGO
original DVD vs. Masterpiece reissue DVD

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#9 of 59 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted August 23 2007 - 08:41 AM

Really loved the comparisons. I didn't get the upgrades to any of the original releases, and now I've started thinking maybe I should bite the bullet and go for these much better looking transfers. PSYCHO looks sensational.

#10 of 59 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted August 23 2007 - 08:57 AM

I picked it up mainly as I found it cheap and it reallycomplimented the Warners signiture collection. Posted Image Neat to see those comaparissons!

#11 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 09:09 AM

Um, yeah, you should upgrade. It's weird that such improved transfers should come out just 3-4 yrs after the original releases (with most of the titles this was the timeframe).

Here are some PSYCHO comparisons [I got as close to the same frames as I could], though I think the improvements in FAMILY PLOT, TOPAZ, SABOTEUR, VERTIGO and THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY are the most drastic (along with most of MARNIE - one scene looks VERY yellow in comparison to the old DVD - not sure which is correct there). I compared ROPE and SHADOW OF A DOUBT and they look identical - all of the other titles are new transfers, whereas I'd bet these are the same as the original DVD releases though perhaps with some dirt removal (I didn't notice any).

I had to compare the discs myself since I couldn't trust anyone online to provide accurate information. Some websites would say only a few titles were remastered, others would say they all were but not to much improvement, etc.

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#12 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 09:23 AM

MARNIE - I like the new transfer for the most part, but I have a feeling a good portion of it is too yellow. Take a look at those kitchen scenes early in the movie...

The original DVD image is followed by the reissue DVD image.

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#13 of 59 OFFLINE   BethHarrison

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Posted August 23 2007 - 11:02 AM

What about Torn Curtain and Rear Window? I have those two (as well as Psycho). But that box set looks mighty tempting Posted Image

#14 of 59 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 23 2007 - 02:41 PM

Marnie may be more yellow, but the skintones are less red. I'd be hard pressed to say which is correct.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#15 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 03:40 PM

Check out the shots in the first reel of MARNIE, mainly those in the kitchen at her mother's apartment. Notice anything that is white? Even the dishes are all yellow... The old version looked more correct there.

#16 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 03:44 PM

Oh, and check out the little girl's collar. I may be a little off as far as fashion goes, but a yellow collar with a red dress like that? Hmmm...

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#17 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 03:50 PM

OLD then NEW below from TORN CURTAIN

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#18 of 59 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted August 23 2007 - 03:59 PM

REAR WINDOW

2001 edition followed by 2004 edition

Oh, and just wondering: What rationale was there to cropping the film to 1.66:1? Was it shot to be projected that way, or was it an afterthought? The framing looks fine throughout, but it being a 1954 film (probably shot in 1953) makes me wonder...

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#19 of 59 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 24 2007 - 06:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Pennington
REAR WINDOW

2001 edition followed by 2004 edition

Oh, and just wondering: What rationale was there to cropping the film to 1.66:1? Was it shot to be projected that way, or was it an afterthought? The framing looks fine throughout, but it being a 1954 film (probably shot in 1953) makes me wonder...


Rear Window was shot from Nov. 29 1953 to Jan. 14 1954. By that time, Paramount had already stipulated that their films would be at least 1.66:1. This was the case for Shane, although that film was shot from July to October of 1951, but released in April 1953.

Widescreen Museum does note that Paramount was quick to move to 1.66:1, so I'd imagine by that by that time, Rear Window would be shot for 1.66:1. Although, they seemed to have a backlog of 1.33:1 films (mainly those shot in 3-strip Technicolor and B&W) through 1954. Rear Window was shot in Eastmancolor (and actually printed mostly in Eastmancolor, until the 1960s re-release and the 1998 restoration prints which were mostly dye-transfer).

If this is incorrect, disregard. I can't find anything that shows 1.66:1 isn't correct and the film itself does look fine.

#20 of 59 OFFLINE   Richard M S

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Posted August 24 2007 - 06:35 AM

Wow, I never realized the quality of the images was so much better!

Before I go to Amazon to purchase the $84.99 box set, from what I can see none of the improved transfers have been released individually, correct?