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A few words about...™ The Lady Vanishes -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 12 Robert Harris

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Posted December 04 2011 - 12:50 PM

I've been waiting patiently for Criterion to begin releasing the British Hitchcock productions, and hopeful many more will follow his 1938 production of The Lady Vanishes.


For those unaware, there are about ten films from the Master of Suspense, produced between the silent Blackmail in 1929 and Jamaica Inn in 1939, that should be of interest to modern audiences.  The Lady Vanishes comes almost at the end of this incredible run of quality films.


The "Lady" in the film is Dame May Whitty.  The great Michael Redgrave holds the film together, while the comedy duo of Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford brings up the lighter moments.


Like other classics of importance, the less on knows viewing this film, the better.  Suffice to say that the time given over to its pleasures will be fully rewarded.


As to the Blu-ray itself, it comes from quality pre-print, with a full and lush grayscale.  Audio is uncompressed monaural.


Great British Hitchcock.


Very Highly Recommended.


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 12 benbess

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Posted December 05 2011 - 09:01 AM

Thanks for this fine review. Yes, the British Hitchcock's are overdue for some blu... Just today I watched for the very first time Hitchcock's 1930 film Murder! It's up in a restored version in HD on netflix streaming and is, for the most part, a very impressive piece of work. Some of it is rather surreal and expressionist....Would make a fine blu...

#3 of 12 Richard--W

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Posted December 05 2011 - 09:33 AM

As to the Blu-ray itself, it comes from quality pre-print, with a full and lush grayscale.  Audio is uncompressed monaural.

Define "pre-print" in this context, please?

#4 of 12 AnthonyClarke

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Posted December 05 2011 - 10:29 AM

Yes, I'm curious about 'pre-print' too. Robert is of course quite right about the value of this film -- and my daughters were amazed when I told them, after we viewed this movie a few years back, that I'd been lucky enough to have had lunch with two of the three women who feature in the early ski-lodge scenes .. at different lunches! They were the star, Margaret Lockwood, a very charming and witty woman indeed, and the ineffable Googie Withers, who sadly died just a few months back. The other early Hitchcock of this era which totally deserves the Criterion Blu ray treatment is his finest of the pre-war period, 'The 39 Steps', starring Robert Donat. What a loss his early death was! Anthony, in Woodend, Vic, Australia

#5 of 12 Robert Harris

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Posted December 05 2011 - 11:32 AM



Originally Posted by Richard--W 


Define "pre-print" in this context, please?


"Pre-print" is any film element, positive or negative, that is not a final full contrast print.  According to liner notes, this was harvested from a fine grain master, which appears correct. That would be a low-con positive from the original negative.


RAH



"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#6 of 12 Dick

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Posted December 11 2011 - 01:03 PM

Looks like Hitch will finally be getting his due over the next year...or at least a good part of it.

#7 of 12 Richard--W

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Posted December 12 2011 - 02:52 AM

I find Alfred Hitchcock's British films in the 1930s fascinating, and entertaining. The Lady Vanishes may be the most significant, but he made other films during the 1930s that are equally memorable. Hitchcock consistently delivered one high-quality suspense film after another. A little adventure, a little comedy, and serious crime. Fans want to see his 1930s films in quality good enough to be enjoyed, but American rights holders have been slow to grasp the value and marketability of Hitchock;s early films. Most are only available in poor quality public domain editions. It really is past time for American rights holders to get their act together. Criterion has released The Lady Vanishes (1938) and The 39 Steps (1935). The latter needs an upgrade. Fox released acceptable transfers of The Lodger (1927), Sabotage (1936), and Young and Innocent (1937). In a box set entitled The Early Years of the Master of Suspense, Lions Gate released The Ring (1927), The Manxman (1929), Murder! (1930), The Skin Game (1931), and Rich and Strange (1932). That leaves several major Hitchcock films of the period in low-quality public editions: Blackmail (1929), Number 17 (1932), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Secret Agent (1935), and Jamaica Inn (1939, among others. Universal released clean sharp restorations of Juno and the Paycock (1930), Waltzes From Vienna (1934) and Jamaica Inn (1939) on DVD in France. Why haven't those transfers been released here? Kinowwelt released restorations of the silent and sound versions of Blackmail! (1929) in Germany. Why hasn't that been issued here? And then there a handful of silents that merit attention. A couple of British boxsets gather much better transfers of Hitchcock's early films than are available here, but Network's Hitchcock: the British Years and Optimum's The Early Hitchcock Collection are in PAL and like the French and German DVDs suffer the 4% speed-up on American multi-region players.. Considering the popularity of Alfred Hitchcock and the enduring appeal of his films, it is inexplicable not to find decent transfers on DVD so many years into the technology. What is taking so long? Where to Buy Links: The Early Years of the Master of Suspense: http://www.amazon.co...f=pd_sim_mov_10 The Lodger: http://www.amazon.co...f=pd_sim_mov_28 Blackmail! http://www.amazon.de...vdaficiona0e-21 Sabotage: http://www.amazon.co...f=pd_sim_mov_25 Young and Innocent: http://www.amazon.co...f=pd_sim_mov_32 Juno and the Paycock and Man Who Knew Too Much http://www.amazon.fr...23704313&sr=1-3 Waltzes From Vienna: http://www.amazon.fr...vdaficiona01-21 Jamaica Inn: http://www.amazon.fr...d_bxgy_d_text_c

#8 of 12 Matt Hough

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Posted December 12 2011 - 03:28 AM

Thanks for this GREAT overview of his early work and its availability.



#9 of 12 mikeyhitchfan

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Posted February 22 2012 - 08:28 AM

You're correct about this and my guess is that U.S. audiences are less patient and don't want to watch old black and white (let alone silent) movies, from Hitchcock or anyone else. In general, anyway.

#10 of 12 TravisR

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Posted February 22 2012 - 10:52 AM

...my guess is that U.S. audiences are less patient and don't want to watch old black and white (let alone silent) movies, from Hitchcock or anyone else.

Not being interested in silents and black & white movies knows no national borders.

#11 of 12 Richard--W

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Posted February 22 2012 - 04:10 PM

True, but I'm confident that many people are interested in silents directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He's an institution. Perhaps not as many people as are interested in his 1950s films, but more than usual. People who are not ordinarily interested in silents will give Hitchcock's silents a try just because he directed them. I've gathered all his silents the hard way. A good transfer among several mediocre transfers on this box set, and that box-set, an individual release in this country or that country, etc etc etc. Personally, I'm excited by the news of these restorations and I can't hardly wait to buy the Blu-ray box-set. Since it's the BFI, it will probably be region free. Then I can sell off all the obsolete DVDs and tighten up that shelf in my Hitchcock bookcase (6 shelves, 2 for the films). Unless I give up this collecting nonsense for good.

#12 of 12 jaussie

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Posted February 22 2012 - 04:34 PM

The setting of the suspense is great! In addition, the film also fuses the humor and love, characters are also more each has its own characteristics, and the hero is very amusing ~