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Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection Limited Edition Blu-ray Review - Recommended



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#1 of 50 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 11 2012 - 10:14 PM

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection has arrived on Blu-ray in a 15-disc set that includes ten solid high definition editions of Hitchcock films, and five discs that have varying degrees of problems.  In an overall manner, it is easy to Recommend this set for purchase, given the number of classic Hitchcock films presented well here.  But the viewer must be warned that Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, Torn Curtain and Family Plot all have picture quality issues that range from the mildly annoying to the disastrous.  The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie and Family Plot in particular have significant problems that those titles’ fans will need to consider before purchasing this set.  Audio quality throughout the set is excellent.  The special features included here are ported over from the most recent DVD editions, although the Vertigo disc is sadly missing a commentary.  Again, this set is Recommended, but with the caveat that the fans should look over this review carefully to confirm that their favorite titles are correctly presented.



Studio: Universal

Year:  Various, between 1942 and 1976

Length:  Various, averaging around 2 hrs, but some run as short as 1 hr 20 mins  

Genre:  Suspense/Adventure/Horror/Comedy (sometimes all at the same time…)


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (3 Titles), 1.66:1 (1 Title), 1.78:1 (1 Title), 1.85:1 (10 Titles)

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, Some titles in AVC, some titles in VC-1 (Avg 30mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Most Titles), English Dolby True HD (1 Title), English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (2 Titles)

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish on all Titles, French on some titles


Film Rating: Most Titles Rated PG, One Title Not Rated (North By Northwest), One Title PG-13 (The Birds), Two Titles Rated R (Psycho, Frenzy)


Release Date: October 30, 2012






To properly evaluate the picture and sound on these Blu-rays, I brought the discs over to Joe Kane Productions two Saturdays ago and spent over eight hours examining the contents on Joe’s professional grade system. I’m once again grateful to Joe for giving me the opportunity to do so, and I thank him for his generosity, graciousness and for his good counsel. For the record, Joe’s system is the Samsung SP-A 900, an HD projector that he designed, and the screen is a Daylight Affinity .9 Gamma that is 90” (7 ½ feet wide), also of his design. Joe’s system is calibrated to the nth degree, and is set up to allow whatever information is on a Blu-ray disc to be transmitted to the screen and speakers at around 90% - meaning that the system passes through the information without trying to reinterpret the signal. Sitting comfortably at a distance of approximately 8 feet from the 90” screen, Joe and I were able to evaluate all 15 discs as projected. I also brought along for comparison purposes the 2009 Warner Bros 50th Anniversary Blu-ray of North By Northwest and the 2010 Universal 50th Anniversary Blu-ray of Psycho.


The short version of this evaluation is that I’m going to Recommend this set for purchase, based on the strength of ten of the fifteen discs in the set. I cannot make this a Highly Recommended set, due to picture quality issues with the other five discs – Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, Torn Curtain and Family Plot. But fans of the other ten movies, including Rear Window, Vertigo and The Birds, are going to have a great time with this set. The movies on several of the discs look very, very good, and are worth being sought out, particularly as it is unlikely that any but the most popular of these movies will see individual non-box set releases.


Looking over the complete set, I find that all of the extensive special features here are ported over from the prior DVD editions, current to whatever the most recent release was in each case.  This is not a bad thing, as the existing featurettes and commentaries are a treasure trove of information about all of these movies, and having the whole pile together like this is akin to being given a full semester film school course in the fundamentals of Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography.   Not everything has made it – an excellent commentary on Vertigo has unfortunately been left off – but this is still a significant collection of materials, most of which created by Laurent Bouzereau over ten years ago.  The set also comes with a helpful 59 page booklet that includes plenty of trivia about the movies, along with a photo of the moment in each film where Hitchcock’s trademark cameo can be found.


Let’s take the discs in order.  As I go through each disc, I will note the picture and sound quality, as well as the origin and nature of all the special features to be found with each movie.


DISC ONE:  SABOTEUR

Studio: Universal

Year:  1942

Length:  1 hour 49 minutes

Genre:  Suspense/Spy Adventure


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, Black and White

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (@ an average 1.8 mbps)

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Content Rating: PG (Mild Violence)


Starring:  Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane, Norman Lloyd, Otto Kruger, Alan Baxter, Alma Kruger, Dorothy Peterson, Clem Bevans


Written by: Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison and Dorothy Parker

Directed by:  Alfred Hitchcock


Film Rating: 5/5


The first disc in the set covers Saboteur, a wartime spy thriller that started filming shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack.  The movie covers solid ground for Hitchcock’s usual interests, including the wrong man being accused of nefarious crimes, a road adventure taking the hero (and the audience) across the country, and a smashing climax, this time atop the Statue of Liberty.  Among other delights to watch for here is the performance of a young and menacing Norman Lloyd.



VIDEO QUALITY 5/5

Saboteur is presented in an AVC 1.33:1 transfer (@ 30 mbps) that is truly a pleasure to watch. 



AUDIO QUALITY 5/5

Saboteur is presented with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that brings the music and dialogue clearly to the speakers.  No problems here.



SPECIAL FEATURES   3/5

The Blu-ray disc of Saboteur comes with some extras, all brought over from the 2001 DVD edition.


Saboteur: A Closer Look  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (35:24, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, assembled by Laurent Bouzereau for the 2001 DVD, covers a lot of ground from the origins of the movie through its production.  Key participants available for interview are included in the piece, particularly Norman Lloyd.


Storyboards: The Statue of Liberty Sequence  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (3:40, 480p, 4x3) – A collection of storyboards of the climactic sequence are included here, as they were on the earlier DVD.


Alfred Hitchcock’s Sketches  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (1:10, 480p, 4x3) – A brief collection of Hitchcock’s sketches of moments in the movie are included here, as they were on the earlier DVD.


Production Photographs  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (7:30, 480p, 4x3) – Again ported from the earlier DVD, this is actually a collection of various photos and artwork, including shots of the cast, shots from various scenes, and poster and promotional art for the movie.


Theatrical Trailer  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (1:55, 480p, 4x3) – The movie’s theatrical trailer is presented here in standard definition.  It’s actually a staged trailer, with Robert Cummings directly addressing the audience to discuss the movie.  The trailer is in fairly poor condition and as such, serves as a good contrast to the fine HD picture you’re getting elsewhere on the same disc.





DISC TWO:  SHADOW OF A DOUBT


Studio: Universal

Year:  1943

Length:  1 hour 48 minutes

Genre:  Suspense


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, Black and White

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, VC-1 (@ an average 32 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (@ an average 1.8 mbps), French DTS 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Content Rating: PG (Mild Suspense and Violence)


Starring:  Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, Wallace Ford, Hume Cronyn


Screenplay by:  Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, Alma Reville

Directed by:  Alfred Hitchcock


Film Rating: 5/5


The second disc in the set gives us the classic Shadow of a Doubt, which is known to have been Hitchcock’s personal favorite of the movies he directed.  Here we have another example of Hitchcock in top form, this time telling the story of the wicked Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) and his battle of wits with his younger niece Charlie (Teresa Wright).  There are great moments throughout as killer Charlie subtly tips his hand in the midst of a cheerful town community.  And we should note that there is a bit of a counterpoint between this film and The Third Man, in that there is a nice symmetry between Cotton playing Uncle Charlie and Orson Welles’ later performance as Harry Lime.   Each character has a nice monologue about his disdain for his fellow man, although I must give the edge to Harry Lime on that one…


VIDEO QUALITY 5/5

Shadow of a Doubt is presented in a VC-1 1.33:1 transfer (@ 32 mbps) that is once again, a pleasure to watch.   There is a bit more damage visible in the picture, likely reflecting scratches and other issues on the negative.  There is also a brief moment of pulsing that happens around 17:41 as Charlie’s train arrives, but I understand this to be an issue on the negative and not a problem with the transfer.


AUDIO QUALITY 5/5

Shadow of a Doubt is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that, again, presents the dialogue as clearly as one could want.


SPECIAL FEATURES   3/5

The Blu-ray disc of Shadow of a Doubt comes with some extras, all brought over from the 2001 DVD edition.


Beyond Doubt: the Making of Hitchcock’s Favorite Film  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (34:48, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, assembled by Laurent Bouzereau for the 2001 DVD, is another thorough look at the making of a Hitchcock classic.  Various key people are interviewed, including Teresa Wright, who recounts how Hitchcock told her the complete story of the movie at his desk, and Hume Cronyn, who relates amusing stories about how he wound up getting cast.


Production Drawings by Robert Boyle  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (6:10, 480p, 4x3) – A collection of Production Designer Robert Boyle’s drawings are included here, as they were on the 2001 DVD.


Production Photographs  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (8:30, 480p, 4x3) – Again ported from the earlier DVD, this is another collection of various photos and artwork, including shots of the cast, shots from various scenes, and poster and promotional art for the movie.


Theatrical Trailer  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (1:22, 480p, 4x3) – The movie’s theatrical trailer is presented here in standard definition.  It’s in fairly poor condition and as such, serves as another contrast to the better picture quality on the actual movie on the disc.




DISC THREE:  ROPE


Studio: Warner Bros.

Year:  1948

Length:  1 hour 21 minutes

Genre:  Suspense


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, Technicolor

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 32 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (@ an average 1.8 mbps), French DTS 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Content Rating: PG (Mild Violence)


Starring:  James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Sir Cedric Harwicke, Constance Collier, Joan Chandler


Based on the Play by:  Patrick Hamilton

Adapted by:  Hume Cronyn

Screenplay by:  Arthur Laurents

Directed by:  Alfred Hitchcock


Film Rating: 3 ½/5


The third disc in the set focuses on Rope, which is the first of five films in the collection actually owned by the Hitchcock family, and which was out of circulation for some time after its release before Universal picked up the rights to re-release it.  The movie is a curiosity, in that it is Hitchcock’s first movie with James Stewart, his first movie in color, and that it’s a movie that works hard to convince the audience they are seeing a single shot played out over more than an hour.  The movie’s story is one that would easily draw in a suspense master like Hitchcock – the audience is shown a murder in the opening moments and then waits to see if the murderers will get away with their crime as they brazenly throw a party right over the body of the victim.  Given that the material (which stems from a real-life crime story) was adapted from a stage play, Hitchcock chose to embrace the limitations of the play, confining the action to the apartment where the murder was committed and convincing the audience they are seeing the following events in real time.  (Of course, there is one major departure from reality here – it would actually be impossible for anyone to hide a recently dead body in a confined space with other people and not have the body be noticed very quickly…)  I don’t know that the experiment of a movie in a single shot actually works that well, but it’s fascinating to see this group try it.



VIDEO QUALITY 3/5

Rope is presented in an AVC 1.33:1 transfer (@ 32 mbps) that has a problem that may or may not be an issue for some viewers.  This is a Technicolor picture, and it was shot on one camera in extended takes.  Unfortunately, when the transfer was done, the technicians did not confirm that the registration settings were correct for the camera that shot the movie.  The result is that the transfer is slightly out of red registration, causing small red outlines to appear around people’s collars and around the horizontal slats of the window frames.  Since the same camera was used throughout the movie, this problem stays for the whole ride.  Now, if you’re using a smaller monitor, you will likely not see this issue as prominently as I did at 90”.  When I checked the same moments at 65”, the issue was not as prominent. 


AUDIO QUALITY 5/5

Rope is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that has no problems I could discern.


SPECIAL FEATURES   3/5

The Blu-ray disc of Rope comes with some extras, all brought over from the 2001 DVD edition.


Rope Unleashed  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (32:28, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, assembled by Laurent Bouzereau for the 2001 DVD, is another thorough look at the making of a Hitchcock film.  Interviews are done with both screenwriters  (including Hume Cronyn, who acknowledges he knew he’d be rewritten by a more traditional playwright) as well as with Farley Granger and Patricia Hitchcock.


Production Photographs  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (7:30, 480p, 4x3) – Again ported from the earlier DVD, this is another collection of various photos and artwork, including shots of the cast, shots from various scenes, and poster and promotional art for the movie.


Theatrical Trailer  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (2:26, 480p, 4x3) – The movie’s theatrical trailer is presented here in standard definition.  There is actually some additional interest here, as the trailer shows an exterior scene featuring the murder victim and his fiancée, presumably right before the murder is committed.  This brings up one little question that I have about the very opening of the actual film.   The way we know something terrible is happening in the apartment is that we hear the victim’s awful scream from outside the window.  Except that when we look inside, we can see that the bad guys are in the midst of strangling the victim with the title rope.  How the heck could he scream while being strangled?




DISC FOUR:  REAR WINDOW


Studio: Paramount

Year:  1954

Length:  1 hour 55 minutes

Genre:  Suspense


Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1, Color

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 33 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (@ an average 1.8 mbps), French DTS 2.0 Mono, Spanish DTS 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Content Rating: PG (Mild Violence)


Starring:  James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr


Based on the Story by:  Cornell Woolrich

Screenplay by:  John Michael Hayes

Directed by:  Alfred Hitchcock


Film Rating: 5/5


The fourth disc in the set focuses on Rear Window, which is the second movie in the five films privately owned by the Hitchcock family.   This is another bonafide classic – a case of Hitchcock doing the impossible and telling an irresistible story from inside the confines of a single apartment.  Except unlike Rope, where the action was confined to that setting, this time the action mostly takes place in all the OTHER apartments we can see from the title window as we and Jeff Jefferies (James Stewart) peep on all their comings and goings.  And of course, since this is Hitchcock, one of the neighbors appears to have done something unfortunate with his wife…  This movie continues to be great fun, now nearly 60 years after its original release.  I wouldn’t want to spoil any more about the movie than that.



VIDEO QUALITY 4 ½/5

Rear Window is presented in an AVC 1.66:1 transfer (@ 33 mbps) that is a pleasure to watch for almost the entire length of the movie, but there are a few minor issues.  During the opening titles, there is some weirdness with the grain levels on the background sky and buildings.  During an iconic profile kissing shot of James Stewart and Grace Kelly, contouring can be seen at the lower center of the frame.  During one reel of the movie, separation masters were used, which look a little softer in a couple of shots of the gang looking out the window around the time that Kelly delivers the letter.  But these are really minor quibbles over a picture transfer that looks terrific.



AUDIO QUALITY 5/5

Rear Window is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that brings both the score and the dialogue out well.



SPECIAL FEATURES   5/5

The Blu-ray disc of Rear Window comes packed with extras, mostly ranging back to the 2001 DVD release, but some stemming from the 2008 Legacy Edition 2-disc DVD.  There is one vintage pair of Hitchcock interviews that may in fact not have been part of any prior DVD offering. AMENDMENT:  That pair of interviews stems from the 2005 Masterpiece Collection DVD set, as noted by Albert Gutierrez in his comment below.  (And thank you to him for catching it.)


Feature Commentary with John Fawell  (FROM THE 2008 DVD) – This scene-specific commentary was recorded for the 2008 Legacy Edition DVD.  It’s good stuff, as Fawell, who wrote a book about this movie, really knows the material and is able to talk the viewer through everything we see, from the wider view of the movie to the smaller details we can find within it.


Masters of Cinema (FROM THE 2005 DVD SET) (33:39, 480p, 4x3) – This is actually a segment of the television series “Masters of Cinema” from 1972 in which Hitchcock is interviewed first by Pia Lindstrom and then by William Everson.  I can’t find any mention of this interview in any prior DVD edition of the movie.  AMENDMENT:  Thanks to Albert Gutierrez for pointing me to the 15th disc of the Masterpiece Collection of 2005, which is where this extra feature can be found.


Rear Window Ethics:  Remembering and Restoring a Hitchcock Classic  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (55:10, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette has been available since the 2001 DVD.   It’s a pretty thorough look at the movie, both in terms of its production and the restoration work done for it by Robert Harris and Jim Katz.


A Conversation with Screenwriter John Michael Hayes  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (13:10, 480p, Anamorphic) – This interview with the screenwriter was conducted for the 2008 DVD.


Pure Cinema:  Through the Eyes of the Master (FROM THE 2008 DVD) (25:12, 480p, Anamorphic) – This featurette, created for the 2008 DVD, discusses and shows examples of Alfred Hitchcock’s pictorial style, with the idea being presented to show how Hitchcock would tell stories in a completely visual manner.


Breaking Barriers: The Sound of Hitchcock (FROM THE 2008 DVD) (23:31, 480p, Anamorphic) – This featurette, created for the 2008 DVD, discusses how Hitchcock used sound in inventive ways as part of the storytelling process.


Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview Excerpts (FROM THE 2008 DVD) (16:14, 480p, Anamorphic) – This is an excerpt from the interviews conducted by Francois Truffaut of Hitchcock for their famous book.  The excerpt here, of course, discusses Rear Window.  Clips from the movie are shown as their discussion goes on.


Production Photographs  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (3:07, 480p, 4x3) – Here we have another collection of photographs of the cast, of the production, and of the usual lobby cards and poster artwork.


Theatrical Trailer  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (2:40, 480p, Windowboxed) – The theatrical trailer for the movie is presented, in considerably poorer condition than the movie on this disc.


Re-Release Trailer  (FROM THE 2001 DVD) (6:14, 480p, Windowboxed) – A re-release trailer for all five movies re-released by Universal in the 1980s is included here, narrated by James Stewart.




DISC FIVE:  THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY


Studio: Paramount

Year:  1955

Length:  1 hour 40 minutes

Genre:  Dark Comedy


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, Color

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 32 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (@ an average 1.8 mbps), French DTS 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Content Rating: PG (Inappropriate Behavior with Dead Body)


Starring:  Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine, Mildred Natwick, Mildred Dunnock, Ryal Dano, and Jerry Mathers not as the Beaver


Based on the Novel by:  John Trevor Story

Screenplay by:  John Michael Hayes

Directed by:  Alfred Hitchcock

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#2 of 50 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted November 11 2012 - 11:02 PM

The short version of this evaluation is that I’m going to Recommend this set for purchase, based on the strength of ten of the six discs in the set.
fifteen?! ;)

#3 of 50 OFFLINE   Escapay

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Posted November 11 2012 - 11:15 PM

Excellent review, Kevin. I'll pass on the box set for now and wait for individual releases. The Man Who Knew Too Much is a particular favorite of mine (I think it was the second Hitchcock film I ever saw, The Birds being the first), so I'll hold out for a proper presentation of it on Blu-Ray Disc. Regarding the "Masters of Cinema" interview included on the Rear Window Blu-Ray, it's from Disc 15 in Universal's 2005 box set "Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection." Due to the remastered presentations of The Birds and Psycho, their making-of documentaries were not on the respective movie discs, but on a 15th disc that also included the "Masters of Cinema" interview mentioned here, and a 15-minute excerpt from the AFI Salute to Alfred Hitchcock. Based on this review, I assume that the AFI salute is not included on any of the Blu-rays in the set. Also, the three Legacy Series DVDs released in 2008 (Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho) each included an episode from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," which haven't been included on these Blu-Rays. I had always hoped that Universal would have released The Birds in a two-disc "Legacy Series" DVD set, with the usual bonus features, along with the Masters of Cinema and AFI features. Instead, The Birds ended up the only remastered DVD from the 2005 set to not get an individual release

#4 of 50 OFFLINE   John Gilmore

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Posted November 11 2012 - 11:52 PM

Very thorough review. Just wanted to make a slight correction to the review of The Birds. Bodega Bay is actually not a fictional town, it is a real town in Northern California. In fact, Tippi Hedren often makes appearances there, and signs autographs when she is in town. John
John

#5 of 50 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted November 12 2012 - 12:21 AM

sometimes I'm glad that my eyes cannot pick up on the anomalies that others can the first movies I watched when I got the set were Rope and Marnie I thought Rope looked fine despite some flashing during the dark murder scene and some specks on the print I'd never seen Marnie before ... the soft shots were noticeable (not sure how much of it when shot was intentional to show a dream like state) but never did I find the movie unwatchable I just tossed in TMWKTM after reading this review and watched about the first 20 minutes .... again I go back to my original sentence because I did not see a strong overwhelming yellow pulse ... as hard I as looked the closest I could see were some slight fluctuations in the whiteness of Louis Bernard's shirt on the bus There was nothing I saw that would have made me stop watching .... in fact this is the best I have seen this movie look on home video I did forward to the 1:23:13 mark and did see the blue line that quickly ran down the screen (almost in sync with the music cue) if TMWKTM is the worst this gets I definitely got my money's worth from this purchase ..... I always want every release to be the best it can be but I guess I'll have to count on others for calling out some of these things I can't watching on 50" Panasonic plasma EDIT: after reading the "A Few Words About TMWKTM" thread I guess I just don't have the background others have with the film to know what colors are so terribly off

#6 of 50 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 12 2012 - 12:40 AM

MatS, thanks for the correction.  I've fixed that line now.    Thought I'd caught everything but this thing is so long that trying to scroll through it in the editor is really, really slow...   I'll also amend the note about Bodega Bay.  I had forgotten to note that one of my favorite shots in The Birds is a close-up of the Lovebirds in Hedren's car as she's speeding through all the curves - the shot where both birds are tipping at the same angle.   Thanks to Albert for noting the Alfred HItchcock Presents episodes that were found on the 2nd discs of the Legacy Edition DVDs.  And for noting the additional disc in the 2005 Masterpiece Collection set.  I'll go back and look that up.  The AFI Salute is not on the discs, but in the piece on Alma Reville included in the "Partners in Crime" featurette collection on the Vertigo disc, they do have the clip of Hitchcock thanking all four of his collaborators.  There isn't a separate featurette or clip devoted to the AFI event that I could find anywhere on the discs.  I'll adjust the review to note the origin of the "Masters in Cinema."   I think Universal did intend to have a Legacy Edition of The Birds to go with the other 3 in 2008 but that they chose not to do it after having prepared the Hitchcock/Truffaut excerpt.  Had they done it, we would have seen something similar to the other discs - with a new featurette or two, a commentary and an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode.  But such was not the case.

#7 of 50 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted November 12 2012 - 05:53 AM

Thank you, Kevin, for such a thorough and readable summary of the pros and cons.   Aside from the five picture quality failures, the single glaring thing for me is the inclusion of the wrong commentary for Vertigo.  It's as simple as that.  I can only think that someone made a simple (HUGE, but simple) mistake and ordered the wrong one to be included.  Nothing else even begins to make sense toward explaining this omission.

#8 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave Pattern

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Posted November 12 2012 - 11:32 AM

Just for info, the UK set has extra audio dubs and subtitles, with the exception of "Topaz", which mirrors the US disc and contains the "director's cut" with the "airport" ending.

The German box set appears to mirror the UK set, with the exception of "Topaz", which contains the so-called theatrical cut with the "suicide" ending and the following languages:

    [*] audio: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish & Russian[*] subtitles: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian & Swedish


#9 of 50 OFFLINE   Rafael82

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Posted November 12 2012 - 11:42 AM

Just for info, the UK set has extra audio dubs and subtitles, with the exception of "Topaz", which mirrors the US disc and contains the "director's cut" with the "airport" ending.
The German box set appears to mirror the UK set, with the exception of "Topaz", which contains the so-called theatrical cut with the "suicide" ending and the following languages:
    [*] audio: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish & Russian[*] subtitles: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian & Swedish

Hi Dave,

Can you confirm which portuguese subtitles (Portugal or Brazil) are on each disk of the UK set?
Amazon.co.uk says "Portuguese" for Rear Window, TMWKTM, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds. For the rest they say "Brazilian portuguese", except Topaz, which doesn't have either.


Thanks,
Rafael

#10 of 50 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted November 12 2012 - 12:41 PM

Foreign Censorship Ending (FROM SIGNATURE LASERDISC) (2:08, 480p, Non-Anamorphic) – A brief epilogue for the film is included here, as it was on the earlier editions. This ending, shot to satisfy foreign exhibitors, features a radio broadcast indicating that the villain of the story will indeed be caught. This ending, of course, is completely superfluous.
Thank you for the excellent review. The above is the only point where I respectfully beg to differ. I think the alternative ending is far from superfluous and actually gives a much crueller twist to the end of the story. We are led to believe that Scottie is going to end up in a life of domestic bliss with Midge, and we know that neither of them is going to be completely satisfied for the rest of their lives. So the film makes the ironic statement that although justice seems to be done (with the arrest) in fact a natural injustice has also taken place. With the original ending, we are left to decide what happens to Scottie for ourselves - does he jump, does he find revenge, does he have a moment of self-realisation? The ending can be as happy or as sad as we want it to be.

#11 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave Pattern

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Posted November 12 2012 - 01:44 PM

Hi Rafael

When I get time, I'll go though each disc and confirm the languages on hitchcockwiki.com, but the box set packaging says this:

    [*] Saboteur: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] Shadow of a Doubt: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] Rope: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] Rear Window: Portuguese subtitles[*] The Trouble with Harry: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] The Man Who Knew Too Much: Portuguese subtitles[*] Vertigo: Portuguese subtitles[*] Psycho: Portuguese subtitles[*] The Birds: Portuguese subtitles[*] Marnie: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] Torn Curtain: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] Topaz: none (only English audio and English, French & Latin American Spanish subtitles)[*] Frenzy: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles[*] Family Plot: Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles


So, I'm afraid it's the German Blu-ray set that has "Topaz" with Brazilian Portuguese audio and subtitles :( I'm guessing, given the other languages that appear on the German "Topaz", other non-UK releases (e.g. France, Italy, Spain) will also use the same transfer as the German set.

#12 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted November 12 2012 - 03:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew markworthy /t/325143/alfred-hitchcock-the-masterpiece-collection-limited-edition-blu-ray-review-recommended#post_4000529 Thank you for the excellent review. The above is the only point where I respectfully beg to differ. I think the alternative ending is far from superfluous and actually gives a much crueller twist to the end of the story. We are led to believe that Scottie is going to end up in a life of domestic bliss with Midge, and we know that neither of them is going to be completely satisfied for the rest of their lives. So the film makes the ironic statement that although justice seems to be done (with the arrest) in fact a natural injustice has also taken place. With the original ending, we are left to decide what happens to Scottie for ourselves - does he jump, does he find revenge, does he have a moment of self-realisation? The ending can be as happy or as sad as we want it to be.
Agreed.  And Judy is still lost.   RAH

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#13 of 50 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 12 2012 - 05:11 PM

Um, isn't Judy rather easy to find at that moment?  It's not like she's going to get up and walk away.  He just has to look down at the...   Oh.

#14 of 50 OFFLINE   haineshisway

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Posted November 12 2012 - 05:30 PM

The "foreign censorship ending": I've always taken exception to it being called that - it's in the script - I have every draft of Vertigo scripts, from Darkling, I Listen right through to the shooting script and that ending is clearly in the shooting script. They shot it and discarded it. That's how it seems to me. I don't think that ending was ever in any print of Vertigo anywhere.

#15 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted November 12 2012 - 06:07 PM

The "foreign censorship ending": I've always taken exception to it being called that - it's in the script - I have every draft of Vertigo scripts, from Darkling, I Listen right through to the shooting script and that ending is clearly in the shooting script. They shot it and discarded it. That's how it seems to me. I don't think that ending was ever in any print of Vertigo anywhere.
Researched. It was used. And as a radio broadcast, was easily dubbed. Including by yours truly and Mr. Katz. 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


#16 of 50 OFFLINE   haineshisway

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Posted November 12 2012 - 06:44 PM

Used in the UK and other foreign territories?

#17 of 50 OFFLINE   PaulDA

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Posted November 19 2012 - 01:45 PM

Was on the fence about this regarding the problematic transfers on (far too many, in an ideal world) some of these titles. However, when I saw today's Amazon price of 149.99 (50% off), I bit the bullet. It averages out to 10$/movie and while some might not be worth half that in the current state, some others are worth twice that and more. No way would I pay list price (I'd have gone for the individual titles that matter most to me) but at half-price, I'll take the good and suffer the bad. Had originally thought (before any reviews had come out) to put it on my Christmas list but I'm glad I didn't do that. For one thing, my wife would have picked this up at the local brick and mortar for a lot more than half off AND local list price is 350$ plus 15% tax (yikes).
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#18 of 50 OFFLINE   Mark-P

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Posted November 20 2012 - 01:55 PM

I finally received my pre-order from the UK and feel like I'm the last person on earth to have the set! I've now sampled all the discs and for the most part I am very happy with the set. The first one I put in was "The Man Who Knew Too Much" because of all the gripes about it. No it doesn't look as good as the other two VistaVision movies in the set, but I just don't get all the hyperbole about it being "unwatchable" and a "travesty". I looked hard for the pulsing color and was only able to spot it in a few places, but it is a relatively minor artifact. I have to be forgiving because I'm sure Universal did the best they could with the elements in their current condition. I really don't expect a full-blown restoration for every film in the set like "The Birds" got. "Man Who Knew Too Much" looks pretty darn good to my eyes. Next I looked at "Marnie." Now I get what the complaints are about for this one. It's got a lot of soft-focus, diffused photography which gives the impression that this is not HD, but a lot of knowledgable people have stated that this is the way Hitchcock shot the movie, so what is there to really complain about? Then I checked out "Family Plot." Okay, the complainers win on this one. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, but something definitely wasn't right with the transfer. Everything else in the set looked terrific.

#19 of 50 OFFLINE   Doug Otte

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Posted November 21 2012 - 04:50 AM

I finally received my pre-order from the UK and feel like I'm the last person on earth to have the set!
No, that would be me! I'm still waiting for the UK set to arrive. And, based upon recent experience, the postal carrier who's busy chatting on his phone while walking his route could easily have dropped it at someone else's door. If so, hopefully, they'll be as kind as previous instances and bring it to me.

#20 of 50 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted November 21 2012 - 06:53 AM

I finally received my pre-order from the UK and feel like I'm the last person on earth to have the set!
Nope, my order from the U.K. is still in transit.





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