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Blu-ray Reviews

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

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#41 of 53 ONLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted March 03 2013 - 04:02 AM

Guys, I've been reading all the post about the disappointing work done on this set. No surprise it is being voted the worst box set of 2012. Since I got this set back on October, I've been posting in the various A Few Words About threads per title. So far, I've slowly been watching the various titles and really enjoying it. I've seen Rear Window, The Birds, North By Northwest ( i already have the Warner disc, so it wasn't new.) and the title I had been anticipating the most Vertigo. Last night I finally saw the much maligned transfer of The Man Who Knew Too Much. I've only seen this film once before on the Velvet Box set way back when it first came out. So this is a second viewing and its practically like seeing it the first time ever. I forgot the plot and any specifics. It's was a rather engaging film. Not one of my favorites, but it still has all the trademarks. It has a lot of great moments and signature pieces. So as far as the blu ray goes, I thought it was rather watchable and it reminded me of the early laserdiscs. The yellow pulsing was mostly occurring early on and during the rear projection or process shots. The regular shots without any rear projection or processes actually looked pretty good. There was still a lot of specs of white bits in the early part of the film, but the image was very watchable. Doris Day's freckles were very clear. The street scenes such as when the McKenna's arrive at the hotel looked great. After seeing The Making of TMWKTM featurette, it looks like the Marrakesh sequences were the most problematic with the film quality perhaps because of the filming conditions and the need to get out as soon as possible because of the holiday there. I know many are very disappointed by this blu-ray of TMWKTM. I just wonder if the elements were just too hard to fix, or was this just a film lower in the ranks and as such, the budget was given to it. Whatever the reason, it is too bad more could not be done to make it as good as it could be. I thought Rear Window and Vertigo were really good looking discs. The only part of Vertigo that failed to meet the most demanding displays was the bell tower sequence at the end as the shadow details were rather muddy. What's next, Marnie of Torn Curtain?

#42 of 53 OFFLINE   Sumnernor


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Posted March 03 2013 - 05:16 AM

I have posted this before. I bought my Hitchcock from the Amazon-UK. I have a 31" TV made by the german company LOEWE which many germans say that that is the best TV brand in Germany. One person stated that 31" TVs have NO PROBLEMS which I strongly disagree. For my TV size with smaller screen will have less problems with grain such as with Marnie. Having looked at various peoples comments from HTF and Amazon. most people have problems with the films which have not been "processed" such as "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "Marnie" and "Family Plot". There has been a large  range of complains or non-complaints for these films.. There seem to be fewer complaints for the UK sets than the USA sets. It is my belief that the quality of the TV/Projector is a factor. For my case excepting the grain problems, I have had no problems with films like "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "Family Plot".  I would suggest "Marnie" and "Family Plot" which seem to be the films that many people have problems with to be tried next. I know that Robert Harris is not happy with the colors in Vertigo

#43 of 53 ONLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted March 03 2013 - 05:50 AM

I am viewing on a 65" plasma which is one of the highest rated plasma sets available in the USA. So it just amplifies any problems visible on the transfers! :) it's very unforgiving. I know these are older films and so they won't look like a new film. It's a miracle we can have the great transfers done for many of these films from this era. TMWKTM I thought for all it's issues, which I could plainly see, was a still a very watchable transfer. And I was wholly engaged in the story. While I could see the yellow pulsing, I didn't look for it.

#44 of 53 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted March 03 2013 - 08:09 AM

I didn't think Marnie or Torn Curtain looked particularly good. As I remember, Marnie was particularly erratic in its quality. (I have the UK version if that makes any difference.)

#45 of 53 OFFLINE   AnthonyClarke



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Posted March 03 2013 - 05:08 PM

I viewed TMWKTM last night on my 110-inch projector screen and was pleasantly surprised to find it looking pretty average some of the time, but definitely an improvement over the old DVD. It is such a poor movie, definitely one of Hitchcock's poorest efforts and not a patch on the first version of this tale, that I doubt if I'll subject it to critical viewing ever again .. we watched it last night only because it was a birthday special for an old friend who can be seen prominently as a member of the LSO playing at the Albert Hall (the French Horn player Barry Tuckwell) and because it was Blu ray we were able to pause and see him as crisp as if it were just yesterday .. though he does look somewhat younger in the movie! Cheers from Australia

#46 of 53 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted March 04 2013 - 12:16 AM

Oh, boy, we sure do part company on that. I think The Man Who Knew Too Much is one of his finest films filled with memorable moments, expertly acted by the two stars, and with a real sense of those locations adding much flavor to the movie. I watch it more often than many of his more commented-upon works like Vertigo or North by Northwest. They're better films, but I find TMWKTM more fun to watch. But it's always generated this kind of division among fans.

#47 of 53 OFFLINE   AnthonyClarke



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Posted March 04 2013 - 10:44 AM

And isn't it great that we can disagree but still enjoy the Master so much! We love 'To Catch a Thief' but some consider that a fluffy lightweight below consideration. I'd place it above 'Vertigo'! There are no absolutes when it comes to film..... Cheers

#48 of 53 OFFLINE   Craig Beam

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Posted March 04 2013 - 03:34 PM

We love 'To Catch a Thief' but some consider that a fluffy lightweight below consideration. I'd place it above 'Vertigo'!
Them's fightin' words.

#49 of 53 OFFLINE   Bryan^H



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Posted March 20 2014 - 10:56 AM

The set is currently $105 at Amazon.

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#50 of 53 OFFLINE   Nick*Z


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Posted March 27 2014 - 03:40 AM

The Hitchcock box set was just a very bad joke perpetrated on the home video consumer; promising upgrades but only doing about half the work necessary to truly please fans of these immortal films. While one can certainly debate the validity about films like Marnie, Topaz, Torn Curtain or Family Plot being in the same league as To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest and Vertigo (among others), the level of expectation Universal built up herein was for pristine quality on ALL of the transfers included in this set. The Man Who Knew Too Much is a travesty.


Frankly, I can't watch that disc - or Marnie, for that matter. Universal has since fallen back on some very mid-grade quality indeed. Their most recent spate of catalogue titles - including Far and Away and Fried Green Tomatoes - left MUCH to be desired. The main trouble with the Hitchcock box seems to have been that Universal overextended themselves on producing the Classic Monsters set (which came out a scant month before Hitchcock) and the decision was made to cut corners wherever possible. But we're not talking about B-movies made by a director no one's ever heard of. This is Hitchcock - arguably, the most world-renown of the classic directors. Certainly, one of the most covered in critical analyses of movie making. 


Therefore, anything less than perfection is quite unacceptable. Add to this the trickle of Hitchcock titles Warner Home Video has released to Blu-ray (Foreign Correspondent by way of Criterion and Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, and North by Northwest from their own stable)...we're still waiting for Stage Fright, The Wrong Man and I Confess...and the Hitchcock legacy has decidedly been ill-served thus far in hi-def.


At the very least, Universal needs to go back and completely remaster The Man Who Knew Too Much and Marnie in hi-def. Nothing modest will do here, folks. It's Hitchcock. Enough said! 

#51 of 53 ONLINE   Tony J Case

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Posted August 19 2015 - 07:12 PM

So, 3 years on - did they fix the set? Or is this still a "Buy it, but only if you can find it cheap" sort of situation? I wouldn't mind picking it up for Halloween, and the local video store had one for about 150 bucks.

#52 of 53 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted August 20 2015 - 03:55 AM

So, 3 years on - did they fix the set?


#53 of 53 OFFLINE   Mark_TS



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Posted September 01 2015 - 11:12 PM

hopefully they will finally get it right with the future assumed UHD 4k restoration-and then we can then buy them all over again!

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