Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection - Oct 14, 2008

Chuck Pennington

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I made some screen caps comparing the Criterion and new MGM/Fox releases of REBECCA. They are not always exact frames, but I got them as close as I could.

This is one comparison where I think the new MGM/Fox release is better (as far as the video transfer goes). Note how the fire blooms to a very heavy extent in the capture with Mrs. Danvers in the burning house on the Criterion release.

I find it strange neither release includes reissue credits, which were on Criterion's Laserdisc (and perhaps Anchor Bay's brief release, but I'm not sure). The main title was in the style of the advertising with the name "Rebecca" written out close to how it appears in the film with her handwriting.

The Criterion is still worth having for the commentary track (though Leonard Leff seems to see a lot of phallic symbolism that I doubt was intended) as well as all of the screen tests, only two of which are on the MGM/Fox release (one looking and sounding awful compared to the condition it is in on the Criterion disc).

Criterion DVD

MGM/Fox DVD


Criterion DVD

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Criterion DVD

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Criterion DVD

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Criterion DVD

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Jack Cleveland

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With fear and trepidation I have ordered this collection from Amazon, expected arrival Monday! I need it for class this week, as I am starting an Alfred Hitchcock unit in my Drama class that I teach! I want a good print of "The Lodger" and I'm hopeful this will give that to me, provided the discs play! Keeping my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!
 

Jack Cleveland

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So far, so good- I have watched "The Lodger" disc in it's entirety, including extras, and all went well. I have also searched through"Sabatoge" using chapters, and that went all the way through. So I'm pleased thus far.

Is there a particular disc that did not play so well for folks?
 

Ray H

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Notorious and Spellbound make a rattling noise for me. They play fine on my computer and Blu-ray player though.

Thanks, Chuck for the comparisons. I hadn't noticed them before.
 

Jack Cleveland

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Took "The Lodger" to school today to show to my drama class. We watched it on an LCD projector connected to a laptop computer. Imagine my surprise when we got to chapter 10 and it froze up on me. I could not get it to play any further. It played fine on my Panasonic DVD player.

I will have to try a different player tomorrow and hope it plays. The kids were pretty engaged... Not bad, that an 82 year old movie can keep today's high schoolers quiet and interested.

I'm hopeful we can watch the rest tomorrow!
 

Harry-N

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A year late to this particular party, I picked up this Hitchcock Premiere Collection the other day, having not heard of all of the disc problems people were having. It was an impulse buy, hence no prior research.

I've checked out - at least briefly - most of the discs in the set. All seem to start and play just fine, skipping through chapters reveals no problems, and none of the discs seem scuffed from the cardboard-sleeve packaging.

Either I'm one of the lucky ones, or - this far into its release - the manufacturer has fixed some of the problems. Hard to say wihch is true, as the last post in this thread was back in April.

Harry
 

Scott D S

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I'm a couple years late to the party but this set has been sitting at the bottom of my Amazon.com wishlist and I guess the big question is... is it safe to buy? Also: if I own this, the WB set, the Universal set, and the Blu-Ray edition of Pyscho... what else do I need, as far as Hitch's sound films go?
 

JoHud

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Scott D S said:
I'm a couple years late to the party but this set has been sitting at the bottom of my Amazon.com wishlist and I guess the big question is... is it safe to buy? Also: if I own this, the WB set, the Universal set, and the Blu-Ray edition of Pyscho... what else do I need, as far as Hitch's sound films go?
All of the films included in the premiere collection should be available separately now, though I bought the set and had no problems. As far as other sound features not in those sets, the first one on your list will likely be To Catch a Thief, which is the only Hitchcock feature Paramount owns. It's in a very nice Centennial Collection edition The rest are all public domain, so it's best to be careful in choosing a good edition and avoid too-good-to-be-true cheap sets covering his 1930s films. The premiere collection has the best quality of the British Hitchcocks that are included. As for other films: Jamaica Inn was released by Kino International, which unless I'm mistaken, is the best available stateside. The best release of Under Capricorn is likely the one released by Image Entertainment Criterion released The Lady Vanishes and The 39 Steps on DVD. A remastered DVD edition will likely be coming soon for at least one of these soon with a Blu-ray release Lionsgate released an early Hitchcock Collection featuring a few of his earliest sound features. I think the rest are only available in very cheap public domain collections (in R1, at least) and will only be a matter of time before a more definitive collection of his British features emerges.
 

Charles Smith

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I was way late to this party, finding the Premiere Collection at Costco just a couple of years ago. I'm glad it was only $22 or thereabouts because, first of all, if perfect, it's worth one hell of a lot more than that; but also because there were definitely problems with a couple of the discs. I think "Notorious" always froze up on me at the scene in the wine cellar, and "Spellbound" was bad in some way. Fortunately, a change of players took care of the first, and I finally scored a Criterion "Spellbound" (and I believe the Premiere extra features played okay). It's too bad about the defects because I remember being blown away by the films themselves, a rich assortment of extras, and the packaging--which, while imperfectly designed in some way or other (I forget), is still very impressive.


So, because of the defects in my set, I'm always horrified to see it still priced at over $100 in stores such as B&N, and I have to recommend spending as little on it as you possibly can. Too bad that Costco deal was so long ago. On the other hand, maybe those wound up there precisely because they were from an earlier run that was being dumped, and maybe current ones are fine. If anyone knows for sure, please speak up. Sorry for rambling. This set really is a potentially great selection of early and '40s Hitchcock.


JoHud, thanks for the recommendations on "Capricorn" and "Jamaica". I still need those.
 

Matt Hough

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A little bird told me that the three Hitchcock/Selznick 1940s films (Rebecca, Spellbound, Notorious) have been rumored for a potentially upgraded release at a certain point within the next little while. I can't say any more than that.


I have always thought Under Capricorn the worst Hitchcock picture.
 

Scott D S

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MattH. said:
A little bird told me that the three Hitchcock/Selznick 1940s films (Rebecca, Spellbound, Notorious) have been rumored for a potentially upgraded release at a certain point within the next little while. I can't say any more than that.
That would be nice. Despite the Premiere Collection's low price, I just can't do it. I simply don't have time to sit and watch everything with a fine-tooth comb the week I get it and even the most recent review on Amazon (from less than a month ago) indicated the problems still exist. Help me, Criterion. You're my only hope. :)
 

Charles Smith

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That's terrible news about the recent reports. This refusal on the part of the studio to fix and replace defective discs ranks right up there with Universal and the Hammer Horror and Universal Monster Legacy sets. And probably many others I don't know about. I'm not equating Hitch with Hammer. Well, on second thought, why not? All of these are films that have been loved by people for decades, and many of these people (a.k.a. "customers") have been getting ripped off since the day these various DVDs were released.


(Hey Charles, tell us how you really feel.)
 

JoHud

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Just noticed that some of the singles of this set are out of print. Bummer. If that rumor is true, it would be the first Selznik Productions release MGM/Fox has newly released in at least 2 years (assuming they are the ones releasing it)
 

Charles Smith

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I'm kind of hoping the little birdie might have been referring to Criterion getting those three back.
 

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