Hitchcock on DVD - confusion?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Len C, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. Len C

    Len C Auditioning

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    I'm a big fan and I'm ashamed to admit that I don't have any on DVD. I spent about an hour or so looking at what was available in terms of collections (I did a search on Amazon and DDD). And it seems like it's all over the place in terms of mix and match - especially for the earlier films.

    Here's what I found:

    1) The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection (9 movies/$70): Strangers on a Train Two-Disc Edition / North by Northwest / Dial M for Murder / Foreign Correspondent / Suspicion / The Wrong Man / Stage Fright / I Confess / Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

    2) Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (14 movies/$84 in Oct'05): Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy and Family Plot.

    3) Best of Alfred Hitchcock Collection Volume 1 (7 movies+4 TV shows/$140): Shadow of a Doubt" "Rope" "Rear Window (Special Edition)" "The Man Who Knew Too Much" "Psycho (Special Edition)" "Topaz" "Family Plot" "Alfred Hitchcock Presents #2 (4 TV eps)

    4) Alfred Hitchcock Collection (12 movies/$81): The Lady Vanishes • The Secret Agent , The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Skin Game • Jamaica Inn, Number 17/The Ring • Murder!, Young & Innocent • Rich & Strange, Sabotage/The Lodger, Blackmail/Easy Virtue, The Manxman

    5) Alfred Hitchcock 10 Movies (10 movies/$12): Young & Innocent, Blackmail, Juno & The Paycock, Rich & Strange, The Ring, Lodger, Secret Agent, The Lady Vanishes, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Sabotage

    6) Alfred Hitchcock (10 Movies/$18): Sabotage/The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes/The 39 Steps, Rich & Strange/Young And Innocent, Murder Murder/Secret Agent, Number 17/Juno & The Paycock

    7) Alfred Hitchcock Collection V.01 (7 Movies/$29): Jamaica Inn, The 39 Steps, The Manxman, The Skin Game, The Secret Agent, Number 17/The Ring, And Young And Innocent/The Cheney Vase

    8) Essential Alfred Hitchcock Collection (7 movies/$12): Champagne (1928), Easy Virtue (1928), The Farmer's Wife (1928), The Manxman (1931), Number Seventeen (1932), The 39 Steps (1935), And Jamaica Inn (1939).

    9) Hitchcock Collection : Early Years (19 movies/$59): The Secret Agent, The Skin Game, Number 17/The Ring, Jamaica Inn, Young And Innocent/The Cheney Vase, The Manxman, The 39 Steps, Sabotage/The Lodger, Blackmail/Easy Virtue, Rich And Strange/The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Farmer's Wife; Murder, Murder; The Man Who Knew Too Much, And The Lady Vanishes.

    Here are some Q's:

    1) It looks like #1 & 2 give you a big chunk of the classics. Is that the way to go in terms of putting together a quick decent collection? (and not necessarily the most expensive way).

    2) I'm assuming that some of the older multiple movie collections (#4-9) are really poor transfers (public domain stuff?). Are any of the older movies collections in decent shape? Or has a good collection of the older films yet to be made? Anything in the works? Which of the above are really bad and should be avoided? I mean #5 is 10 movies for $12 - can I really go bad buying it? Or is it worth paying an extra $47 to get 9 more movies (and better quality perhaps?) in #9?

    3) In general, aside from the older movie collections, what's the quality of print story in terms of Hitch - are some of these collections better than others? Is the only way to get better quality to buy them individually? Or is there no difference?

    4) It looks like the biggest classic Hitch's missing are these 5: Lifeboat, Rebecca, Notorious, To Catch a Thief, and Spellbound. Are they out on DVD? Are they part of a present or upcoming collection? Or is there a rights dispute over them? Or what?

    Any help would be appreciated. I apologize if parts of this were answered in other discussions (particularly in the thread on the 10/05 collection) - but I didn't see a thread which dealt with all of this in one spot, so I started this one.
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    It's unclear whether the new collection coming Oct 4th is worth an upgrade for those of us who own them, but for someone like you, I'd certainly wait and buy that. As far as the rest of the films, for the early ones, I'd get whatever Criterion versions are available. They may cost a bit more, but they're certainly worth it. This would include: The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Notorious, Rebecca and Spellbound. Lifeboat is still not available on dvd, but To Catch a Thief is.
     
  3. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    Lifeboat is available on a R3 DVD (Korea or Thailand I believe) that should be avoided... The audio is out of sync with the video during the entire movie. I have the first set listed and plan on getting the new set in Oct. as this will cover the majority of my favorite Hitchcock titles.
     
  4. DavePattern

    DavePattern Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Len

    The US cheap sets of Hitchcock's early films are (on the whole) pretty poor. It's perhaps worth pointing out that his early films are not currently in the public domain - Granada International and CanalPlus own the rights to the majority of the "British" films.

    For the best releases, you need to buy European DVDs. In my opinion, the following releases are essential:

    Alfred Hitchcock: Les Premières Oeuvres 1927/1929, volume 1
    Alfred Hitchcock: Les Premières Oeuvres 1927/1929, volume 2
    Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years
    Blackmail

    ...there's plenty of screen grabs for the cheap US release on the site, so you can get an idea of which to avoid (e.g. this one)

    Have fun!
     
  5. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    It's also worth noting that Criterion's releases of The Lady Vanishes and The 39 Steps, besides being the best quality of the US releases of those films, are also properly licensed from Granada (née Carlton, née Rank, née Gaumont [​IMG] - I think Criterion licensed them from Rank at that particular point in time). They provide a very solid starting point for those interested in Hitchcock's British output before diving into the European releases.

    DJ
     
  6. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Hi Len,

    I would grab the upcoming Universal set first to take advantage of pre-order pricing. The Warner Signature Collection is also essential although you can get a better price than $70. Perhaps the next 20% off sale at DDD.com would be a good time to get it. In general all of the Univeral and Warner Hitchs look very good. Please note that the lack of an anamorphic presentation on a handful of Universals is a sore spot with some viewers. You can use your own judgement about those titles.

    The Criterions are all excellent DVDs although quite expensive. The lack of subtitles/captions on "The Lady Vanishes" was a disapointment to me, but that's the only real complaint I had about any of those titles. Rumor has it that some of the Crierion titles (plus The Paradine Case) will eventually be released by (I think) MGM in cheaper editions. However this release was shelved and no new news about it has come forth in quite some time.

    Under Capricorn, not considered one of his finest works, is available in a decent looking DVD from Image. The To Catch a Thief DVD from Paramount is very good and recommended.

    Lifeboat, as is sometimes the case with their other classic films, is in limbo land at Fox with nobody seemingly aware of what their plans are for it. There was a rumor a year ago that Drew Caspar had recorded a commentary for it, but nothing has been said about it recently. When Fox does finally release it, it should be a great DVD since most of their products are well done.

    Steve
     
  7. DavePattern

    DavePattern Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve - you're right about MGM.

    From memory, the MGM releases were shelved after Sony bought out the company. It's a shame that that meant the 3 excellent Criterions had to become "out of print" [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    Get the Criterion "Wrong Men and Notorious Women" Hitchcock collection - completely worth it
     

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