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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (2 Viewers)

DavePattern

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Jonathan - I've just rewatched the last 5 minutes of the film and the audio seemed to be in sync. Having said that, there's not much dialogue in the last 5 minutes!
 
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As my original Universal VERTIGO seems to have self-destructed :angry: , I just bought the new R2 VERTIGO. The good news is that it's an Anamorphic print. The bad news is that, once again, the mono track hasn't made it.
Also, the print looks considerably worse than I remember it from the R1.

For all that everyone seems to be kissing Universal's arse about this new boxset and the cheap retail price, it still seems unbelievably shoddy to me that they're not at least selling the DVDs individually. All they're doing is releasing corrected editions of DVDs that should have been done right in the first place. What a greedy and disreputable company they are.
 

Patrick McCart

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Greedy? People wanted a better priced collection of the films, better DVD's of many of the films (Psycho, Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt, The Bids, and Marnie). Save for the fairly awful Man Who Knew Too Much, they put out exactly what was wanted. If they wanted to be greedy, they could have repackaged the exact same DVD's in a box with no changes and at a higher price. I don't think any complaints are needed when you can get 14 films by a director, all remastered for only $83. You can't even get 9 films from Stanley Kubrick for that low and that set doesn't have making-of's for every film, anamorphic enhancement on widescreen titles (Save for 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Perhaps they should have done it "right" originally, but most of these were quite good when originally released. However, as you can see by the Rear Window DVD, compression and mastering has improved in the last 5 years. Rear Window was probably as best as it could be in 2001.

I think it's idiotic to expect only one edition for a film to ever exist and for it to be "perfect." Even if Vertigo and Psycho were "perfect" in 1998 with anamorphic enhancement, flawless mastering, etc, they'd still look inferior to what could be produced in 2005. Sure, individual discs would be nice, but if you were to just get Hitchcock's "core" films from the set (Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, Shadow of a Doubt, and The Birds), it could cost nearly the same as the entire box set.

Universal's move to release bulk packages of their films is one of the best things to happen to DVD. I can't believe that I was able to get two dozen classic horror films through the 6 Monster Legacy sets for roughly $120. And I paid $120 for the original 8-disc box set, but sold it for $90 when I finished replacing them with the Legacy sets. If I had purchased the two Hitchcock sets originally released, I would have done the exact same thing. Besides, there's a market for inferior DVD's. Someone paid $40 for my old Blues Brothers DVD while I paid a mere $16 for the vastly superior 2005 edition. :D
 

DavePattern

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Patrick - that's exactly what Universal are doing in the UK. Earlier on this year it was possible to pick up the two Universal Hitchcock box sets for less than £60 (in fact, I bought mine new for under £50). The new UK box set that appears in November is £70 on Amazon (£100 RRP).

Not only that, but the DVDs in the box set are exactly the same ones that were released previously (as Anthony has just found out) - Universal don't appear to have any plans to release the new transfers outside of the USA/Canada. So, the rest of the world is still stuck with pan&scan "The Birds", "Marnie", etc.

The only good news is that it sounds like the UK release of "Hitchcock Presents Season One" will be on 6 DVD9 discs, rather than the DVD18s used for the US release.
 

Patrick McCart

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Oh, I missed the part about the UK set.

That really seems like an idiotic move on the UK branch, considering they probably have access to the American HD transfers. Even worse, I can't believe that they'd release some of his films in P&S-only!
 
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Exactly. They're just showing utter contempt for R2 UK buyers. Normally I wouldn't care but we'd have to pay a very hefty customs charge on importing the whole box set.

Even for R1, though, I think if Universal know that the original DVDs of PSYCHO and VERTIGO have ceased to play in many machines, they really have a duty to at least release those discs individually. The box set wouldn't seem like much of a bargain if you only wanted to replace those particular discs. And let's face it - the bonus disc is a bit of a disappointment. There's so much Hitchcock material out there that they could have provided.

Actually, I'm sure they WILL release these as standalones at some point. If there's more money to be made, you can count on it. These days, I just think - what would Warner Brothers have done with this ? I don't mind double-dipping on BEN HUR or THE WIZARD OF OZ when the re-releases are so lovingly done. Universal release a lot of good product but there always seems to be a downside.
 

Ken_McAlinden

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...I do not know how someone could say this who has actually listened to the track. It is dynamically flat. I described it more graphically in post #151 in this thread, which I won't repeat. This can happen a number of ways, inclusive of purposely adding compression in anticipation of limited dynamic range for an output medium to recording out to a high level that saturates the output medium. I also made the specific distinction that I was not talking about data compression in that post.

Regards,
 

Patrick McCart

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I really wish they made the bonus disc a DVD-18 so that the Psycho and The Birds making-of's would be on one side, the AFI Salute condensation, the Masters of Cinema segment (which I thought was excellent) and the other side would have the Shadow of a Genius documentary Universal produced for Showtime(?) and the "Men Who Made the Movies" interview/clip show (which has a remastered version that aired on AMC).
 

Paul McElligott

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They could have put another disk in the set instead, since there are only three in the last case. Much better than a DVD-18.
 

Mark_TS

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>>So, the rest of the world is still stuck with pan&scan "The Birds", "Marnie", etc.
--
Yes, it is mindbogglingly stupid-Universal UK release exclusive 16:9 discs of VERTIGO and PSYCHO, yet leave the above mentioned in Pan & Scan!

and then they have the gall to repackage all of those old transfers in a box while we here get a great set-
I mean, its almost as if Universal UK are saying "F*ck You!" to their customers. Literally.
 

DavePattern

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Mark_TS - I couldn't have put it better myself :D

Not only is it the UK customers, but it's also everyone in Europe, Australia, and certain parts of South America too. Given the size of that customer base, Universal's attitude does seems bizarre.

Universal have also dropped the RRP in the UK to £9.99 per DVD, but that still works out at about $18 per disc compared to the $6 per disc "Masterpiece Collection" :frowning:
 

David D H

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I just got my copy of the Masterpiece collection today. 'Vertigo' looks incredible. However, I don't think anyone's pointed this out before, but if you play the dolly-out from the bell-tower at the very end of the movie (on the old DVD), you can see the shadow of the camera. On the new DVD, this has been digitally removed.
 

MarcoBiscotti

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:angry: :angry:


This just isn't my day... I just bought the Hitchock Masterpiece Collerction, opened it up and found two of the same digipacks inside!!!

I have two digipacks of The Trouble With Harry / Vertigo, etc.


Back to the store for an exchange...

:angry:
 

Jimmy Nugent

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I have a question with regard to supplemental content. I own twelve of the Universal Hitchcock releases. Does anyone know if I would sacrifice any bonus content were I to trade in my titles in order to replace them with this collection?

Thanks!
Jimmy
 

Dale MA

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Hey Marco, I had a similiar incident but I had two copies of Topaz and no copy of Torn Curtain! Amazon.com sent me a replacement but now I've found that my copy of Marnie is skipping :angry: :thumbsdown:
 

Paul McElligott

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My understanding is that all of the bonus content is there, with the documentaries for Vertigo and Psycho moved to the bonus disk.
 

Steve Tannehill

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The new set eliminates the DVD-ROM content of Rear Window, which included the screenplay...

- Steve
 

Craig Beam

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Also MIA from the earlier editions are the 'Cast and Filmmakers' screens and the Universal web link (yeah, I know, big loss there). Luckily all the important stuff remains (except for the Rear Window DVD-ROM features... guess I'm keeping my old one).

I'm also keeping my original Vertigo.... well, just because.
 

Kevin M

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The Vertigo doc is still on the Vertigo disc, I think it is The Making of Psycho & All About The Birds that have been moved to the bonus disc.
 

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