XenForo Template While we wait for a full HTF Blu-ray review of . Of course, I have upgraded the picture and sound ratings to the full 5, as I have seen that the digital issues I was noting at the time have been addressed by my getting a 24fps HDTV, and I have come to appreciate the depth of the 5.1 sound mix a bit more. DISC TEN: THE BIRDS VIDEO QUALITY 4 ½/5 The Birds is presented in an AVC 1.85:1 transfer (@ 30 mbps) that shows off good color and a lot of clarity throughout the movie. There may be some digital massaging going on here, but it’s really subtle. We noted a very slight red registration error just after the birds attack the school, but this went away very quickly. Fans of this movie will have a lot of fun here. AUDIO QUALITY 5/5 The Birds is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that is just as unnerving as when the movie played in theaters. This isn’t a movie that has a big musical score. It’s a movie that has a lot of sound effects and atmosphere that give the birds a presence and a voice. DISC ELEVEN: MARNIE VIDEO QUALITY 1 ½/5 Marnie is presented in an AVC 1.85:1 transfer (@ 32 mbps) that falls short of the mark in two different ways. I viewed the title both on Joe Kane’s optimal projection system and on my own 65” VT30 plasma HDTV. Different issues appeared in each viewing. On the projection system, we noted an uneven grain level and heavy filtration, the latter of which reflects the approach taken by Hitchcock during the filming of the movie. The picture is overly soft during most shots of Tippi Hedren, something the Blu-ray really accentuates in a way I can’t imagine Hitchcock would have intended. The effect doesn’t emphasize Ms. Hedren’s beauty but instead makes her shots jump out at the viewer in terms of their lack of clarity. There’s a bit of visible pulsing around 21 minutes into the movie that has no explanation. There are also many moments of good quality as seen in projection, but the last few minutes of the movie are extremely soft, making the film difficult to watch. Now, this would be troubling enough on its own. Except that when the Blu-ray is viewed on the VT30 (and this is a professionally calibrated set with the work having been done this past June), the digital grain noise mentioned by Nick Wrigley in his assessment jumps to the fore. The digital noise appears for the first 17 chapters of the movie and then suddenly disappears in the final chapters. I’ve been told this difference in PQ reflects a difference in presentation between a projection system and a flat screen HDTV. It likely indicates a higher contrast setting on the HDTV which is bringing the noise out. In either case, these PQ issues should not be occurring. AUDIO QUALITY 5/5 Marnie is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that, again, does its job well. DISC TWELVE: TORN CURTAIN VIDEO QUALITY 3/5 Torn Curtain has an AVC 1.85:1 transfer (@ 32 mbps) that mostly shows a heavy amount of filtration that makes many shots too soft to comfortably follow. I am grading this picture in the middle of the range as I am unsure how much of the problems here are direct choices by Mr. Hitchcock, and how much of the problems come from the transfer. As it is, the movie is notable for some truly odd framing and staging choices. (The opening love scene between Paul Newman and Julie Andrews has some very strange shots in it, although it does seem to be the inspiration for a similar scene in the early minutes of Michael Mann’s Heat.) There’s also an outdoor restaurant scene, filmed completely on a soundstage with exterior “restaurant” plates rear projected behind the cast. This is truly one of the oddest-looking movies I’ve ever encountered, on Blu-ray or otherwise. AUDIO QUALITY 5/5 Torn Curtain is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that presents the dialogue and John Addison’s score quite well. DISC THIRTEEN: TOPAZ VIDEO QUALITY 4/5 Topaz is presented in a VC-1 1.85:1 transfer (@ 30 mbps) that is mostly quite strong in the picture area. There is some pulsing during the opening titles, but the picture quality improves very quickly after that. The picture shows some mild digital enhancement but the color is superb. There is one very strange soft shot in an airport, but overall, this one looks quite good. AUDIO QUALITY 5/5 Topaz is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that presents the dialogue and music in a pleasing manner. . DISC FOURTEEN: FRENZY VIDEO QUALITY 4 ½/5 Frenzy is presented in a VC-1 1.85:1 transfer (@ 30 mbps) that is actually a lot stronger than I had been expecting. There is some mild enhancement present, but the color and clarity are overall quite good. I also note that the titles errors have been addressed, apparently by reattaching the original title sequence rather than using a textless background to recreate the sequence. AUDIO QUALITY 5/5 Frenzy is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that has no problems I could discern. DISC FIFTEEN: FAMILY PLOT VIDEO QUALITY 1/5 Family Plot is presented in a VC-1 1.85:1 transfer (@ 30 mbps) that is best described as unfortunate. Things quickly get off to a bad start with the varying grain levels seen in the opening scene with Barbara Harris. These levels wildly shift throughout the movie. Some scenes are better than others. A mid-film store counter scene around chapter 5 with Bruce Dern actually looks quite good. But then things devolve again. Digital work is evident here, but it’s unclear what it’s accomplishing as the picture really doesn’t look very good. A matte shot with a young-ish Craig T. Nelson looks absolutely horrible – in a manner I strongly doubt it did when originally presented in theaters. I note that the movie has a strong color palette and the Blu-ray presents that aspect well. But the transfer is of poor quality and really should be redone. AUDIO QUALITY 5/5 Family Plot is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that brings both the score and the dialogue out well. On the basis of what I’ve described here, I’m still going to Recommend this set for purchase – purely on the strength of the ten good discs. The other five discs have issues of varying concern. Two of them are outright disasters, two are arguably close to that level, and one simply has a registration error that may or may not displease viewers who can detect it. If you’re a fan of Rear Window, Vertigo and The Birds, not to mention Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, The Trouble With Harry, Topaz or Frenzy, this is a good set to purchase. As an added bonus, the set also contains the excellent Blus previously released of Psycho and North by Northwest. On the other hand, if you’re picking up this set out of affection for The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie or Family Plot, you may find yourself grievously disappointed. If you’re looking for a pristine copy of Rope or Torn Curtain, you may have more questions after seeing the Blus of those titles in this set. So I’m going to recommend this set with the qualification that you think carefully about which of the movies you’re interested in, and which are your personal favorites. If you can find the set at a decent price point, this is a great opportunity to pick up ten great Hitchcock films, presented quite well in high definition. Just don’t expect much from the other five. Kevin Koster October 29, 2012.