- Rated NR
- Buy the DVD
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
The Universal-produced “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” is no different, and the lack of a number of the director’s actual masterpieces lead us to believe that this is a glorified release meant only to act as the simple holiday gift option. And the faux-velvet cover acts only as more evidence to this theory. It’s meant to look pretty on your shelf, and nothing more, but if you’re a fan of Hitchcock, and you’ve yet to purchase any of his work on DVD, this is just as good a place to start as any. Of course, you’ll be forced to endure some of his less significant work like “Saboteur,” Torn Curtain,” Topaz” and “Family Plot,” but there’s plenty of classics here as well. The rest of the films featured include: “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Rope,” “Rear Window,” “The Trouble With Harry,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” “Vertigo,” “Psycho,” “The Birds,” “Marnie,” and “Frenzy.”
Fourteen films in all, with a bonus disc to top it off, are presented in chronological order across fifteen separate discs. Gathered in four digipacks that slide nicely into the durable velvet box, a colorful 32-page booklet is included with short introductions to all of the films. Each film is also accompanied by a number of special features, though some have far more than others, while the bonus disc includes an “AFI Salute to Alfred Hitchcock,” a documentary on the director, and two making-of featurettes for “The Birds” and “Psycho,” respectively. All of the films look great in their new video transfers to disc, but the changes aren’t drastic enough to warrant re-buying the films if you already own them in DVD format.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the set is that, while it denotes a certain level of respect for the director, the only films featured were made under the Universal brand. This means that Top-10 classics like “North by Northwest” and “Strangers on a Train” don’t appear, nor do other fan favorites like “Rebecca,” “Notorious,” and “The 39 Steps.” So what do you do if you’re a fan of Hitchcock? It’s tough to say, though this is easily the most extensive set that’s appeared on the market, and is worth picking up if you’re planning on buying a majority of the featured movies anyways. It will save you both time and money, and will be the main attraction of your DVD collection. Just don’t forget to pick up “North by Northwest” while you’re there.