|Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)
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- Alfred Hitchcock-The Best Classic!
Although this set doesn't contain all of his "best", His stories are all great! This set is a "Can't miss this one"! I read his stories as a young person (under the age of 10) over and over! Now you can get his well written stories in DVD collections! Don't miss out on this one! I just recieved an email from the "Younger Generation", so I need to update this review! Alfred Hitchcock is no longer alive. He did direct these selections! Before his untimely death several years ago, he directed all of his selections. I was alive in the era where you were lucky to be able to watch his "shows" on a 3 channel TV without the access to a remote control. That technology was yet to be out for public access. I read his books, his writings that were eventually put into "Movie" form. He's the best! Screenplays/Books he wrote/co-wrote! The Ring (1927), The Lodger (1927), The Farmer's Wife (1928), Blackmail (1929), Juno and the Paycock (1930)...I thank the curator of his online site! Watch his DVD's and find out why I give Alfred Hitchcock his well deserved 5 star rating! My New Update! He's still the best in paving the way for future Sci-Fi, Horror & Mystery Movie Screenplay & Book Writers! ...more info
- N by NW shouldn't be here!!!
I agree that North by Northwest shouldn't be in this new set since it hasn't been updated in this release. Unfortunatley "Lifeboat" which should be in this set is owned by 20th Century Fox so it couldn't be included. Might have included the pretty bad "Under Capricorn" or "Paradine Case" in better editions or the very good"Young and Innocent"
Better yet a 2 disc edition of "Dial M" with a copy of the 3-D print on the second disc would have been great....more info
- Showing off Hitch's versatility!
The newly released Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection contains nine of the Master of Suspense's movies from 1940 to 1959. It's an intriguing mix of the famous (North by Northwest) and the underrated (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). All of the films in the set range from Hitchcock's early American efforts to when he had fully hit his stride in the `50s. The mix of genres is also varied, from his trademark thrillers (Strangers on a Train) to an uncharacteristic foray into screwball comedy (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) to hard-hitting drama (I Confess).
All the DVDs include Making Of featurettes with such notables as Hitchcock's daughter, Pat, filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and various film historians (like Robert Osbourne) talk about the significance of each movie and how they came to be. Also included are theatrical trailers for each movie as well.
Not surprisingly, the two most popular films of the set, Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest get the deluxe treatment in terms of extras.
The first disc of Strangers on a Train includes an audio commentary with several participants, most notably Bogdanovich interviewing Hitchcock about the movie back in the day and a Patricia Highsmith biographer who talks at length about the origins of the novel and its relation to the movie.
The second disc features the bulk of the extras, including a preview version of the movie that was discovered in 1991 and runs two minutes longer. "Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic" is an excellent 36-minute documentary that looks at the Hitchcockian themes prevalent in this movie: the wrong man and the flawed hero and villain tainted with guilt. The screenplay's troubled past is examined-at one point Hitch started filming without a finished script, a practice he rarely did. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan shows up in his own featurette where he gushes about the movie and explains why it is one of his favourite films. "The Victim's P.O.V." is a seven-minute interview with Kasey Rogers who played Miriam in the film. She talks about how she got the role and her experiences working on the movie. "The Hitchcocks on Hitch" is an 11-minute look at the director's personal life with nice vintage home movie footage of the man spending quality time with his family that shows a warm, playful side to the filmmaker. Finally, there is "Alfred Hitchcock's Historical Meeting," silent footage of the director meeting someone and then getting on a train (?).
North by Northwest features a decent collection of extras. Up first is an audio commentary by the film's screenwriter, Ernest Lehman. This commentary tends to be a let down as Lehman often simply describes what we are already seeing with lots of lulls between comments.
An excellent 39-minute Making Of documentary more than makes up for the lackluster commentary. Hosted by Eva Marie Saint, this doc examines the film's origins: Hitch had the idea of filming a thriller that would feature a chase across the faces of Mt. Rushmore. Lehman rose to the challenge and set out to make the ultimate Hitchcock thriller. This was considered a very ambitious and expensive project at the time but has since gone to become a classic. There are also several trailers, including one hosted by Hitchcock with his trademark dry, cheeky humour. Also included is a behind-the-scenes stills gallery. Finally, one can listen to Bernard Herrmann's memorable score on a music-only track. This is a nice touch for a film where the music plays such an important role.
Fans of Hitchcock are in for a real treat with this collection. Many of the films included in this set have never been released on DVD before. Each movie features top notch transfers and substantial extras. Obviously, a lot of work went into this set and it shows on every DVD. Most significantly, this collection showcases some of the director's under-appreciated works with two of his more famous efforts demonstrating a versatility he possessed and that is not often recognized....more info
- Great Collection... but...
This is more of a question that an actual review. I just purchased this long anticipated collection, but each DVD case is missing the standard chapter listings sheet. Am I the only one? Did Warner Bros. feel the need to exclude the usual liner notes? Just wondering......more info
- Great box set, but one complaint
I love this box set and the fact that Dial M for Murder, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Foreign Correspondent have finally been released on DVD. However, I have the same complaint as M. Aubin that booklets, even chapter listing sheets, have not been included. I called Warner Brothers (after they failed to respond to 2 e-mails) and was told that many of the studios are no longer bothering with package inserts. That's a shame. I'm sure it's a minimal expense and the chapter listings make it easier for DVD viewers and usually include some extra art from the film.
North by Northwest is one of my favorite Hitchcock films, but this DVD is identical in all respects to the one previously released except that it's now in a plastic rather than cardboard case. I would have appreciated at least one new extra on this. The second disc containing many new features on Strangers on a Train is exceptional. I do join with some of the other reviewers in wishing that Dial M had been released in its original 3-D format.
I've never been a big fan of Suspicion or I Confess, but it's great to have the films available. Also, I'm pleased that this set includes the very interesting and underrated Stage Fright and The Wrong Man.
All in all, a great set and certainly worth the money, but let's complain to the studios that are omitting the paper inserts....more info
- Great collection of classics and minor gems from the master
It's rare that an artist can be both popular and one of the best at what he or she does. Alfred Hitchcock embodied both these elements. His films used suspenseful thrillers as a vehicle to try out inventive and often groundbreaking editing and camera techniques. While this collection from Warner Brothers doesn't include all his best films, there are enough here to justify picking up this generous and beautifully remastered collection of some of Hitch's best films.
"Suspicion" is the oldest of the nine films included in this boxed set. Cary Grant plays Johnny Aysgarth a womanizing gambler who flirts with the bookish Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine in her Oscar winning role). After he woos and marries her, Lina begins to suspect that Johnny may be trying to kill her for her money. Although RKO forced Hitchcock to change the ending from the one he wanted (I'll let you watch the short documentary on the film that's included to find out what occurred) and the film was seriously compromised by studio interference, it's still a worthwhile thriller that has Grant playing a cad at a point in his career when he was put into romantic leads. I'd be suspicious of anyone who said he loved me and still called me "monkey face".
"Foreign Correspondent" was made by Hitchcock while he was on loan from David O. Selznick's studio. Hitchcock relished the opportunity to work elsewhere as Selznick interfered too much with the making of the films he produced. Shot just as World War II was erupting in Europe dragging in other countries into the fray, the film stars Joel McCrea as reporter Johnny Jones (what's with all these Johnny's in Hitch's films?) discovers a conspiracy of fascists threatening to take over Europe. McCrea gives a energetic performance and, although he wasn't Hitch's first choice (Henry Fonda was his first choice but the production couldn't afford him), he more than lives up to the potential of the role.
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" features Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery in a screw-ball (!) comedy directed by the master of suspense. Hitch directed the film as a favor to Carole Lombard a very good friend at the time. While the script has some clever moments and Hitch's direction has a number of nice set pieces, it's one of Hitchcock's lesser works. It's still worth viewing.
"Strangers on a Train" is a flawed masterpiece from Hitch. Guy (Farley Granger) frustrated because his unfaithful wife won't give him a divorce so he can remarry, chats with Bruno (the marvelous Robert Walker in one of his best roles) a passenger he meets on the train back to Washington D.C. After a drink Guy spills the beans about his wife and Bruno offers to swap murders. In essence, their crime will be perfect because their complete strangers and have no other connection other than the meeting on the train. Guy believes Bruno is joking and plays along. When Guy's wife is brutally murdered (in a stunning sequence where we see the murder reflected in the woman's glasses), Bruno expects Guy to reciprocate. Otherwise, he threatens to pin the murder on Guy. The stunning conclusion on the merry-go-round ranks as one of Hitch's best. This edition includes both the final theatrical version and "preview" versions of the film which differ slightly.
"Dial M for Murder" caught Hitchcock recharging his batteries. Whenever he felt the need to creatively regenerate, he'd pick a subject that would interest him technically but that was already put together. It's ironic, though, that he should pick another main character who is a tennis player. "Dial M" plays as a inverted version of "Strangers". Based on Frederick Knott's Broadway hit play, "Dial M for Murder" was originally shot in 3-D (and it's a wonderful film to see in that format if for no other reason than to see what a great film director can do with the format with subtly and style) but only exhibited in that format in certain venues. Ray Milland (subbing for Cary Grant who had an argument with Hitchcock and withdrew from the film) plays a slick tennis player who devises the perfect murder. He blackmails an old college chum (the impressive Anthony Dawson) to fake a break in and murder his wealthy wife (Grace Kelly). It seems that Milland has discovered that she had an affair with an American mystery writer (Bob Cummings). The inspector (the droll John Williams) in the case recognizes that appearances can be deceiving when he investigates a murder.
Hitch believed "Stage Fright" to be one of his miscalculations because of a technical narrative trick he used to clue in viewers on the story. Richard Todd plays an actor being pursued for the murder of a lover's (Marlene Dietrich) husband. Eve Gill (Jane Wyman) believes her male friend is innocent and goes undercover to try and catch the real killer. It's a marvelous and underrated Hitchcock minor classic with a brilliant opening sequence and conclusion. The actors all give exceptional performances particularly Todd and Wyman. Playing with the artifice of the theater world, Hitch also plays with audience expectations.
"I Confess" had a troubled history during its production. Breen's censorship office (which used to censor films even at the scripting stage) objected to Hitch's story of a Priest (Montgomery Clift) who hears a murder confession and is torn about reporting it to the police. His vow prevents him from doing so but it also implicates him in the murder. Also featuring Anne Baxter and Karl Malden, "I Confess" isn't entirely successful but its daring theme, performances and two stunning set pieces make it a worthwhile movie.
With "The Wrong Man" Hitch finally got his wish to work with all American icon Henry Fonda. Hitch elected to try the approach used by the Italian Neo-realism movement (best represented by DeSica's "The Bicycle Thief") in telling the true story of a musician named Manny who is identified as a robbery and murder suspect. This case of mistaken identity, the opposite of Hitch's later experiment with "Psycho", took an unusual tact with a more realistic performance style and less stylized look. It's a minor Hitchcock classic with a strong performance by Vera Miles as Manny's wife who ends up having a nervous break down due to what occurs.
All the movies look exceptional. The older movies have some analog inherent analog flaws due to the age of the films but, on the whole, have never looked better. "Strangers on a Train" has been digitally remastered for this edition and features a sharper image with less grain problems. The blacks, grays and whites are solid and less murky looking than on the previous edition. "Dial M for Murder" suffers from haloing due to the 3-D process used to shoot the movie but the colors are vibrant and rich. "North by Northwest" looks terrific. It was previously released on DVD and this is the same transfer using a cleaned up restored version of the film. The restored mono sound on "Dial M" and the many other films included here sounds crisp with good presence.
Making up for some of their oversights in the past, Warner has spent a lot of money to spiff up these classic movies. Every single movie has a short documentary on the making of the film featuring directors Richard Franklin ("Psycho 2", "Roadgames", "Flatland") and Peter Bogdanovich ("Paper Moon", "The Last Picture Show", "What's Up Doc?") commenting on Hitch's films. Franklin's a good choice as he's demonstrated tremendous skill in his overlooked suspense films. Bogdanovich who enjoyed a friendship with Hitch and interviewed the master for his book on Hitchcock has tremendous insight. He also does a killer Hitchcock imitation. Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell a fine character actress who appeared in two of the nine films included here, provides an insider's perspective on the great director's work and his overlooked collaborator his wife Alma Reville Hitchcock. There's also a generous amount of behind-the-scenes photos included in many of the documentaries and clips from various films included in the set.
Both "North by Northwest" and "Strangers on a Train" come with commentary tracks. "North by Northwest" features the same commentary track by the late great Ernest Lehman as the previous edition. "Strangers on a Train" combines comments from Bogdanovich, "Psycho" screenwriter Jospeh Stefano and clips from Patricia Highsmith who wrote the novel the film is based on. It's a pity that more clips of Hitch from Bogdanovich's interviews and others over the years weren't assembled to give us a running commentary from the master himself but both Bogdanovich and Stefano give great insight as they knew the man and/or worked with him and also have the distance of collaborators.
A great set from Warner Brothers, "The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection" should be an essential purchase for any fan of Hitch's. There's only one glaring omission from this set and that's "Lifeboat" which Hitchcock directed for Fox. Unfortunately, Warner wasn't able to secure the rights to include that for this DVD set. Oh, and I forgot to mention that every single title here is in the plastic Amray cases that Warner has recently begun releasing movies in so they're more durable than the cardboard sleeves for the previous editions of "North by Northwest" and "Strangers on a Train". My only complaint is with the box itself; it isn't all that sturdy and could have more details about the films and the extras. I'd also like to have seen an additional disc featuring maybe Hitchcock's films he made for the War Office during WWII as an extras here (similar to the episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" that Universal packaged with their boxed sets). Still, one can't argue with the price as it works out to be roughly $10.00 for each movie. You'd pay nearly double that to buy them separately.
- "I have the perfect weapon right here"..........
How can a film lover resist buying this amazing collection. Alfred Hitchcock now has another marvelous collection featuring some of his great and less-well-known films:
*"STRANGERS ON A TRAIN" 2-Disc Special Edition: One of Hitch's most brilliant films in which a tennis-pro, Guy (Farley Granger), meets an insane fan, Bruno (Robert Walker), on a train who tries to convince him that they should "criss-cross" murders: Guy's free-spirited, pregnant wife whom he knows his baring someone else's child for Bruno's domineering father. The tension just builds from there.
1. Alternate 'preview' version of the film
2. Commentary by director Peter Bogdanovich, Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stephano, Strangers on a Train author Patricia Highsmith and biographer Andrew Wilson
3. New making-of documentary= "Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic", with Farley Granger, film historian Richard Schickel, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell and other Hitchcock family members and colleagues recalling the making of this suspense landmark
4. Three intriguing featurettes:
...The Hitchcocks on Hitch
...Strangers on a Train: The Victim's P.O.V.
...Strangers on a Train by M. Night Shyamalan
5. Alfred Hitchcock's Historical Meeting, a vintage newsreel
6. Theatrical Trailers
*"SUSPICION": One of my favorite films, in which a beautiful and rich heiress (Joan Fontaine in an Oscar-winning role) marries playboy (Cary Grant) only to suspect that he is trying to kill her! Wait for the stunning climax!
1. New making-of documentary= "Before the Fact: Suspicious Hitchcock"
2. Theatrical Trailer
*"NORTH BY NORTHWEST": One Hitchcock's most famed films, in which a advertising exec (Cary Grant) is mistaken for an FBI spy and is followed by a cool blonde (Eva Marie Saint), a vicious villain (James Mason), and a low-flying cropduster all the way to Mount Rushmore! This is an amazing film and won Hitch's most enjoyable.
This DVD has all the old features on the original DVD with the addition of a music only track in Dolby stereo of Bernard Herrmann's classic score.
*"DIAL 'M' FOR MURDER": One of Hitchcock's best now on a long-awaited DVD. Set in England, a man named Tony (Ray Milland) decides to murder his wife (Grace Kelly) when he learns she is having an affair with a writer from America (Robert Cummings). He blackmails an old "friend" (Anthony Dawson) into murdering her, but when something goes wrong, he has to decide on a different plan. Look for the famous "Scissors" scene. This film was originally filmed in 3-D.
1. New documentaries:
...Hitchcock and Dial M
...3D: A Brief History
2. Newsreel footage from the movie's premiere event
3. Theatrical Trailer
*"MR. & MRS. SMITH": This is one of Hitchcock's only straight comedies. Ann and David Smith (Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery) are a feuding couple. When they find out their marriage isn't legal, Ann finds it as a way out while David wishes to stay with her. The comedy begins in this story of two problematic spouses.
1. New making-of documentary: "Mr. Hitchcock Meets the Smiths"
2. Theatrical Trailer
*"FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT": This Best Picture Oscar Nominee for 1940 is another classic. John Jones (Joel McCrea) is a American reporter who travels to Europe on what he think is the biggest story of the time. There, with the help of a girl named Carol (Laraine Day), he must track down a ring of spies!
1. New making-of documentary= "Personal History: Foreign Hitchcock"
2. Theatrical Trailer
*"THE WRONG MAN": This film is based on a true story featured in LIFE Magazine. The film is about Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) who is arrested for crimes committed by a look-alike robber. His wife, Rose (pre-"PSYCHO" Vera Miles), is distraught while Manny's anger is visible, but never spoken. Hitchcock also cast real-life Balestrero case witnesses in minor roles.
1. New making-of documentary= "Guilt Trip: Hitchcock and the Wrong Man"
2. Premiere newsreel
3. Theatrical Trailer
*"STAGE FRIGHT": A great cast gets together to give a interesting "performance". A dramatic student, Eve (Jane Wyman), tries to clear her friend (Richard Todd) of the murder of his lover's, the famous actress Charlott Inwood's (Marlene Dietrich), husband by getting a job as her personal maid to investigate. But as Eve investigates on her own, she finds herself in love with the real detective on the case (Micheal Wilding).
1. New making-of documentary= "Hitchcock and Stage Fright"
2. Theatrical Trailer
*"I CONFESS": Father Michael Logan (Montgomery Clift) is Catholic priest. During confession one day, the church caretaker, Otto (O.E. Hasse) admits to murdering a man. Soon the murder is known everywhere but the authorities believe Father Logan committed the crime! Since the Father cannot reveal what was said to him in confession he doesn't know what to do. His friends, Ruth (Anne Baxter) who was once his flame and Police Inspector Larrue (Karl Malden) try to help him but bring him deeper into trouble.
1. New making-of documentary= "Hitchcock's Confession: A Look at I Confess"
2. Premiere newsreel
3. Theatrical Trailer
This DVD set looks amazing! Warner Bros. has been really great with DVD releases this year. Look for three more Signature Collections from Warner Home Video in October: The John Wayne Signature Collection (Featuring the already released DVDs of "STAGECOACH", "THE SEARCHERS","RIO BRAVO", and "THE COWBOYS"), The Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy Signature Collection (With the already released DVDs of "ADAM'S RIB", "WOMAN OF THE YEAR", and "PAT AND MIKE" and the new DVD "THE SPENCER TRACY LEGACY: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn", a 1986 Documentary on Tracy's life and career as told by Hepburn), and the Elizabeth Taylor Signature Collection (Featuring the already released "CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF", "NATIONAL VELVET", "FATHER OF THE BRIDE", and "BUTTERFIELD 8").
- IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!
It's about time they release these!!! "Strangers" "N By NW" and "Dial M" are pretty well known, but the rest of these are hidden jems that I'm really surprised were not released a long time ago. I promise that whoever buys this will not be disappointed; well maybe I shouldn't promise, but I know I won't be!!!...more info
- Superb Hitchcock
I am very happy with this collection. It doesn't have all of Hitchcock's most famous films, but I enjoyed seeing the lesser-known ones and finding delightful surprises. This might not be the best collection for the "high-brow" Hitchcock fan, but for genuine lovers of old movies, it's a real treat! "Foreign Correspondent," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "Stage Fright," "The Wrong Man," and "I Confess" don't turn up on TV as often as the others ("Strangers on a Train," "Dial M for Murder," "North by Northwest") do, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to see them as often as I wish. And of course, it's nice to see any and all of them at my own time and choosing, and without commercials!...more info
- Great but still no 3D version of Dial M
Great to see these wonderfull films being released on DVD but still no 3D version of Dial M for murder, I can't understand why film studios are not releasing there original 3D films on DVD so that we can all see what the director intended, there are great new ways to view 3D on dvd like the new ColorCode system, These use Red / Yellow cardboard 3D glasses, much better than the old anaglyph Red / Blue system, then there's the LCD Switching system. Millions of people out there with millions of 3D glasses but no content. it's such a shame. Look at my 3D site for more info on 3D. www.media55.co.uk....more info
- stage fright
hitchcock and dietrich. what a great combination. they should have worked together more often.
- Hitchcock's Warner Bros. classics--all in one set!
The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection features all 9 of his films owned by Warner Brothers.
The boxed set includes:
North By Northwest
Strangers on a Train
Dial M for Murder
The Wrong Man
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (a rare Hitchcock comedy!)
All the films feature a making-of documentary, theatrical trailers, and more hidden surprises. Strangers on a Train is a two-disc set with additional documentaries and the "British" version of the film. The box is very cool looking but is made out of fragile cardboard. On the side of the box are brief descriptions of each film. The DVD boxes are very nice and use the original movie posters as the covers with the exception of North by Northwest.
Overall, this collection is a great value because buying the Signature Collection is much cheaper than buying each film individually. Highly recommended!
- Essential Hitchcock
Equaled only by Scorsese and Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock brought so many classic thrillers and chilling tales of murder and macabre to the screen, he will forever be remembered as the master of suspense. This impressive DVD collection contains some of Hitch's finest films that will last forever in Hollywood history. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951) is one of my personal favorites, superbly acted by Farley Granger (Who had previously worked with Hitch on ROPE) as Guy Haynes and Robert Walker gives a nuanced, chilling performance as Guy's murder-switching partner Bruno Antony. This 'lesser' film of Hitch's canon is perhaps his greatest achievement. Sharply edited and featuring an amazing score by Hitchcock stalwart buddy Dimitri Tiomkin, SOAT contains all the right ingredients that make a classic thriller, building up to a fantastic climax. It should be noted that most directors today would give their right arm to make films of this caliber.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) showed just how apt Alfred was with faced-paced action as well as suspense, Cary Grant gives his finest performance as Roger Thornhill. The classic scene with Grant being chased unmercifully by a plane in the desert is the highlight of the film. The razor-sharp editing from George Tomasini makes this an essential in the collection. DIAL M FOR MUDER (1954) is classic suspense, showcasing several fabulous Hollywood talents, especially Robert Cummings and Anthony Dawson. When one dotes on Hitchcock's overall work, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) isn't probably the first one mentioned. However, the film is just a fun work of a true legend. THE WRONG MAN (1956) has a fascinating take on human nature and the true meanings of people's uncdercurrent. And the superb STAGE FRIGHT (1950) is a fantastic example of the genre, boasting great scrpitwork, stunning cinematography and fast-paced action. Veteran actor Montgomery Clift carries the 1953 film I CONFESS, which, while it's not made as sharply as Hitch's other films, still displays burgeoning talent from the visionary director and cinematography from Robert Burks. Wrapping up the box set with MR. AND MRS. SMITH (The 1941 classic, not the lackluster Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie dud) this is an essential collection of Hitchcock classics that can be cherished by film fans forever. ...more info
- Amazing collection
Get this one while you can, I've read recently that they are discontinuing the signature collections by Warner Bros. This is by far the best collection of films on the signature series. Hitchcock is still the master of suspense!...more info
- Great but Could be Better!
It's incredible for any Hitchcock's lover to see seven never released on DVD movies introduced all at once. What a thrill! My only complaint about the selection is that "The Stranger on the Train" and "North by Northwest" have already been released before. If only "Lifeboat" would be selected instead... Everybody is entitled to a dream!...more info
- Dial M for Murder
I've seen "Dial M for Murder" in a restored 3-D theatrical presentation. The use of 3-D is the icing on the cake of this thriller. What a shame to not have released this classic in 3-D....more info
- Hitch is timeless!
I had already seen about half of the films in this set (N by NW, Strangers, Dial M, Foreign Correspondent, and The Wrong Man), and was anxious to see the others. So far, I have watched Stage Fright and I Confess, and I really liked both. I love the timeless quality of Hitch's movies - he is the best. I already have the first box set with the 14 movies, and I'm looking forward to getting the recently issued third box set of his post-1940 movies (as soon as the manufacturing glitches are resolved)....more info
- GREAT SCOTT!!
I agree with, MOVIEFANATIC, the reviewer below. Where's LIFEBOAT? One of Hitch's greatest films is still unavailable on DVD. But this collection looks great. Some Hitch CLASSICS. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, DIAL M FOR MURDER (Which has been unavailable on DVD), NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and one of my all time favorites, THE WRONG MAN. if you're just starting a Hitchcock collection, you can't go wrong with this set.
I just hope two of these are being sold separately. I need DIAL M and THE WRONG MAN.
If you've never seen STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, you don't know what you're missing. Robert Walker's Bruno is quite possibly the most delicious villain ever to double-cross a Hitchcock protagonist. A dark comedic performance that will make you howl with delight. SEE IT. I can't say if it includes both the American and British versions which are included on the Warner Brothers single DVD that I own. This package doesn't come out until tomorrow. It looks like a 2 disc Special Edition. Wow. Enjoy....more info
- THE MASTER OF SUSPENSE IN AN ECLECTIC BOX SET
Alfred Hitchcock is unquestionably a master director of cinema. In Warner's new box set "Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Series" film buffs will get to see why. This latest collection of Hitchcock classics is a revelation of sorts in that it allows audience to examine and judge the critical merit of a string of films that, for the most part, haven't been given a lot of play time. Many represent rarities and experimentations in the Hitchcock formula.
For some reason Hitchcock's first WWII thriller, "Foreign
Correspondent" (1940), never quite achieved the critical accolades orfame of say, "Notorious." It stars matinee idol, Joel McCrea as Johnny Jones, a New York reporter dispatched to Europe who inadvertently stumbles upon a troupe of fascists preparing to take over the world. Along the way, he encounters Carol Fisher (Laraine Day) whose father, Stephan (Herbert Marshall) may or may not be the lynch pin in all the espionage.
Next up is "Suspicion (1941). Following quickly on the heals of her success in "Rebecca" Joan Fontaine scored the coveted Best Actress Oscar for her role as Lina McLaidlaw, a bizarrely disturbed romantic wallflower. Lina's a repressed soul. But her traditional reservations are merely a fa?ade for lusty home fires that seem to be sparked to satisfaction with her encounter of handsome playboy, Jonnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant). The two soon marry. However, as the romance progresses
Jonnie seems to be more than just an elegant rogue. Could it be? Is he a murderer?
"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (1941) is the most uncharacteristic film in
Hitchcock's canon and, indeed, this box set - a featherweight romantic comedy with shifting undercurrents; all about a feuding husband (David/Robert Montgomery) and wife (Ann/Carol Lombard) who, after living together for three years, suddenly discover that they're not legally married. When David hesitates in legitimizing their union Ann bolts for the nearest quick fix - a stoic romance with her business partner, Jeff Custer (Gene Raymond). In keeping with the formulaic conventions of classic screwball comedies, this one employs a series of hopelessly inept, though nevertheless hilarious, bits of complicated mischief in which David plots to win Ann back.
"Stage Fright" (1950) is a convoluted charmer. Rarely has Hitchcock's attention to comedy and suspense been more seamlessly blended than on this occasion. Jane Wyman stars as Eve Gill, a novice sleuth determined to solve a murderous who-dun-it in a theatrical setting. Together with her flighty father, Commodore Gill(Alastair Simms), a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the likes of Charlotte Inwood (Marlene Dietrich) the conspicuously aloof and greedy stage diva.
"Strangers on a Train" (1951) is often credited as beginning Hitchcock's second renaissance in Hollywood. It's a diabolical struggle of wills between the seemingly congenial tennis pro, Guy Haines (Farley Granger) and sycophantic admirer, Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker). When the two accidentally meet on a west bound train they exchange intriguing ideas on how to commit the perfect murder. Just one problem; Bruno takes the game seriously, murdering Guy's pregnant wife, Miriam (Kasey Rogers) in what is perhaps Hitchcock's most terrifying cinematic example of strangulation. This is decidedly a high water mark in Hitchcock's tenure, capped off by a visceral climax aboard a careening carousel.
It seems Hitch' had a yen for tennis players. In "Dial M for Murder" (1954) tennis pro, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) plots the perfect murder of his wealthy wife, Margot (Grace Kelly) after he discovers she is having an affair with prominent writer, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). But things backfire when Margot accidentally kills her attacker with a pair of scissors, thus opening up Tony's chances at improvisation. Shot during the briefly trendy period of 3-D, Hitch' chose to eschew the usual (let's throw things at the screen) gimmicky approach and instead shot "Dial M for Murder" with a distinct foreground, middle ground, background perspective that really places
the audience in the center of the goings on. Only once, when Margot is being strangled by her attacker, does Hitch' succumb to the gimmick by having Margot reach behind her back (out into the audience) to grasp her lethal pair of shears; quite effective!
"The Wrong Man" (1956) is unique in its semi-documentary/film noir approach to a real life New York case. Henry Fonda is Manny Balestrero, a struggling musician wrongfully accused of robbery when he attempts to cash in his wife, Rose's (Vera Miles) insurance policy. The trail of accusations leads to a meticulous examination of police procedure in which the pressure of labeling the victim and hunting down the accused eventually culminate in desperation and a complete - if coerced - confession.
And finally we have the `wrong man' scenario to put all others to shame; "North by Northwest" (1959) is Hitchcock's slick and polished cross country adventure meets `the wrong man' scenario. When advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for an American CIA agent by the man he is supposed to be tailing, Mr. Van Damme (James Mason), Roger finds himself the victim of multiple attempted assassinations and a harried chase to unravel the mystery behind the insidious girl with whom he's suddenly fallen in love - Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint).
The black and white elements for "Strangers on A Train" and "Mr. And Mrs. Smith are impressive to say the least, with pure whites, deep solid blacks and little in the way of age related artifacts. The remaining B&W films (I Confess, Foreign Correspondent, Stage Fright, The Wrong Man and Suspicion) have varying degrees of visual clarity and cleanliness. The short answer is that NONE of the films will disappoint. The longer response is that of the remaining aforementioned titles, there is considerable disparity in both age related and digital artifacts. There's a somewhat obtrusive shimmering effect to darker scenes in "I Confess", some serious film grain in "Stage Fright" and varying degrees of tonality and rendering of fine details in the gray scale of "Suspicion". The contrast levels on "The Wrong Man" seem a tad low too. As for the remaining two color films in this box set, "Dial M for Murder" and "North By Northwest"...only the latter will amaze you. The former, although a considerable improvement on previously released versions, continues to suffer from grainy, haze and slightly out of focus image quality - which is in keeping with the shortcomings of 3-D photography, NOT the transfer itself. Finally, succinct featurettes accompany every film in this box set - with rare footage and interviews from surviving cast members.
BOTTOM LINE: An absolute must!
- Worth every penny...
If you make one dvd purchase this year - make it this collection. This set includes some of the master's best work - and features some excellent performances by Cary Grant, Robert Walker, Joan Fontaine, Henry Fonda, etc.
I have nothing bad to say about the quality of the discs - they are all restored and feature documentaries about the making of the films.
There are a few titles that stand out Dial M for Murder is a treat, as is Suspision (the follow up to Rebecca), and the much anticipated Strangers on a Train.
Hitchcock was truly a master film maker - and you can feel it in each one of these movies. ...more info