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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The origins of greatness
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS - THE LEGEND BEGINS consists primarily of silent and sound films that Hitchcock directed before relocating from Britain to Hollywood in 1940. One feature that distingushes this collection from several similar budget-priced multi-packs is the near-hour's worth of movie trailers included as a bonus. There's also a couple of episodes from the...
Published on September 13, 2007 by Annie Van Auken

versus
188 of 191 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good deal for the money
Since the days of bargain-bin videotapes by labels like Goodtimes, I've always been wary of these "too good to be true" deals. Yet, as I am quite a fan of the films of Alfred Hitchcock, I couldn't pass this one up. And for the most part, I'm glad I gambled a few bucks.

As of this writing, the majority of these films are still in the public domain and thus,...
Published on February 1, 2008 by A. Gammill


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188 of 191 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good deal for the money, February 1, 2008
By 
A. Gammill (Tupelo, MS United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
Since the days of bargain-bin videotapes by labels like Goodtimes, I've always been wary of these "too good to be true" deals. Yet, as I am quite a fan of the films of Alfred Hitchcock, I couldn't pass this one up. And for the most part, I'm glad I gambled a few bucks.

As of this writing, the majority of these films are still in the public domain and thus, not available from companies willing to spend the time and money on a proper restoration. It's worth noting, though, that some of the best films here ARE available in near-pristine condition in the 3-disc The Alfred Hitchcock Box Set (The Ring / The Manxman / Murder! / The Skin Game / Rich and Strange). Two are available in Criterion Collections: The Lady Vanishes - Criterion Collection and The 39 Steps (Criterion Collection Spine #56), while Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn can be found in a cleaned-up version from Image. For those who don't want to shell out the considerable bucks for all those, or if you're a completist (like me) who feels the need to possess EVERY film the man made, this is a good set to own.

Audio/Video quality varies among the films, but I'd consider them all watchable. Since early sound classics like SECRET AGENT and RICH AND STRANGE aren't available in better condition elsewhere, I found the transfers here to be reasonably good. Hitch's best silent film, THE LODGER, unfortunately suffers some serious contrast issues.

The real highlight of this set, however, is nearly an hour's worth of Hitchcock movie trailers. Oddly enough, none of the films contained in the set is represented with a trailer. But they cover much of the Master's career from 1940 thru the late 60's. And the quality on the trailers is far superior to that of the films.

Bottom line: For all but the most discriminating viewer, this is a worthwhile purchase. Just don't expect the quality you'd get from the major companies.
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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The origins of greatness, September 13, 2007
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS - THE LEGEND BEGINS consists primarily of silent and sound films that Hitchcock directed before relocating from Britain to Hollywood in 1940. One feature that distingushes this collection from several similar budget-priced multi-packs is the near-hour's worth of movie trailers included as a bonus. There's also a couple of episodes from the murder/mystery anthology TV show that Hitchcock hosted a half century ago.

MILL CREEK box sets offer good-to-average-quality audio and video transfers of public domain material at a most reasonable price. Since their switch over from RAINTREE, the company ID appears for brief intervals in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK - THE MASTERPIECE COLLECTION is an exquisite box set of many of Hitch's finest UNIVERSAL/MCA titles.

Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 viewer poll ratings found at a film resource website.

(7.0) Blackmail (UK-1929) - Anny Ondra/Charles Paton/Cyril Ritchard
(6.2) Champagne (silent-UK-1928) - Betty Balfour/Gordon Harker/Jean Bradin
(5.8) Easy Virtue (silent-UK-1928) - Isabel Jeans/Franklin Dyall/Ian Hunter
(6.3) The Farmer's Wife (silent-UK-1928) - Jameson Thomas/Lillian Hall-Davis/Gordon Harker
(6.2) Jamaica Inn (UK-1939) - Charles Laughton/Maureen O'Hara/Robert Newton
(4.7) Juno and the Paycock (UK-1930) - Barry Fitzgerald/Maire O'Neill/Edward Chapman
(8.1) The Lady Vanishes (UK-1938) - Margaret Lockwood/Michael Redgrave/Paul Lukas/Dame May Whitty
(7.4) The Lodger (silent-UK-1927) - Marie Ault/Arthur Chesney/Malcolm Keen/Ivor Novello
(6.9) The Man Who Knew Too Much (UK-1934) - Leslie Banks/Edna Best/Peter Lorre
(6.3) The Manxman (silent-UK-1928)- Carl Brisson/Malcolm Keen/Anny Ondra
(5.9) Number Seventeen (UK-1932) - Leon M. Lion/Anne Grey/John Stuart
(6.1) Rich and Strange (UK-1931) - Henry Kendall/Joan Barry/Percy Marmot
(6.2) The Ring (silent-UK-1927) - Carl Brisson/Lillian Hall-Davis/Ian Hunter
(7.2) Sabotage (UK-1936) - Sylvia Sidney/Oskar Homolka/Desmond Tester
(6.7) Secret Agent (UK-1936) - John Gielgud/Peter Lorre/Madeleine Carroll/Robert Young/Lilli Palmer
(5.7) The Skin Game (UK-1931) - C.V. France/Helen Haye/Edmund Gwenn
(8.0) The 39 Steps (UK-1935) - Robert Donat/Madeleine Carroll/Peggy Ashcroft
(7.1) Young and Innocent (UK-1937) - Nova Pilbeam/Derrick De Marney/Percy Marmot

ALSO-- ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS:
(#13) The Cheney Vase (S.1, 12/25/55) - Carolyn Jones Darren McGavin/George Macready/Ruta Lee
(#268) The Sorcerer's Apprentice (S.7, ???) - Diana Dors/Brandon De Wilde/Larry Kert

BONUS: 55 minutes of Hitchcock movie trailers
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137 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a lot of fussing over a 5 buck item!, November 11, 2008
By 
Wayne A. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
I picked this up at Wal-Mart in the five-dollar bin, desperate for a copy of The Thirty-Nine Steps and willing to risk all of a five-big-dollars-plus-tax for it. What I got was a terrific collection of the early Hitchcock films, including the silents, not remastered but seemingly all taken from surprisingly decent prints, and with good sound--the quality we used to see and be fine with on late night television. All my discs played perfectly including one I'd scratched accidentally. The discs are packed solid with material so if your DVD player is old or dirty you might have problems.

If I waited for Criterion to do up an equivalent package, and that doesn't seem to be happening, I'd probably end up paying over $200 for the whole shebang. This $5 deal leaves me with $195 to go out and get another DVD player, or even a new lawnmower. Not bad.

Batches of defective discs turn up all the time. It just happens. If a customer, immediately after purchase, swaps a bad disc or set in for a replacement it's likely they'll get another from the same batch. At some point the retailer realizes something is amiss and sends everything back to the distributor. Nobody's selling you defective DVDs because they think it's a swell idea.

Mill Creek Entertainment's address is: Mill Creek Entertainment
2445 Nevada Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55427. I just got this information off the Internet in all of fifteen seconds. They're in Minneapolis so they're probably really nice people and if you get any defective discs from them I'll bet you could give them a call (Toll-Free: (866) 410 9000) and they'd straighten everything out ASAP. I'd recommend this course of action before writing a stinky "review" that isn't even a review, more a customer service issue, and giving a really excellent bargain one or two stars.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money, December 16, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
It's not that the stories are not interesting. I ordered multiple copies as gifts. All have defective sections. In some cases the film starts and then gets hung up; in other cases the film will not start.
No consistency, just poor quality when they were copied by the manufacturer.

Due to the low price, I did not return them. There are enough other interesting Hitchcock films that can be viewed that make it worthwile to keep them.

However, if you order, be prepared to not view some of the film's that are listed. Seems that some sort of quality control has to be implemented by Amazon to insure that films being ordered are of only the best quality.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid!, July 13, 2008
By 
H. Sorensen (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
Twenty of the early Hitchcock classics in one boxed set for less than ten bucks. Too good to be true, right? Right. The discs are of such poor quality that they will neither play on my dvd player nor my computer. I have never experienced trouble of any kind on either before. It may seem like a bargain, but please avoid!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed opinion on this., July 24, 2009
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
For starters, it's great to see Hitchcock's early works. My big gripes about this collection are how the media was handled. The transfers are very poor. I'm not talking about degraded film, which is what it is. I mean the film was obviously transferred on substandard equipment in a hurry. They didn't take care in preserving the contrast of the original films or the framing. It's like they used an old film/video chain with the camera on autoexpose. So when it cuts to something bright, it's overblown until the autoexpose compensates. When it cuts to something dark, like a title card, it's fine until the autoexposure responds making for words that blur together. The framing isn't very good, like words getting chopped off the edge or bottom of the screen etc. At one point, you can see the transfer system stop, rewind, then resume playing for a brief moment in the middle of a movie. The times & synopsis on the cover often have nothing to do with the actual program material. There's also a lot of skips on the DVD. Finally, there's too many movies on each disk making for bad compression artifacts. If they were on such a tight budget, they should have broken the load into 2x 4-disk sets on sold them separately. It was VERY badly handled project done by what I can only assume was an amateur who just didn't care. It's a shame because there's some great early movies here that would have been much more enjoyable if they had been handled properly. I'd be almost tempted to find some of those movies and retransfer them myself with a 35mm projector and a DVX100.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 dollars for 18 movies/2 AHP episodes? Amazing bargain!, September 8, 2011
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
A lot of people are complaining about the quality of the movies, but it's Mill Creek Entertainment! Of course it's going to be low-quality. And some people are going on about how the transfer is so bad, but that's what movies look like when they've been sitting in a vault for about 80 years. It's not Mill Creek Entertainment's fault. Anyway, I think this is an abssolutely amazing deal. 18 movie and 2 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents sounds pretty awesome to me? The packaging is pretty simple. You open the large DVD case, and you get 4 paper sleeves all on top of each other, with the discs in them. This collection obviously doesn't come with his best-known movies (Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho), but it does come with some earlier classics (The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps, The Lodger), and it IS called "The Legend Begins", so it only comes with his 20s-30s Gaumont British stuff, dating from 1927 to 1939, and they're all pretty good.

Disc 1:

The Lady Vanishes (1938)- I think this film is my favorite, and it's one of Hitch's early classics. A girl (Margaret Lockwood) is taking a transcontinental train trip to marry her boyfriend and suddenly an old lady she meets suddenly vanishes, and she starts to look for her. It has great suspense, a nice ending, and it also takes place on a train, a place he makes suspenseful (Strangers on a Train, North by Northwest, The 39 Steps, etc.) It also has great acting, too. It starts off the films wonderfully!

The Farmers Wife (1928)- One of Hitch's first films and a pretty good one, too. This is one of the silent films. A farmer (Jameson Thomas) who recently lost his wife and goes out to find different female acquaintences to fall in love with, but doesn't realize that his housekeeper, Minta (Lillian-Hall Davis) loves him. The film is supposed to be 98 minutes, but since they slowed the film down, it's now 129 minutes, so it does feel a bit draggy, but altogether, it's a cute film with nice music, romance, and a good story.

The Manxman (1929)- This is another silent film, and Hitch's last silent film. I think it's his most romantic film from the 20s, and it has a beautiful setting and acting, especially from Anny Ondra (she's great). It's about two friends, Pete (Carl Brisson), and Philip (Malcolm Keen), who both love a woman named Kate (Anny Ondra). Pete ultimately falls in love with her, but suddenly she gets a letter that Pete is dead, so she falls for Philip, but it turns out Pete is alive, so this is a "love traingle" films, and it's very dramatic. Altogether, this isn't in my top 5, but it's pretty amazing.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Cheney Vase- I really love this episode. It's about a man who keeps an old woman hostage in her home because she has a vase that he wants to sell, but she won't let him. It isn't very suspenseful, but it's very sharp and entertaining. It's worth seeing.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer's Apprentice- The only Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that got banned from television becuase it was "too morbid" to air. It's about a mentally challenged boy who joins a circus, and it all ends with him cutting someone in half, during a trick. Of course, you could see why it was controversial, but none the less, a good episode.

Disc 2:

Rich and Strange (1931)- This is another one of my favorites. It's about a couple (Henry Kendall and Joan Barry), who are struggling with their marriage and money, when one day, they recieve a fortune from an uncle, so they spend it on a cruise, and they both fall in love with different people, and complicate their marriage even more. It's a very good film, with an actually suspenseful ending, even though it's a romance. Instead of a train, it takes place on a cruise ship, and even though it was a flop when it came out in 1931, it still is an amazing film.

The 39 Steps (1935)- This is an early Hitch classic, and it's very brilliant. It's about a Canadian (Robert Donat) vacationing in Britain, when he meets a woman who tells him about something called "the 39 steps", but doesn't reveal much. The next morning, he finds her stabbed in the back. Suddenly, he's accused of murder and flees across town to town, and meets another woman who he falls in love with (Madeleine Carroll). This film is, as according to the British Film Institute, the fourth best British film of all time, and it deserves it. It's a very suspenseful "wrong man accused" film that Hitch did multiple times (North by Northwest, The Wrong Man, Frenzy, etc.), and it keeps you guessing what "the 39 steps" actually is until the very end.

Secret Agent (1936)- I think this is a standout film and it's a very good Hitchcock film. John Gielgud plays a British officer, a famous writer whose death is faked during World War I, and who is sent by someone named "R", head of British intelligence, to Switzerland on a secret mission. Madeleine Carroll (The 39 Steps), plays an agent who poses as his wife. Peter Lorre plays an agent working with them. It's a suspenseful film, with an exciting train-ride ending scene, and while it's not best known of his early films, I still think it's brilliant.

Champagne (1928)- This film was a huge flop and even Hitchcock, in the legendary Hitchcock/Truffaut interview, said the film was dissapointing and that "it had no story to tell", but I still loved it. I thought it was great. Betty Balfour plays a girl who spends all of her father's money. Her father is a Wall Street Journalist. The stock market crashes and now she needs to work to make some money. It's a nice little silent drama that I wouldn't mind seeing again.

Blackmail (1929)- Hitchcock's first sound film, and it's wonderful! It stars Anny Ondra, one of my favorite silent film actresses, with Joan Barry dubbed over her heavy Czech accented voice, as Hitchcock thought her accent was too strong. It's definitely one of my favorites. The film is about a woman, with a Scotland Yard Detective boyfriend. When she almost gets raped by another man, she stabs him with a bread knife (none of it showed on screen), and she won't tell anyone what she did, even when someone else gets accused of the crime. It's definitely in the top 5 and it a fast paced suspense movie, with Hitchcock's longest cameo, where he's getting pestered by a little boy on a train.

Disc 3:

Easy Virtue (1928)- This film isn't my favorite, but it's still a very good silent romance film. A woman named Larita Filton (Isabel Jeans) is married to a drunken man, and once he finds her being seduced by the painter that's painting a portrait of her, they file for divorce. She later becomes a woman of "easy virtue". She moves to the French Riviera, and falls in love/marries a man named John (Robin Irving), although his family, mainly the mother, strongly disapproves of her. I actually really liked this film. It has romance, drama, good acting, and a great Hitchcock cameo. He can be seen about 21 minutes into the movie in a tennis court.

Jamaica Inn (1939)- I didn't really love Jamaica Inn as much as all the others, but it still was a pretty good film. Jamaica Inn is headquarters to a gang of shipwreckers and smugglers, and woman named Mary (Maureen O'Hara) comes to live at the inn, saves the life of Traherne (Robert Newton), and they escape Jamaica Inn and try to stop a shipwreck, and they end up falling in love. This film isn't the most entertaining, but I guess it wasn't that bad at all. It's just definitely not as good as films like The Lady Vanishes and Blackmail.

The Lodger: The Story of the London Fog (1927)- Some say this was Hitchcock's "first actual Hitchcock film". It was his third film and his first suspense. A Jack the Ripper type serial killer named "The Avenger" is murdering young blonde woman every Tuesday night. A woman, Daisy (June), who is a model, lives with her parents in a lodging house and suddenly a lodger (Ivor Novello) arrives at the house, and they all suspect that he is the killer. I'd have to say this film has the worst video quality. It is the oldest film on here, anyway. This is another one in my top 5, because it's very creepy, suspenseful, has Hitchcock's first cameo, and even has a bit of romance in here. It's a wonderful silent film.

The Ring (1927)- This is another love triangle silent film. It's about a boxer (Carl Brisson) who marries Mabel (Lillian-Hall Davis), but she falls for another boxer, and the whole thing becomes complicated. I think this was Hitchcock's only film to use the "n" word. It has a nice climax and is actually a pretty good film. It's not wonderful, but it's very good.

Young and Innocent (1937)- A woman named Christine dies, and her boyfriend Robert (Derrick De Marney) gets accused of the murder. Suddenly, he is on the run with a girl named Erica (Nova Pilbeam). It's another "wrong man accused" Hitchcock film and it's very suspenseful with a wild climax and great acting.

Disc 4:

Juno and the Paycock (1930)- I think that everyone agrees this is Hitchcock's worst film. Not that's it very bad, it's just that it drags on way too long, and it's just boring. I'm not saying it's horrible. It's alright, but I wouldn't see it again. It's about a struggling Irish family who lives in tenemant housing. It has an unresolved ending and it's pretty bland, but then again it's not absolutely awful.

Sabotage (1936)- "Sabotage" is definitely one of my favorites! It's pretty short (1 hour, 15 minutes), but it's fast-paced and is suspenseful. It's about a woman, Mrs. Verloc (Sylvia Sidney), who is married to a man who is part of a European terrorist gang, Karl Verloc (Oscar Homolka). A detective sergeant, Ted Spencer (John Loder) goes undercover to investigate Verloc, and befriends his wife, and her little brother, Stevie (Desmond Tester). This film has a scene that is "ahead of it's time" that has to do with an explosion, and for anyone who hasn't seen it, I won't give it away. "Sabotage" has suspense, drama, a Walt Disney animation, and Sylvia Sidney! Altogether, it's an amazing film.

The Skin Game (1931)- This film tells the story of a feud between an upper-class family, The Hillcrists, and the formerly-working class, The Hornblowers. It's actually pretty good. It has great acting, dialouge, and a nice story, based on a play. It's a good movie.

Number 17 (1932)- Hitchcock called this film "a disaster", and while I like the film, I could see why he said that. The movie is only 1 hour and 4 minutes, and doesn't go anywhere very special, but it srtill has a suspenseful plot. It's about a detective (John Stuart) searching for jewel thieves in an old, abandoned house and suddenly many people get mixed up into it when they all arrive at the house. It's not Hitchcock's best from the 30's, but I like it.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)- Even though I prefer the 1956 Technicolor version with Jimmy Stewaart and Doris Day, this 1934 original is still good. It's about a couple (Leslie Banks and Edna Best), and their daughter (a young Nova Pilbeam) vacationing in Switzerland and when they witness the murder of a French spy. Suddenly, they get mixed up in an assasination plot and their daughter gets taken away from them. My favorite part is the climax at the Royal Albert Hall. It also has great acting from Peter Lorre. Both versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" are amazing.

My favorite thing in the whole entire package is the 19 Hitchcock trailers. It's about 55 minutes and come swith the following trailers:

1. Foreign Correspondent
2. Strangers on a Train
3. I Confess
4. Dial 'M' for Murder
5. North by Northwest
6. To Catch a Thief
7. Torn Curtain
8. Marnie
9. Rebecca
10. Spellbound
11. Topaz
12. The Trouble With Harry
13. Saboteur
14. The Birds
15. Vertigo
16. Rope
17. The Man Who Knew Too Much
18. Rear Window
19. Psycho

Altogether, this is an amazing Alfred Hitchcock package with suspenseful, funny, and romantic films. It's DEFINITELY worth buying for 5 dollars!

My top 3 favorites:

1. The Lady Vanishes
2. Sabotage
3. The Farmer's Wife
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible quality. Defects in disks., June 2, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
I thought, "you can't go wrong at this price." Wrong. Several of the films on the DVD would not play. I exchanged it for a 2nd copy and at least 3 of the films were defective on that DVD and they wouldn't play either. I returned it for a refund--and I'm still waiting. A waste of money and time.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crap-shoot, April 25, 2011
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This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
It is too bad that one needs to preview most of these films before showing them to a group, or even another person at home, as you never know what you're going to get. Many of the disks are not only poorly prepared, taken as direct-transfers from something akin to U-matic masters, but are poorly pressed, meaning that there are scenes that stop, skip, bail out and and simply will not play. I was shocked to see that a whole reel of JAMAICA INN is simply missing, and a crucial scene of the hero, who is tied to a chair, is, in the next scene free and walking about. Indeed, for the die-hard enthusiast; but to see how good most of these are, I'd wait for a better product.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars alfred hitchcock legend, March 1, 2008
This review is from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics (DVD)
good set at a great price.films from late 1920- late 1930's with 2 hitchcock presents episodes from the 1950 and 60'. worth the 5.00 purchase price if only to have all the films in one set.
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Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics
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