The Alfred Hitchcock Collection: The Best of Hitchcock, Vol. 1 Psycho / Rear Window / Shadow of a Doubt / The Man Who Knew Too Much 1956 Rope / Topaz / Family Plot / Alfred Hitchcock Presents Vol. 2
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He was the master of suspense and a prolific filmmaker whose career spanned 50 years, and now you have the remarkable opportunity to collect Hitchcock's finest in two volumes. Volume 1 includes Family Plot, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho, Rear Window, Rope, Shadow of a Doubt, Topaz, and four episodes from Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "Revenge," "Breakdown," "Wet Saturday," and "Mr. Blanchard's Secret." With frighteningly fantastic DVD extras, such as "making of" documentaries, storyboards, photos, scripts, original trailers, censored scenes, and more. Each volume has 8 DVDs. Color and b&w.
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1) Shadow of a Doubt- Lots of mystery and more than a little suspense. One of my favorite Hitchcock films. Five stars.
2) Rope- A philosophical murder story in which the question of whether some people should be allowed to kill their inferiors with impunity is revisited. The outcome was never really in doubt as one of the killers did not have the nerves of steel needed to successfully follow through on what was planned. Not a favorite. Two stars.
3) Rear Window- One of Hitchcock's best known films. Enforced idleness allows Jimmy Stewart to give rein to voyeuristic tendencies. There is murder, romance, and some dark comedy, but not enough action for me. Four stars.
4) The Man Who Knew too Much- A thriller with suspense, murder, treachery being the main elements. I like the Moroccan setting of the first part of the movie and the surprise ending. Five stars.
5)Psycho- Perhaps Hitchcock's most famous film. Believe it or not, I saw it for the first time after I bought this set. Lots of horror. Good plot, great acting, and magnificent camerawork. The Bates Motel and Psycho have earned their place in film history. Five stars.
6)Topaz- Lots of critics did not like it, I think it is a magnificent Cold War thriller. Here again the story and acting are first rate. I often felt as though I was in Cuba myself during the spying sequences. Loads of romance and suspense. Five stars.
7) Family Plot- To me, a very silly movie. Karen Black's character is obnoxious as far as I am concerned and boyfriend Bruce Dern is the bumbling dolt his character calls for. The worst part to me is that the story line is not credible. I suppose its meant to be a dark comedy, and there are a few light moments, but overall I was bored. Best scene is when the brakes fail in Dern's car and he struggles to stay on the road. Two stars.
8)Alfred Hitchcock Presents #2- Four Episodes from the old show. The best are Revenge and Breakdown. Three stars.
These films, as well as those contained in the companion set, should be regarded as the foundation to any Hitchcock film collection. The problem is that both have been withdrawn from the market and have become collectors items. I got mine for less than half the price I last saw it here. The solution is to buy Alfred Hitchcock-The Masterpiece Collection instead. It contains nearly everything the Best of Alfred Hitchcock Collection Vols 1 and 2 contain at less than half the price. If you can't get this, go for that!
Rope deserves special mention. It was filmed in its entirety as a continuous shot. Watch it for the chilling, engaging plot the first time. Watch it for the compelling direction. In a movie era dominated by montage, Rope stands out in stark contrast.
Far more impressive is Hitch's best film ever and possibly the greatest film ever made. Forget CITIZEN KANE, CASABLANCA and GONE WITH THE WIND, REAR WINDOW (1954) is a masterpiece of voyeurism and thrilling suspense. Few movies have affected me like this, and James Stewart gives such a convincing performance and Grace Kelly is fabulous. Stewart is photographer L B. Jefferies, stuck in a wheelchair in his apartment with nothing to do but stare out the window, until one day he starts seeing things that possibly point to a murder. In an Oscar-worthy role, Stewart really ensconces himself in the role of Jefferies, and Raymond Burr is terrifyingly superb as Lars Thorwald, the man who may or may not have murdered his wife. Filming the entire movie on the one apartment set should feel claustrophobic, but its not, in fact, it feels more elaborate and fantastic than other experimental thrillers like 39 STEPS. A fantastic movie masterpiece. A remake of the 1938 original, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1955) is another fantastic Jimmy Stewart film, and Hitch's strong directorial style shows through in many of the film's tense action scenes.
Slammed by some critics for being vulgar and disgusting upon the film's release in 1960, PSYCHO is the first 'slasher' film, but it's a lot more than that. Who ever heard of setting your story around an actress, providing an engrossing story, problems, solutions, then killing off your main character 25 minutes through? Robert Bloch's fascinating book is a great starting point for a movie, giving everything what it needs, and Anthony Perkins gives a bone-chillingly-horrifying turn as Norman Bates, the deeply disturbed young man with parental problems. Bernard Herrman's unnervingly creepy score wracks up the terror. The famous shower scene alone is worth watching the film for. Unlike other slashers, PSYCHO actually does things artfully, with unique camera moves and amazing film techniques. TOPAZ (1969) is less impressive, with some nice performances, but this was the first film to signal Hitch's unfortunate decline in quality, and FAMILY PLOT, his last film in 1976 is far from his best movies. However, Bruce Dern gives a solid performance, and surprisingly, this is a fitting swansong for the director whose career spanned almost 50 years and 60 amazing films. Alfred Hitchcock will always be remembered forever as the master of suspense, inspiring young filmmakers for generations and scaring the pants of audiences for years to come. This is an essentail DVD collection for film fans