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Showing 1-10 of 368 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 389 reviews
on November 4, 2013
I have just received this item. I already had owned all of these movies, all but one in the "Masterpiece" DVD collection, also offered by Universal. My reason to purchase the present set was to own "Vertigo" in the High Definition Blu Ray format. It is one of my favorite movies, and recently named the best of all time by the British Film Institute. Filmed in VistaVision, the large frame format would seem to provide an excellent substrate for high resolution images. Within a few minutes, it was obvious how wonderful this new Blu Ray transfer is, compared to the already excellent DVD version. The mosquito noise, seen on the DVD, has vanished, revealing absolutely crystal-clear images- one can read the license plates on most of the cars, and even the small newsprint Scotty is perusing, while eavesdropping on Kim Novak, as she leaves her apartment. As importantly, color fidelity, and particularly color saturation, is awesome. Certainly, we have to thank Mr. Robet Harris for his miraculous restoration of the negative, which was in such poor condition that it was almost beyond recovery. I know other very alert reviewers have found flaws in the transfer, particularly at the end of the film. But, even allowing these imperfections, the overall improvement in picture quality derived from the Blu Ray transfer is more than worth the purchase price.

My only concern is what may be some very brief dropouts of the audio- I don't know if this is a disk problem or a malfunction of my player. Otherwise, the audio quality is excellent, with a remarkably fine stereophonic reproduction of Bernard Hermann's magical score, which makes an absolutely critical contribution to this extraordinary motion picture.

I really look forward to seeing other disks, including "The Birds," "North by Northwest, "Psycho," and "Rear Window," but even if all of them are unplayable, I'm still glad I purchased the new version of "Vertigo"- for those who love this movie, as the title of this set says, it's an "essential" addition to one's personal library!
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on December 8, 2013
Before Blu-ray, the very best home video version of Vertigo was the anamorphic DVD that Universal sold only as one of the 14 Hitchcock titles in the Masterpiece Collection. (I believe this collection also had the only anamorphic DVD version of Psycho.) It appears that Universal has released its Blu-ray version of Vertigo only as part of two collections: The Masterpiece and The Essentials collections.

I am glad that Universal has made Vertigo available in its far less expensive Essentials Blu-ray collection. In my opinion, Vertigo is not the greatest film ever made, but it is of special interest to me because of its San Francisco locations and overall Bay Area setting. Vertigo, along with Shadow of a Doubt and The Birds may also be of interest to Northern California natives. Anyway, here are my quality ratings of the 5 films contained in the Essentials Collection in order of their appeal:

1. North By Northwest: I have seen nearly every Hitchcock film and this one is my all time favorite. It features outstanding video quality in nearly every scene. The contrast is almost perfect, the picture detail is remarkably-clear and the color is about as good as it gets on Blu-ray. The North By Northwest disk in this collection is exactly the same as the Blu-ray disk from the Warner Bros. 50th Anniversary Edition, with two exceptions: The artwork on the disk is different and the option for selecting a music-only soundtrack is not available on the disk included in the Universal Essentials Collection. If you can do without Warner's 44-page book and the music-only soundtrack, the Universal Essentials Collection is the way to go for this title.

2. Vertigo: This film has very good to excellent color and picture detail. The Blu-ray version is a giant leap ahead of the anamorphic DVD and the sound is greatly improved. In view of the challenges encountered during the restoration of this classic, the quality of this latest Vertigo release is nothing short of amazing. As a result, Kim Novak's entrance in Vertigo is absolutely breathtaking. While it remains one of my favorite movies, Vertigo still has two insurmountable obstacles for me. First, I have trouble believing that shop girl Judy Barton could transform herself into a sophisticated Madeleine Elster. Second, I have no trouble believing that 50 year old 'Scottie' Ferguson could fall for 25 year old Madeleine/Judy, but I don't see how she could have fallen for him.

3. Rear Window: The elaborately-detailed set featured in this film requires fine detail and accurate color. This disk delivers on both counts. There are some variations in picture quality when scenes change, but the overall film presentation is very well done.

4. Psycho: The look of this black and white film is clear and well-detailed, with good contrast and enough film grain to avoid that pasty look so common in other black and white films transferred to Blu-ray.

5. The Birds: The dated special effects didn't transfer well to this high-definition format. Some scenes are very good, but others are not so good. This film is not one of my favorites, so I am not too concerned that it doesn't look all that great overall. Still, the film is highly-watchable and the great improvement over its DVD predecessor is a welcome change. If this is one of your favorite Hitchcock films, you will be able to overlook the flaws.

After reading the one-star reviews from 2011, I finally noticed that Amazon has mixed the Blu-ray and DVD reviews together. If I hadn't noticed this important fact, I would have been under the impression that these five Hitchcock Blu-ray disks from the Essentials Collection were made from out of date, vastly-inferior recycled masters. Then I discovered that Vertigo was first released on Blu-ray in October 2012. I already owned North By Northwest, which was released by Warner Bros. in 2009 and this disk is one of the finest Blu-ray releases that I have ever seen. So, when reading the reviews, keep in mind that many of them are for the DVD collection.
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on August 12, 2015
The new transfers look absolutely gorgeous. You could write a series of novels just containing every reason people need to see these films, and another just on how much pain staking attention to detail went into accessing the original, or earliest possible, assets. These are incredible films and they have survived the transition to the blu ray format wonderfully. This is the best way to see these films in your own home.
- Update
Also worth noting, each film contains an interesting commentary track and a couple extra features. This collection of films is in regular rotation at my house and I find not only the films but the bonus features all fascinating. I really can not stress how beautiful these movies are, especially Vertigo- the shots of late '50s downtown San Francisco are so vivid and vibrant.
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on July 28, 2014
This is the best of the monumental full Hitchcock blu ray set, which has gotten not totally favorable reviews, and remains very expensive... particularly for someone (me) who has already bought every one of them, except for TOPAZE, on dvd, and has all of them, except for that and TORN CURTAIN, on laser disc. So, rather than spring for the whole set, just to finally get a dazzling VERTIGO and REAR WINDOW, this seemed to be the best bet. Had to re-buy another copy of N BY NW, which I didn't really need. But, at it's bargain price, this can't be beat. The three biggies mentioned above look truly dazzling. THE BIRDS looks like Universal mid-60s stuff and PSYCHO looks like black and white Paramount. The movies themselves are great, and the transfers on these titles are really wonderful.
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VINE VOICEon January 20, 2014
I can just remember seeing 'Vertigo' for the first time in the theater when they re-released Hitchcock's classics into the cinema once again during the eighties. What could possibly be a better experience than seeing these five classics ('Rear Window,' 'Vertigo,' 'North by Northwest,' 'Psycho,' and 'The Birds')? Seeing it in the glory of color that it deserves (with the exception of 'Psycho,' which looks lavishly improved for black and white on the big widescreen.. Believe me the restoration "Special Feature" is worth it and a joy to watch. Hearing the other commentaries only embellish the movie experiences that stand for their excellence by themselves. Now I can watch some of my all-time favorite movies in the comfort of my own home. I hope you agree.
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on February 1, 2017
Gave my Film student this set for Christmas. She absolutely loves it. The movie selections, the included documentary and the extras. However, it only gets 4 out of 5 stars because the packaging was damaged. I would have returned if she had told me sooner.
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on April 7, 2014
The movies speak for themselves. I'm giving this 4 stars because for some reason it plays commercials and trailers before the movie menu comes up. The reason I buy movies is so I won't have to watch commercials. I feel cheated. Amazon is great, item arrived next day without selecting next day shipping.
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on June 20, 2015
Very nice overall, but 4 stars because one of the movies freezes at the same moment in the film every time. Therefore, likely to be a problem with digital encoding then problem with our blu-ray player. Otherwise, good product for price.
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on March 22, 2017
Ordered as a gift for my granddaughter who had discovered older, well-made movies. She really enjoyed the set.
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on April 12, 2017
For the price I would of loved to have a sturdier container that housed these films.
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