Classic Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much / The 39 Steps / The Lady Vanishes / Foreign Correspondent: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
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Experience four of the greatest films by the Master of Suspense in this deluxe box set from the Criterion Collection. It includes three of Alfred Hitchcock s most beloved movies from the 1930s, when he was still working in England the arresting spy thrillers The Man Who Knew Too Much and The 39 Steps and the exhilarating railway mystery The Lady Vanishes as well as one of the first films he made upon arriving in Hollywood, the sensational tale of journalistic intrigue Foreign Correspondent. Each comes digitally restored and with a bounty of supplemental features.
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The set includes:
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934) - A crackerjack spy thriller featuring Peter Lorre in his first English-speaking role, The Man Who Knew Too Much is presented on Blu-ray with the following terrific supplements: an audio commentary by film historian Philip Kemp, an interview with Guillermo del Toro, an extensive interview with Hitchcock from 1972 (The Illustrated Hitchcock), audio excerpts from François Truffaut's legendary 1962 interviews with the Master of Suspense, and a restoration demonstration. The film's 1.33:1 transfer is beautiful, looking better than it ever has on any home video format.
THE 39 STEPS (1935) - One of Hitchcock's pulse-pounding wrong-man classics, Criterion's Blu-ray of The 39 Steps includes the following extras: an audio commentary by Hitch scholar Marian Keane, a documentary about Hitchcock's prewar career (Hitchcock: The Early Years), footage from a 1966 television interview with Hitchcock, the complete broadcast of the 1937 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation, a visual essay by Hitchcock scholar Leonard Leff, original production design drawings, and more audio excerpts from Truffaut's 1962 interviews with the legendary director. The film's terrific 1.34:1 transfer is a considerable upgrade from previous home-video releases.
THE LADY VANISHES (1938) - A fast-paced, comedic thriller that remains hugely entertaining today, The Lady Vanishes is supplemented by the following extras on Criterion's Blu-ray: an audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder, a 1941 feature-length adventure film called Crook's Tour featuring Basil Redford and Naunton Way as their characters from The Lady Vanishes, a video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes by Hitch scholar Leonard Leff, a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promo art, and more excerpts from Truffaut's interviews. The 1.34:1 transfer is stunning, to say the least.
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) - One of Hitchcock's first Hollywood films, a brilliant espionage thriller, Foreign Correspondent includes these extras: a piece on the film's visual effects with FX expert Craig Barron, an interview with writer Mark Harris called Hollywood Propaganda and World War II, an interview with Hitchcock from a 1972 episode of The Dick Cavett Show, a radio adaptation of the film from 1946 starring Joseph Cotten, the film's trailer, and a 1942 Life magazine "photo-drama" by Hitchcock called "Have You Heard? The Story of Wartime Rumors." Criterion's 1.37:1 transfer for the film on Blu-ray is about as close to perfect as it gets.
You don't need me to tell you how good these movies are. This is Hitchcock we're talking about and these are some of the most important and enduring works in his filmography. Criterion's presentation of these films on Blu-ray is pure class and probably the best we'll ever see of them on any home-video format.