Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
An excellent transfer of an underappreciated film
on February 11, 2013
Like most, I'm more familiar with the Jimmy Stewart-starring remake than the 1934 original. And by "more familiar with" I mean I didn't know the original existed until a few years ago. Smarter people than I can do a much better job comparing and contrasting the two versions. But I believe it stands up just fine on its own, even while I still prefer the latter version (though an included essay makes a strong argument for the original).
First, though, the restoration. It looks incredible. The film could be average and the restoration job would be worth five stars alone. Similarly, the sound is as clean and crisp as you could want. Criterion has knocked it out of the park again.
As to the film itself, it's immensely enjoyable. It lacks the nuance of the remake and the polish that Hitchcock developed as a director, but it's worth seeing for Peter Lorre's performance alone, his first in English. A performance he delivered, I might add, without knowing quite what he was saying, as he learned his lines phonetically on account of not actually speaking English at the time.
At the end of the day, it's classic Hitchcock presented by Criterion. What's not to like?