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Review: This Hitchcock set is the cornerstone to any DVD library

Posted Friday, October 21, 2005 at 4:35 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

Alfred Hitchcock is a film icon. His name is its own genre. Let me say that again: Hitchcock represents the man as well as his own brand of filmmaking: the psychological thriller. (The only contemporary director that you could even possibly say that about is Quentin Tarantino.)

Hitchcock is and will always be the Master of Suspense. And every master needs a cabinet filled with his or her masterworks, thus Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection has just been released on DVD.

Hitchcock's cabinet (a faux-velvet black box in this case) is filled to capacity. The set contains 14 of his films on 15 discs -- the last is a DVD of bonus features. There's also a 36-page booklet included with facts on each film.

Consider the titles: Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy, and Family Plot. You'd be hard pressed to find a rotten apple in the bunch.

Don't make the mistake that this is a complete collection. There are several omissions. North By Northwest, Dial M for Murder, and Strangers On A Train are the most notable. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection represents his films for Universal. (The other three mentioned above are available on DVD separately from Warner Bros.) While it isn't complete, it is a more than worthy testament to this man's genius.

The set contains a tremendous amount of bonus features on each film with most popular movies in the bunch having the most extras. Documentaries, alternate endings, a couple of commentaries, newsreels, et al give you an overabundance of information on the films and their maker. It's like an entire course on Hitchcock at a prestigious film school.

If you're a film in even the slightest manner, be sure to put this at the top of your holiday wish list. Recommendation: Buy It