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Old 26-03-2005, 19:37   #1
Werdna007
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Taking the plunge and buying some Hitchcock

After picking up a recent R2 copy of North by NorthWest I figured it was time I blessed my DVD collection with some other Hitchcock films.

I picked out the R1 versions of:

Rear Window
Vertigo
The Birds
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Rope
Psycho

Anybody have some positive or negative comments about my choices ?
(bearing in mind I love to watch movies more than once - and often force the
wife to do the same )
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Old 26-03-2005, 20:14   #2
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"Rope" is more interesting as a technical experiment than as a film but it's gripping enough and James Stewart is on good form.

Otherwise, a good selection. I'd personally have swapped his 1940s masterpiece "Notorious" for "Rope" and "Marnie" for "The Birds" but that's my personal choice. I can't seriously fault most of the ones you've gone for.
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Old 26-03-2005, 21:14   #3
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Good selection. Absolutely adore Vertigo, closely followed by Rear Window and The Birds. Agree with Mike for Notorious, an excellent 40's Hitchcock. After watching these, may be worth looking at some of Hitch's 30's films like The 39 Steps, the original Man Who Knew Too Much and The Lady Vanishes (good Criterion editions on both, though TLV has a better German DVD.) I really hope you enjoy these films. My Vertigo and Rear Window DVD's have been re-watched many times. The R1 presentations of these DVD's are good, Psycho is non-anamorphic and yert has more extras then the R2 edition (including an excellent doco), and I believe (though I maybe wrong) that the R1 Vertigo is non-anamorphic but has a better picture quality and is less cropped. The Birds also is presented in its (again I believe) OAR but the R2 is cropped to P&S. I hope this helps
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Old 26-03-2005, 21:55   #4
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Yeah good selection, I would add Strangers on a Train & Spellbound to what's already been mentioned.

If you want to try some early Hitchcock, I highly recommend The 39 Steps or The Lady Vanishes
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Old 26-03-2005, 22:58   #5
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I've always thought that 'Vertigo' and 'Psycho' are his best two films, so that's my favourites covered already. I've always thought that the word perfect couldn't (or shouldn't) be applied to cinema but 'Psycho' is pretty damn close. It's one film, IMHO at least, where every word of dialogue, every note of music and every single shot is spot on. Someone on the IMDB said that 'it would be great to see it for the first time again.' Nicely put I think..
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Old 26-03-2005, 23:42   #6
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that reminds me, got a double of Hitchcock plus documentary i taped from BBC2 a few months back to watch. Will make an excellent Sunday tomorrow

Is the picture on R1 Vertigo really better ? Im not sure what the intended look is - the skin tones certainly look more natural on the R1, but ive always rememebed Vertigo looking particularly vivid in colour saturation. I dont own either, so not sure which one to get.

After the other nigts viewing of Rear Window ... is now on my to-buy list

The Man Who Knew Too Much is on ITV sometime this week for those who are interested. Looks like ITV are maybe running a Hitchcock season.
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Old 26-03-2005, 23:48   #7
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Although you'll be double dipping with NbNW, treat yourself to the Warners R1 boxset Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection ; there's not a dud in there, and I absolutely love Foreign Correspondent in particular.

BTW, this is a wonderful site for info (if you don't already know)
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Last edited by John Hodson; 26-03-2005 at 23:52.
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Old 27-03-2005, 00:18   #8
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Any recommended books about Hitchcock and his movies ?

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Old 27-03-2005, 09:59   #9
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I'm about to re-read Hitchcock's Secret Notebooks, which is a fascinating look at the creative process in the Master's own hand.
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Old 27-03-2005, 10:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyserSoze
Is the picture on R1 Vertigo really better ? Im not sure what the intended look is - the skin tones certainly look more natural on the R1, but ive always rememebed Vertigo looking particularly vivid in colour saturation. I dont own either, so not sure which one to get.
I'm just going on the review from DVD Beaver's Comparison of the R1 and the R4 in which they recomended the R1 for sharper picture (though in my opinion it looks a lot duller) and the fact that the R4 was cropped. I presume the R2 (the copy I own) was taken from the same master as the anamorphic R4 but I'm not sure. I am happy with my R2 for now
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Old 27-03-2005, 11:04   #11
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A few years back I fetched up in South Dakota and toured all the Dances With Hitchcock plus How The West Was Won locations. And you know what? At Mount Rushmore one of the official tour guides clearly within my unwaxed earshot claimed that apart from one or two general shots, the whole monument was recreated in a studio . . . in JAPAN! I kid you not. He swore blind that was true.
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Old 27-03-2005, 11:12   #12
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You're spot on with 'Rope' - it is probably my third favourite Hitchcock and manages to reproduce the claustrophobic tension of 'Rear Window'.

John Dall's performance is a treat.

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Old 28-03-2005, 13:19   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyserSoze
Any recommended books about Hitchcock and his movies ?
Among the many books on Hitchcock good ones to start out with are Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock's Films by Robin Wood and The Art of Alfred Hitchcock by Donald Spoto. The best of the biographies is the recent Alfred Hitchcock - A Life in Darkness and Light by Patrick McGilligan.




Good choices to start out with Andrew Holland. As a Hitchcock fan I'd probably find it more easy to list a small handful of films that were duds, but even they contain worthwhile moments. Of the films you have chosen only The Man Who Knew to Much remake and Rope aren't out and out masterpieces, but both are still among Hitchcock's more important films.

As for early British films, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes are the most famous, but Blackmail, the first version of The Man Who Knew to Much, Sabotage (very underrated and a personal favourite of mine) and Young and Innocent are all essential works.

Of his 40's films Notorious and Shadow of a Doubt are the best, closely followed by Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Lifeboat, Spellbound and Rope.

With the 50's films you've already got his best work covered with North by Northwest, Rear Window and Vertigo (like for many others my favourite among his films). Other essential films include Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry and The Man Who Knew to Much.

After two last masterpieces, Psycho and The Birds, the 60's saw the start of his decline as a director but Marnie is another one of my personal favourites. It makes for an intriguing companion piece to Vertigo in both mood and subject matter. Torn Curtain and Topaz are among Hitchcock's weakest efforts though the former contains one of his best set pieces.

He made two more films in the 70's of which the shockingly cruel Frenzy is the more interesting one. Family Plot had all the ingredients for a return to form, but was undone by a overly jokey approach and relentless mugging from his cast.

Last edited by Reno; 28-03-2005 at 13:51.
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Old 28-03-2005, 13:22   #14
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Even "Topaz" has that great Karin Dor death scene and a fine performance from Roscoe Lee Browne. I rather like it but then I'm a sucker for Cold War spy thrillers.
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Old 28-03-2005, 13:31   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Even "Topaz" has that great Karin Dor death scene and a fine performance from Roscoe Lee Browne. I rather like it but then I'm a sucker for Cold War spy thrillers.
Yes, it's a wonderful moment. Maybe I should give this one another try, I've only seen it twice and that's a long time ago.Apparently the DVD contains all the three alternative endings, which sounds interesting.
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Old 28-03-2005, 13:58   #16
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Shadow of a Doubt is a must-buy imho...
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Old 28-03-2005, 14:09   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouBarlow
Shadow of a Doubt is a must-buy imho...
Indeed; part of the still bargain priced Hitchcock Collection at Amazon.
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Old 29-03-2005, 15:48   #18
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BTW The 39 Steps (Carlton) is £2.99 at the HMV sale, so it would be rude not to add that to your list...

"Hello, its a flock of detectives"

Favorite line of any Hitch film. Ever.
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Old 29-03-2005, 17:34   #19
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Hey John a big for posting that Hitchcock collection link, I've not seen that set before and for only £23 what a uber bargain

Last edited by Brandt; 29-03-2005 at 17:38.
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Old 29-03-2005, 17:40   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandt
Hey John a big for posting that Hitchcock collection link, I've not seen that set before and for only £23 what a uber bargin
You're welcome; Set 2 is the same price, but be aware that some of the films therein are either cropped or open-matte.
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