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Hitchcock - The British Years [DVD]

Price: £49.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Hitchcock - The British Years [DVD] + The Early Hitchcock Collection [DVD] [1929] + Hitchcock Collection: 4 DVD Box Set (Rebecca/Notorious/Spellbound/The Paradine Case) [DVD]
Price For All Three: £77.49

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Product details

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 10
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Feb 2008
  • Run Time: 810 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00113NWUK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,335 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Box set containing ten of Hitchcock's most significant pre-war British films. In the silent film 'The Pleasure Garden' (1925), Patsy Brand (Virginia Valli) is a chorus girl at the Pleasure Garden music hall. She meets Jill Cheyne (Carmelita Geraghty) who is down on her luck and gets her a job as a dancer. Jill meets adventurer Hugh Fielding (John Stuart) and they get engaged, but when Hugh travels out of the country, she begins to play around. In 'The Lodger' (1926), Hitchcock's third feature, the foggy streets of London have fallen prey to the 'Avenger' - an unknown killer whose victims are all blonde women. When a handsome lodger (Ivor Novello) arrives at a local boarding house, his suspicious behaviour leads to him being accused of the crimes and hotly pursued by a lynch mob out for justice. But is he really guilty? 'Downhill' (1927) tells the story of Roddy (Novello), first son of the rich Berwick family, who is expelled from school when he takes the blame for his friend Tim's (Robin Irvine) theft. His family sends him away and all of his friends desert him. Roddy decides to go to Paris where he spends what little money he has and starts working as a dancer. He soon becames a victim of alcoholism. Roddy moves to England's colonies but some sailors send him back to his rich family hoping for a reward. 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' (1934) was the first of Hitchcock's classic British spy thrillers. While holidaying in the Swiss Alps with their daughter, Betty (Nova Pilbeam), English couple Bob (Leslie Banks) and Jill Lawrence (Edna Best) are befriended by Frenchman Louis Bernard (Pierre Fresnay). When he is shot by international spies, Louis warns Jill with his dying breath that his killers intend to assassinate a leading diplomat in Britain. However, before Jill and Bob can inform the police, Betty is kidnapped by the spies, who warn the couple that unless they maintain their silence they will never see their daughter again. Peter Lorre makes his English-speaking debut as the charming but psychotic kidnapper, Abbott. Hitchcock later made a big-budget, colour remake of the film with James Stewart and Doris Day. In 'The 39 Steps' (1935), the most celebrated of Hitchcock's British thrillers, adapted from John Buchan's novel, Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) becomes the victim of mistaken identity when a female corpse is dumped in his flat by a spy ring. He tries to track down the true murderers whilst being pursued by the police, and hooks up with an unwilling accomplice (Madeleine Carroll). Their adventure eventually leads them to a music hall, where the secret of the 39 steps is revealed. 'Secret Agent' (1936) tells the story of British soldier and novelist Edgar Brodie (John Gielgud), who returns home during WWI to find that a government agency has faked a report of his death. They get him to change his name to Richard Ashenden and travel to Switzerland to track down and eliminate a German agent. In 'Sabotage' (1936) based on the Joseph Conrad novel, cinema manager Karl Verloc (Oscar Homolka), unbeknown to his wife Sylvia (Sylvia Sidney), is acting as a paid saboteur. After Karl's cutting off of London's electricity supply fails to create the havoc his employers hoped for, Karl is charged with delivering a bomb to Piccadilly Circus. The police, however, are already on his trail. When a young woman is found strangled on the seashore, in the comedy-thriller 'Young And Innocent' (1937), Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) is quickly identified as the chief suspect in the case. The young man protests his innocence, but it seems that only Erica Burgoyne (Pilbeam), the eighteen-year-old daughter of the local police constable, is prepared to believe him. Together, the unlikely duo set out to find the real killer. In 'The Lady Vanishes' (1938), the elderly Miss Froy (May Whitty) goes missing on a train bound for England and her friend, Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood), sets out to find her. However, Iris's attempts are immediately frustrated by her fellow passengers, who question whether Miss Froy ever even existed. Only music scholar Gilbert Redman (Michael Redgrave) is prepared to believe Iris, and together they set about getting to the bottom of the mystery. In 'Jamaica Inn' (1939) - Hitchcock's last British film before leaving for Hollywood and a contract with David O. Selznick - young orphan Mary (Maureen O'Hara) arrives in 18th century Cornwall to live with her Uncle Joss (Banks), the landlord of Jamaica Inn. After finding work as a barmaid, Mary discovers that Joss commands a band of pirates who smuggle contraband from wrecked ships. Mary is further unnerved by the ever-present Justice of the Peace, Sir Humphrey Pengallan (Charles Laughton).

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Shane Brown on 25 July 2008
First and foremost, one must acclaim the release of this boxed set - not least for it contains the first DVD release of either The Pleasure Garden or Downhill in either Britain or America as far as I am aware. What's more this set, together with the one from Optimum, collects together the vast majority of the pre-Hollywood Hitchcock's in generally excellent quality, especially when compared to the public domain releases we have had to put up with for so long.

Also on the plus side, there are some nice interviews with Hitchcock from the 1960s and some archival footage from both the 1930s and the shooting of 1972's Frenzy. The "to camera" introductions by Charles Barr are both concise and illuminating, giving enough information and opinions to please those familiar with this material and yet it is not done in technical or academic lingo that is likely to go over the heads of someone with no knowledge of film studies. It is also good to see Charles Barr giving a more positive view of the films most often maligned from this period, such as Downhill. Many of the prints look and sound very good indeed (particularly the later ones).

However, there are a number of downsides to this particular boxed set. I had "aquired" from sources not to be mentioned, copies of The Pleasure Garden and Downhill in the years that it was unavailable, and it is a pity to see here that neither of these films appear to have been restored. The Pleasure Garden, although watchable, is in the worst shape, with Downhill fairing slightly better. However, both Downhill and the restored version of The Lodger are here with no musical soundtrack, which seems a ludicrous state of affairs in a boxed set that retails for £50 and from a reputable label such as Network.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Bartolomé Mesa on 11 Mar 2008
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I had been waiting for years for the release in decent presentations of some of these great films, particularly The Lodger, available so far on DVD only in terrible transfers of very poor copies. So I was thrilled when I heard of this box-set and ordered a copy immediately. I won't repeat what previous customers wrote about the films and contents of this package, because I generally agree with them. But I must say I am very disappointed with the disc of The Lodger, for me the main attraction of this set. The picture looks very good in the new BFI restoration, considering the state of the film elements available, but how on earth Network and Granada considered acceptable for this release on DVD a mute presentation (with no soundtrack at all) of this gem o a film? Silent films were never silent! Was so expensive to record at least a simple piano score with out of copyright material? This is sloppy if not shameful. You only have to watch the archival copy of the film, included as a bonus, with much poorer picture and just a mediocre soundtrack, to realize how music improve the enjoyment of a silent film. I guess I'll have to wait for Eureka or any other responsible company to give The Lodger the treatment it deserves. Also, the box and all five individual cases share the same rush and cheap looking design. I cannot give this release more than 3 stars. What a shame.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Burciu Mihai on 16 Jan 2009
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First of all let me express my thoughts regarding this Granada-Network release, which I kind of waited a year to purchase.It includes some of the early works of the Master. To begin with these are the titles as described also by the trader: The Pleasure Garden (1925); The Lodger (A Story of the London Fog) (1926); Downhill (1927); The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934); The 39 Steps (1935); Sabotage (1936); Secret Agent (1936); Young and Innocent (1937); The lady vanishes (1938) and The Jamaica Inn (1939).

I have to say that I was more than impressed with The Pleasure Garden which has its roots in the German Expressionism, and within this field in the works of FW Murnau, Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch. Up to a point it seems a melodrama but it becomes more than this... I don't want to spoil for you. Regardless of what one of the fellow reviewers said I should like to point out that the movie has its own soundtrack (but its a normal soundtrack for a silent movie). Also the quality of the image is very good. The cast of the film is entirely American and the movie is made mostly in Germany (Munich).

The Lodger is also a movie which had only been available in poor quality until this collection was issued. It is the first purely Hitchcock movie, as many critics considered although parts of his style can be observed in his first movie even. The theme is the innocent man accused of murder (this leit motif will appear in most of Hitch's work). A peculiar aspect about the Lodger is related with the main character which is played by an idol matine actor from the British silent era, Ivor Novello. Watch it closely because it is fantastic. If you want a more complete version (the purest ever issued) you should also purchase The Premiere Collection Hitchcock from
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nadimir Dal Pra on 19 Mar 2010
Five stars for the films themselves, but it's a pity there are no subtitles, which is something unforgivable at this day and age, hence the overall four stars. The picture quality is very good, better than I would have expected, and documentaries on Mr. Hitchcock are always interesting. It's very refreshing to watch these films considering how everything is so formulaic nowadays.
To watch a black and white film, and a silent one as well, is such a wonderful experience. The non-intrusive soundtrack and a very different way of acting from what we see in these times of over-paid and pretentious actors and actresses make for a very rewarding experience indeed. It's so amazing that very old films like these can look and sound so innovative. Anyone who loves films should buy this collection. It's worth every penny.
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