I bought this set a while back when Amazon were selling it for £27.99, making each film cost a little over £2 each. This features the same 14 films as the previous Universal Hitchcock DVD box set, with the main difference being that four of the 1960s films; The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain & Topaz are presented in their correct 1.85:1 widescreen ratios for the first time in the UK (to this day the DVD versions of these titles on this side of the pond are still cropped to 4:3 pan & scan). While this is much welcome, the quality of the prints is sadly all over the place. 11 of these films I found to be satisfactory HD presentations, ranging from decent (Rope) to outstanding (Frenzy). Unfortunately there are 3 titles here that make a mockery of the Blu ray medium. The Man Who Knew Too Much looks so faded and damaged I had to keep reminding myself I was watching Blu ray technology rather than a mediocre DVD copy. Hitch's swansong Family Plot is similarly bad, riddled with grain and endless white specs which seems all the more unfathomable when watched after the wonderful job done with Frenzy. Worst of all is Marnie, which often looks like something taped off Channel 5 in the late 90s, so bad is the snowstorm of grain and soft, faded print quality. Thankfully, the rest of the set is good enough to make me glad I purchased the set. The Trouble With Harry's autumnal colours look even more gorgeous here and Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo (the latter slightly marred by more white specs which could easily have removed) are about as good as they are ever likely to look. Thankfully Universal have carried over all the bonus features from the old DVD versions (something they often don't do for their Blu rays). Overall I would rank these prints thus:
SABOTEUR 4/5, SHADOW OF A DOUBT 4/5, ROPE 3/5, REAR WINDOW 4/5, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY 4/5, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH 2/5, VERTIGO 4/5, PSYCHO 5/5, THE BIRDS 4/5, MARNIE 1/5, TORN CURTAIN 4/5, TOPAZ 4/5, FRENZY 5/5, FAMILY PLOT 2/5.
The films are housed in some of the best packaging I've ever seen in a Blu ray box set, with the discs slotting into a beautifully designed book full of original poster artwork. It's hard to believe so many films could fit into such a compact package but somehow they do!
Overall I'm glad to have bought this set as it does contain some of the greatest films from one of our greatest directors in one stylish looking package. It's just a shame that what should have been a five star collection is marred by three very poor transfers which let the side down and therefore I have to reluctantly give it a flawed four stars.