Beautifully presented set in gorgeous box with original movie poster pictures on each side of the pages. Presented as a book with very strong cardboard type pages which the disc sits inside like envelope style (a little disappointing as you will find it hard not to smudge finger prints onto discs) apart from that am happy with the packaging. I am very impressed with some of the transfers especially considering their age (Sabateur) but equally a little disappointed with others where I would certainly not be able to say that it's stunning HD clarity, because it certainly is not. However, if like me you have been holding off buying most of Hitchcocks movies waiting for Blu ray then this is probably the best way to purchase, certainly price wise. However if you are hoping for the quality of picture seen in other Hitchcock Blu ray releases....ie. North by Northwest or Rebecca (USA release but is actually region free) which are fantastic HD transfers (in my opinion) then you may be disappointed with some of this box set. That said, as a Hitchcock fan I am still pleased to own this set for the pure nostalgia of it and I now have most of his films on blu-ray, really wish we could get The Lady Vanishes though!
Yes, there are problems with the set, but although regrettable, they are not insurmountable. Most disks are fine - although only a couple have the "wow factor" or display over-hyped claims on the box. I have now watched several and sampled the others on my projection system. Okay "Frenzy" isn't a reference copy, but it's still better than the DVD release. Despite reviewers criticisms of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" I found it an impressive transfer and better than any previous release. However "Family Plot" - not a movie I have ever liked - is, quite frankly, very poor and if not the worse blu ray transfer I have ever seen, it comes very close. "Marnie" - which I love - is not as bad but very disappointing I'm afraid. There is so much grain swirling around it's almost as bad as the "Sleepy Hollow" Blu Ray transfer - and that's saying something! However, over complaints about this blu ray , and some others too, DVD Beaver has provided several fascinating insights and statistics which suggest the reason for the "problems" and infer that the transfers in The Masterpiece Collection are about as good as you will get on blu ray because problems with the source material become more apparent in HD. However, "bluray.com", is less forgiving and does an excellent disc by disc analysis which is far from encouraging and I really believe that my old DVD of "Marnie", for instance, is far better than this new release. It has good definition, no intrusive grain and wonderful colour saturation - and I have just noticed at the beginning of one chapter on the blu ray - a scene where Marnie is in her office - the spoken dialogue is mute although the subtitles indicate what is meant to be heard! What is that about?
That said, the classic movies in the set are generally good and as I purchased the collection as an Amazon Black Friday deal for £60, I'm happy enough as the discs work out at about £4 each. However if companies really want to promote blu ray, the faster they ensure their releases are all properly done, the better - just look at the mess Hammer have made with so many recent blu rays! That a major company like Universal has now done the same, and released some of these discs in such a shoddy condition, is a bigger mystery than any found in poor Hitch's films. He deserves better!
on 24 October 2015
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.
on 27 March 2014
I am blown away by the work done on the restoration of these great classics of the Master. For some of these movies, the remastering and digitization job is simply breath taking. Awesome, crisp image and riveting sound. Hard to believe that they are over fifty years old. And it is a great deal as well. Most of Hitchcock's classics are there, barring North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief, which were both shot at the same period.
on 19 June 2015
Perhaps the best filmmakers boxset I have ever purchased. Alfred Hitchcock has blown my mind with his various techniques in cinema. Having seen half of the pictures in this boxset so far, Saboteur has to be most favourite.
I specifically like how the boxset is arranged like a book, it makes each film easy and quick to get to unlike a lot of boxsets that have various flaps to open and things to stretch out which I find to be quite annoying.
Each picture has it's own special features which I also find to be extremely fascinating being an aspiring filmmaker myself, they are very insightful into how each picture were made.
A brilliant buy for any Alfred Hitchcock fans.
on 22 September 2015
Considering much of what draws us to the cinema nowadays can be so greatly disappointing and so effects-laden, it makes a refreshing diversion to return to an era where the underlying story of movies drove the experience, rather than what can be done on a blue screen. For that reason, and for the presentation of this box set in terms of packaging, this Alfred Hitchcock review is an excellent purchase.
First of all, it is neatly and attractively packaged, much like a book, which literally "reads" as you turn each page. Just the right amount of information is included in movie-poster style and you aren't supplied with unnecessary plastic packaging for each Blu-Ray.
Once you begin to watch each film, the Blu-Ray digital transfer is excellent - for my money the best so far in those we've watched from this set has to be Rear Window. The images are crystal clear, audio soundtracks are excellent and on a decent TV the opportunity this gives you to observe life from the Hitchcock era is voyeuristic in itself.
I feel it inappropriate to review the movies here, as this review is really about the product and presentation of this box set in it's entirety. If you want to know the rough premise of each movie contained within this set, it is perhaps better to read some other Amazon customer's reviews of each of these, but The Birds and Rear Window top my personal list. Yes there are some critical Hitchcock works absent from this collection (Dial M for Murder, North By Northwest, Strangers on a Train, etc) but this forms the hub of a wonderful canon from a charismatic director.
If biographical portrayals such as Anthony Hopkin's recent effort in "Hitchcock" are to be believed, he often drove his leading actors to the edge of sanity on some shoots, but that didn't stop many coming back for more; James Stewart in particular. Thus this set is an excellent set for anyone wanting to dive into Hitchcock for the first time, or even for those wishing to see fully restored digital transfers of some well-loved cinematic masterpieces. And for the reduced price of £14.99 I paid in Amazon Prime's Black Friday sale, this was an absolute steal.
on 27 August 2014
Top quality for this edition of films I had already in DVD (and there'is the original VistaVision intro!). The box is pleasant and very practical.
on 8 March 2013
Universal should be ashamed for the sloppy job of the MARNIE transfer in BluRay. The rest in this series are excellent to very good, however the dismissal of Marnie being up to par with the rest of them brings the rating down.
on 18 November 2015
As a total Hitchcock fan this was a must , i just got my first Blu-ray player and i had Amazon vouchers burning my hand , so a no brainer really . Of course i already had the DVD box set ,so it was all about the frame sizes of The Birds and Marnie and the extras .
Both of those films and Psycho are now full frame and not 4/3 , the extras are much the same plus more then the dvds , the best bits are the Truffaut interviews that correspond with that movie , wonderful .
But really the stand out is Psycho , its so much better than ive seen it before the sound and picture are superb and the extras are almost another film on their own , you get too see Alfred Hictcock Presents episode Lamb too the Slaughter , which Hitch himself filmed just before, i think , he shot Psycho , they both end with the starring eyes of the killer , i Hichcock obsession at the time.
Really this should be Psycho on Blu-ray and some other great films thrown in for free .
on 31 December 2012
I think one has to consider the price relative to the value of this collection. A Criterion quality re-mastered transfer to blu ray it is not but it does provide a quite serviceable blu ray transfer on most of the Hitchcock hollywood era titles and so much more affordable too. I bought this collection through amazon uk for US$87 when it was being sold on amazon US for over US$200. Ok, I had to wait three weeks for it to arrive to my US home by way of Royal Mail and USPS but patience has its virtues and I am very pleased overall with this purchase. To round out your Hitchcock collection you may want to purchase separately North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and of course "The 39 Steps" and "The Lady Vanishes". I already had the Criterion names so I was able to complete my collection with this purchase.