Blu-ray review: 'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection'

The box set contains 15 of the greatest and not-so-greatest hits of the Master of Suspense.
Published: November 2, 2012
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‘Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection' Blu-ray

“Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” contains five of the greatest hits, several near misses and a couple of outright flops from the Master of Suspense — 15 films in all. But the scariest thing about this box set might be the price tag for many of Sir Alfred's fans (about $225).

Thirteen of the titles in this limited edition are appearing on Blu-ray for the first time. The most dedicated fans of the Portly Prince of Darkness probably already own the five essentials — “Rear Window” (1954), “Vertigo” (1958), “North by Northwest” (1959), “Psycho” (1960) and “The Birds” (1963) — in some video format or other. But the gleaming white tile, flashing blade and dark streams of chocolate syrup in the infamous shower scene never looked more terrifyingly vivid and sharp than they do in high-definition.

Two of the less celebrated older titles are worth owning, too. “Saboteur” (1942) stars Robert Cummings as Hitch's favorite kind of character, the innocent, ordinary man wrongly accused of a horrendous crime and forced to run from the law and the bad guys as well (in this case, Nazi spies) while trying to track down the real villain (longtime Hitchcock associate Norman Lloyd). It's an offbeat wartime nail-biter with a spectacular finale atop the Statue of Liberty. “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), said to be Hitchcock's personal favorite, is an absorbing thriller about a young woman (Teresa Wright) who slowly comes to suspect that her favorite uncle (Joseph Cotten) might be the “Merry Widow” serial killer she's been reading about in the newspapers.