PIC of the Week – Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection
Article series by Ray Schillaci
How could I consider anything else with the release of Universal Studios Home Entertainment Blu of Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection. Imagine Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, North By Northwest, Vertigo, Saboteur, Rope, Shadow of a Doubt, The Trouble With Harry, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Frenzy and Family Plot. This superstar collection is not without its blemishes (some of Hitchcock’s later work – Frenzy, Family Plot). But, they are still an interesting piece of cinema history. Also, this collection has a bevy of talent including Paul Newman, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Janet Leigh, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak, and too many more to mention.
Some of these films have never been available on Blu-ray, and Universal has provided exquisite presentations. They have also included fifteen hours worth of bonus features including production notes, original, alternate and censored endings, screen tests, storyboards and so much more. Also provided is an exclusive collectible booklet. Running time is a whopping 1761 minutes!
Universal did put out a handsome box set of five of Hitchcock’s “essential” films back in 2011. While MGM put out an absolute gorgeous box set of eight films further back in 2008 that included some seminal works: Rebecca, Lifeboat and The Lodger. But this new collection is very impressive even if it does not include the picture that garnered Hitch the most nominations for an Oscar, Rebecca. And you could always purchase this Universal set and get the Criterion Collection of Rebecca, which happens to be the best presentation ever.
But Universal’s Hitch box set doesn’t stop there. The Big U has also included eleven gems from the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. This includes the very first episode from the first season, Revenge, starring Vera Miles (Psycho). So, if you have any doubts due to the absence of Rebecca or Lifeboat, this new box set release provides a hefty amount of reasons to purchase the near “Ultimate Collection.”
Once again, I have to give a shout out to a runner-up. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Blu of Spider-Man: Homecoming. I am an unabashed Marvel fan, but not to the point of crowing about the tragically-conceived The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Hulk. That being said, I found this new Spider-Man a great deal of fun, but not without issues. Die hard Spidey fans were not thrilled with a younger Aunt May, a missing Uncle Ben (being a prime motivator for Spidey being who he is), a sidekick knowing Spidey’s identity, and star Tom Holland playing more Spidey than Peter Parker, showing little deviation. Put those small gripes aside, and the film is a joyful ball of energy and gives hope for a better line-up for future Spidey adventures.