Edward Karam
September 17, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A look at Alfred Hitchcock’s new boxed set

These seven DVD premieres from Warner (also available individually) feature four vintage Hitchcocktails of thrills, romance, and sophisticated wit: The ripsnorting Foreign Correspondent finds Joel McCrea as a journalist folling freedom’s enemies in London and Amsterdam. In Suspicion, sponging cad Cary Grant marries nalve, rich Joan Fontaino and seems to be planning her funeral. Dial M for Murder is a cat-and-mouse thriller with adulteress Grace Kelly pinned to a murder rap that suave hubby Ray Milland has engineered. In the underrated Stage Fright, plucky Jane Wyman disguises herself to help her boyfriend prove that a theater diva (a juicy Mariene Dietrich) framed him for her husband’s murder. The remainder are anomalies: Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a solid screwball comedy wherein Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard find out they’re not really married, and she kind of likes it that way. But in the soapy I Confess, priest Montgomery Clift is framed for murder, and in the Kalkaesque, truth-based Wrong Man, Henry Fonda plays a musician arrested for holdups he didn’t commit. Both are well-acted but humorless and hampered by passive heroes. Warner also throws in a remastered Strangers on a Train and a special edition of the incomparable North by Northwest. Each film has an informative making-of doc — Interviewees include Peter Bogdanovich, Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell (Alfred’s daughter), and stars like Farley Granger. Strangers, North, Foreign: A Suspicion, Dial M: A- Fright, Smith: B+ I Confess: C+

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