This year, it’s as if Alfred Hitchcock has buttoned his suit, walked back onto the set, and, with his characteristic deliberateness, uttered ”Good e-veh-ning, ladies and gentlemen” once more. Two new films have swung the spotlight back his way: HBO’s The Girl (which premiered Oct. 20), a drama about the making of The Birds, and Hitchcock (in theaters Nov. 23), starring Anthony Hopkins as the filmmaker during the Psycho era. Meanwhile, Vertigo recently ousted Citizen Kane from the top of Sight & Sound’s respected decennial poll of the greatest films of all time. There’s a reason Hitchcock sticks around in the public consciousness like a knife in the back, and Universal reminds us of that with Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (1942-76, 29 hrs., 19 mins.), which presents 15 of his films on Blu-ray, only two of which have previously been released in that format. Many of the most vital titles are here: Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Rope, and Hitchcock’s professed favorite, Shadow of a Doubt. There are also 15 hours of EXTRAS, which are uniformly excellent and insightful, although the only one that’s truly new is a short documentary placing The Birds on the continuum of Universal monster movies. The films included here aren’t all masterpieces, but even the weakest contain pieces of the Master. The nearly wordless opening defection sequence in Topaz and the brutal extended murder in Torn Curtain are as exquisitely unnerving as anything Hitchcock filmed in his prime. Fans will be rubbing their hands with fiendish glee, and for good reason: It’s no mere MacGuffin. A-
HITCHCOCK MOMENT The famed filmmaker's masterpiece collection is a testament of his uniformly excellent body of work (Everett Collection)
Posted November 2 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
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