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Universal / 605 Minutes / 1954-1963 / Unrated / Street Date: October 4, 2011
Not much to say here, folks: These are classics, straight and clear. Whether you prefer the heebie-jeebie Psycho to Jimmy Stewart dressing Kim Novak up like his dead ladyfriend in Vertigo, there's no doubt that the five films here don't just showcase Alfred Hitchcock's mastery at the top of his game, they manifest the best of auteur cinema of the period.
But while the inherent narrative and impressionistic value of these films are undeniable, the question remains: Why buy this set? Universal has been pretty good about keeping Hitch in the mix as far as new formats are concerned - Psycho's Blu-ray edition is particularly impressive - so why on Earth would they put a lot of time and energy into a DVD re-release?
It's hard to keep expectations in check with this Essentials Collection box set - if these were all Blu-ray Discs, it would be reason to celebrate. But seeing as most Hitchcock fans already own these movies on DVD, there really is no reason to invest the extra bucks. The movies are some of the best the medium have ever offered up, but as a home media release, this is blah.
You'll literally be paying $50 to get lower-grade editions of North by Northwest and Psycho that you probably already have. No sale.