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Alfred Hitchcock: A Legacy of Suspense


How's 29 hours of Hitch suit you?

Rod Lott August 16th, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock's early films are no stranger to bargain-priced box sets of DVDs, but not usually all in one place. Or almost in one place.

alfredhitchcockalegacyofsuspense

Mill Creek Entertainment's "Alfred Hitchcock: A Legacy of Suspense" collects 18 movies on four discs, for less than $10. The cover reads 20 movies, but two episodes of NBC's "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," while welcome, do not count.

While "early" means "public domain" — in other words, expect no "Psycho" — don't think these aren't worth viewing. While not every feature is a winner, most show the legendary director's genius at work. In particular, 1936's "Sabotage" stands strong in suspense today, as does, unfortunately, its relevance, being about terrorist acts of planting bombs in public places.

Also worth a look are 1934's "The Man Who Knew Too Much," which he later remade to greater effect; the class satire of 1932's "Rich and Strange"; 1935's enduring spy romp, "The 39 Steps"; 1938's more contemporary thriller, "The Lady Vanishes"; and 1926's "The Lodger," a mystery in which the title person may be a serial killer. It's one of the silents that isn't noticeably lagging.

Extras include roughly half an hour of trailers of his more well-known and beloved classics, plus a 20-minute documentary that's mostly footage of a kindly senior citizen in a sweater talking to the camera, like a too-long Turner Classic Movies introduction that lacks polish, but it beats nothing. One curious omission that keeps this from being your one-stop shop of Hitch in his cinematic infancy: 1930's "Murder!" Its disappearance is a crime. —Rod Lott

 
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