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Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection

January 21, 2006  |  12:00am
Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection

A heaping helping of the King of Suspense

In his seminal 1983 biography of Hitchcock, Donald Spoto posited that the director’s genius for suspense and the macabre was ?red by his own phobias and obsessions. According to Spoto, the director’s malevolent wit manifested itself offscreen in mean-spirited practical jokes, while his fear of sickness and poverty dogged him his entire life. So while he left few records and granted few candid interviews, Spoto suggested “Hitchcock’s films were indeed his notebooks and journals.” If this is true, the 14 films in this collection dive deeply into a brilliant, twisted mind. Consider Rope, his extended-take, murder-as-social-experiment exercise, or Vertigo, his lush exploration of psychosis and passion. Though speckled with a few lesser efforts, fine new transfers and a wealth of supplementary features (including 14 documentaries and some archival treasures) make it a relative bargain. So while you may not feel the need to repeatedly return to such uninspired efforts as Marnie, Topaz or Torn Curtain, true essentials abound.

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