Utpal Borpujari

March 16, 2009

Hitchcock DVDs: A truly collectors set

Alfred Hitchcock is an unquestionable great of world cinema. The man who gave us masterpieces like “Psycho”, “Dial M for Murder”, “Rebecca”, “Vertigo”, “North by Northwest” and “Birds”, is known for his taut screenplays, capacity to play with human psychology and a great penchant for suspense drama.


While his most famous films, made in America, are quite accessible, his earlier films made in Britain are not so well known to present-day movie goers. These are films that provide a glimpse into the early mind of the auteur in the making.


Now, for connoisseurs of cinema in India, Palador has released a box set of five of Hitchcock’s early movies under the “The One World Collection”, all made between 1929 and 1931. The B&W films – “The Manxman”, “Blackmail”, “Murder”, “The Skin Game” and “Rich and Strange” – have all been digitally remastered to rectify the damages they had suffered with time.


What makes this a truly collectors’ item is the fact that it contains one of Hitchcock’s early silent films (The Manxman) as well as Britain’s first full-length feature film with sound (Blackmail). Another film, “Murder!”, a thriller per excellence, set the trend of putting a character’s thoughts on the soundtrack for the benefit of the viewers.


“Rich and Strange” is one of the early Hitchcock masterpieces that shows the impact of sudden wealth on the human psyche, while “The Skin Game” is a classic blackmail story while “Blackmail” had firmly established Hitchcock as a master of suspense.


As a bonus feature, the DVDs contain an Indian short film, Atul Taishete’s “Rewind” that had won the grand jury prize at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival after its premiere at the 2007 Locarno Film Festival.


(Master of Suspense – Alfred Hitchcock’s Collector Edition Boxset; Palador; DVD; Rs 2,000)


(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 15-03-2009)




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