Ultra HD: Highly Recommended
4 Stars out of 5
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Release Date: May 10th, 2022
Movie Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Parental Guidance Suggested
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection Vol. 2 (Saboteur / Shadow of a Doubt / The Trouble with Harry / Marnie / Family Plot) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Review Date June 1st, 2022 by
Overview -

Universal Studios delivers fans another dish of classic Hitchcock films to enjoy fully restored for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Featuring SaboteurShadow of a DoubtThe Trouble With Harry, Marnie, and his final film Family Plot, this set of five films represents a wide swath of Hitchcock's early, middle, and late-career offerings. Even with the weaker entries, this is a terrific collection with amazing native 4K HDR10 transfers, clean audio, with an interesting selection of archival bonus features for each film. If you aim to buy them all, this collection box set is a nice easy, and convenient package to get everything all in one shot. Highly Recommended

OVERALL
Highly Recommended
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    5 x 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + 5 x Blu-ray + Digital
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    HDR10
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.37:1, 1.85:1
    Movie Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Release Date: May 10th, 2022

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

Saboteur - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review:

"Out of fifty-four feature-length films by one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, ranking and comparing each of them is quite the challenge, but for me, Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur would probably fall somewhere in the middle of his oeuvre. Still, the espionage thriller is thoroughly entertaining and a fun watch, largely thanks to the performances and chemistry of Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. And of course, Hitchcock deserves a great deal of credit for working his magic behind the camera, as does cinematographer Joseph A. Valentine for making it all look gorgeous. However, the weakest aspect arguably comes from the plot, which follows the familiar "hero falsely accused" premise seen in many of his films, most notably in The 39 StepsThe Wrong Man and would later perfect in North by Northwest. And although Hitchcock manages some excellent moments of suspense, especially the ballroom scene at Ms. Sutton's swanky home, there are very few surprises in both the story and the film." 4/5 

Shadow of a Doubt - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: 

"Some of my favorite childhood movie-loving memories are forever associated with Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, which is not the central reason for the high rating, just to be clear. But every time I watch this magnificent psychological thriller, I'm instantly whisked away to the 1980s. Every Sunday afternoon, I would sit in front of our 25" Zenith console television, which was considered massive at the time, with the fake wood paneling all around and decorative metal handles along the bottom. I was introduced to a whole host of classic black-and-white films in those days, like Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, William Wyler's Roman HolidayUniversal's iconic monsters, and, of course, many of Hitchcock's indelible favorites. And on one such lazy Sunday, I first met the young impressionable Charlie (Teresa Wright) and her dubiously strange Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten)." 5/5 

The Trouble with Harry - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review:

"Well past the point of needing to prove himself with another mastful suspense hit at the box office starring the latest and greatest actor and actress, Hitchcock made one for himself. With a cast of professional character actors, he didn’t lean on a rising star or starlet. Instead of aiming for another showpiece in thrills and suspense, he aimed to bring audiences his naturally dark sense of humor. The Trouble with Harry was the kind of plot and story that Hitchcock found funny, so he made a movie. While the film received fair to positive reviews at release, it was a box-office dud in the United States. After its theatrical run ran out with a whimper, it was one of five films that reverted back to him and were rarely if ever seen again for nearly thirty years. Once the Hitchcock estate let the home video rights roll in the 80s for the growing VHS market, like Harry Worp a new audience exhumed this buried gem and decided to take another look at it." 4/5 

Marnie - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: 

"Traditionally, Marnie marks the end of Alfred Hitchcock's peak years, that period in the 1950s and early 60s when the legendary director produced what are considered his best-known and most widely acclaimed productions. His final four films are not mentioned or immediately recalled as often as his earlier classics — at least, not outside his most dutiful fan circles. Nevertheless, the psychological thriller is another tightly structured, elaborate tale of mystery by the aptly-named "Master of Suspense," and it is part of a strong finish in the waning years of one of the most illustrious and highly-distinguished filmmakers in the history of cinema. Loosely based on the 1961 novel of the same name, the plot centers around an enigmatic woman, the titular Marnie (Tippi Hedren), a serial embezzler who changes her identity after each crime. One of her employers, Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), eventually catches her, but rather than turn her in to the authorities, he blackmails her into marriage, which is where the film begins to unravel." 3.5/5 

Family Plot - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

"Much of the dark humor in Hitchcock's swan song centers around Harris and Dern's squabbling couple as they haphazardly stumble from one clue after another. While Blanche continues milking the guilt-ridden heiress for more details with silly séances, George's second-rate private eye schtick actually works at obtaining more concrete information, like the empty grave of Edward Shoebridge and the person who purchased the tombstone, Joseph Maloney (Ed Lauter). However, many of the jokes fall flat or feel perversely strained, such as the car wreck on the mountain road, and it's never clear if Devane's jeweler is meant to be a farcical caricature. Whatever the case, the fun, ultimately, is in seeing the foursome finally clash in the end, and Ernest Lehman's script (North by Northwest) feels like a cheap, trashy pulp thriller purchased at the grocery store aisle where despite predicting which couple will come out on top, we're still genuinely surprised by how they succeeded." 4/5 

 

 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection Vol 2 brings five more fan favorites from the Master of Suspense to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. A ten-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + digital set, each film scores a 4K and 1080p presentation disc - all region free. The discs are housed in book packaging with each disc sliding into its own culvert between the cardstock pages with book slipcover. For past releases this kind of packaging never bothered me, I'd never had issues with it before, but after the delivery guy left it out in the 90-degree sun standing up, each of my discs had slipped further into the pages and came out with some glue staining. A little cleaning solution took it right off and I had no playback issues for any of the discs. Taking the discs out of the book and pressing the pages closed again and letting it rest resealed the packaging and I haven't had a problem since. Each 4K disc loads to a static image main menu with basic navigation options with bonus features menu along the right side. 

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    5 x 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + 5 x Blu-ray + Digital
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    HDR10
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.37:1, 1.85:1
    Movie Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Release Date: May 10th, 2022

Video Review

4.5 Stars out of 5

Saboteur 

"Hitchcock's espionage thriller uncovers political treachery on Ultra HD with smashing results, showing a welcomed uptick in overall definition and clarity compared to its Blu-ray predecessor. Immediately apparent, the HEVC H.265 encode appears cleaner and more polished with a more refined grain structure, maintaining an attractive film-like quality from start to finish. The fine stitching and fabric texture of clothing are distinct. The lettering of advertisements and newspapers is mostly sharp, and background information and objects are quite detailed for most of the runtime. There are a few soft, blurry moments here and there during dissolve edits and the rear-projection effects with the climactic Statue of Liberty scenes serving as prime examples. Still, these are to be expected and inherent to the original photography." 4/5 

Shadow of a Doubt

"The classic psychological thriller comes home to Ultra HD with a beautiful HEVC H.265 encode boasting stunning contrast and brightness balance. The whites are exceptionally clean and radiant while black levels are inky and silky rich from start to finish. The stygian, velvety shadows penetrate deep into the screen without ruining visibility in the darkest, pitch-black corners. Specular highlights provide a tighter glow around the brightest, hottest areas, like the light fixtures where we can plainly make out the bulbs, and supplies a realistic sheen and sparkle on all the vehicles driving around town. Awash in a wonderful layer of natural grain, the 1.37:1 image comes with a lovely cinematic, film-like appeal. The native 4K transfer also shows razor-sharp definition in the furniture, the clothing and various other decorative items throughout the Newton household, such as the stitching of the doilies on tables. Facial complexions are highly revealing with lifelike textures in the cast, exposing the tiniest nervous wrinkle, pore and negligible blemish in Uncle Charlie. Except for minor instances of blurriness during dissolve edits and the intentional soft-focus shots of Teresa Wright, all of which are inherent to the source, the 4K HDR10 presentation is simply gorgeous." 4.5/5 

The Trouble with Harry

"When The Trouble with Harry found its way to Blu-ray, it was a fantastic effort in 2013. Nearly a decade later, we’re treated to another marvelous 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of a Hitchcock classic. This is a beautiful native 4K HDR10 transfer that fully grabs all of the colorful splendor this film offers. Shot on location in Vermont, the changing leaves and foliage are often stunning, featuring a full range of deep reds, yellows, and oranges against a lovely blue sky. Skin tones are healthy and accurate without issue. Details are magnificent, offering a full appreciation of facial features, clothing textures, and the detailed production design with a natural-looking grain structure that isn’t overly noisy or wiped clean." 4.5/5  

Marnie

"Trauma is revisited on Ultra HD with an excellent HEVC H.265 encode that delivers another salient upgrade from its Blu-ray predecessor. The 4K transfer shows sharper details in the hair, clothing and furniture for a majority of the runtime. A few softer moments are present here and there, but they are to be expected and mostly related to the rear-projection optical effects. Aside from those, the improved contrast and brightness balance allows for better visibility in the far distance and within the darkest, murkiest shadows. While black levels are notably inkier and more accurate, providing the 1.85:1 image with appreciable depth and a lovely cinematic appeal, specular highlights supply the biggest improvement, furnishing various metallic surfaces with a realistic sheen and a tighter glow around light fixtures to reveal the finer details. The HDR10 presentation also comes with a more dynamic color palette overall than its HD SDR counterpart, boasting richly saturated primaries, particularly the reds, and spirited, vibrant secondary hues, especially the warm, buttery yellows and the impressive variety of browns. With a more refined and consistent grain structure throughout, the 4K video has an attractive, film-like quality that fans are sure to appreciate." 4/5 

Family Plot

"Hitchcock's swan song is unearthed for Ultra HD with a good-looking HEVC H.265 encode that while on the one hand delivers a notable upgrade over its Blu-ray predecessor, the picture is comparably the weakest of the lot. The 4K transfer is pretty inconsistent throughout with many instances of softness and poorly-resolved scenes, some distractingly worse than others where the grain structure is noticeably thicker and more pronounced. This could be excused as inherent to the source, especially those sequences with rear-projection optical effects, but they nonetheless distract and have not aged well. On the other hand, several moments look fresh and rejuvenated, revealing sharp details in the costumes, buildings and furniture with the attempted murder scene on the mountain road serving as a high point where the contrast is spot-on with brilliant whites allowing for extraordinary visibility into the far distance. Likewise, black levels are rich and accurate with inky, midnight shadows and strong delineation, providing the 1.85:1 image with welcomed dimensionality. The HDR10 presentation also boasts full-bodied primaries, but the cinematography favors warm earth tones, bathing the visuals in lots of hot marigold yellows, intense fiery oranges and a nice variety of sepia and mocha browns. Facial complexions appear healthy with strong, revealing textural details in the cast during close-ups." 3.5/5

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

Saboteur 

"For all intents and purposes, it appears that this DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 monoaural soundtrack is the same featured on the previous Blu-ray release, which is not a bad thing. In fact, this lossless mix delivers a solid, satisfying listen, exhibiting an extensive and detailed mid-range without a hint of noise or distortion. Imaging is impressively broad with plenty of detailed background activity and excellent distinction into the higher frequencies, which Frank Skinner's score enjoys. Dialogue reproduction is equally superb, delivering precise, crystal clear inflections in each performance. There isn't much in the low-end, but bass is nonetheless adequate for a film of this vintage, providing the visuals a bit of heft when required." 4/5 

Shadow of a Doubt

"There's no doubt this DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 monaural soundtrack is a notable improvement over its Blu-ray predecessor, possibly due to the same remaster used for the video. The film's sound design plays a crucial role in the story, and although largely contained in the center of the screen, this lossless mix does exceptionally well in delivering every aspect of the background activity with terrific clarity and detail. During exterior scenes of the idyllic town of Santa Rosa, the tiniest noise and commotion, like the local wildlife in the distance or the busy city traffic, are plain heard, generating a pleasing image with an excellent sense of presence while exhibiting an extensive mid-range without the slightest hint of distortion. Every whispered conversation and line of dialogue about the perfect murder is crystal-clear and precise, at all times, and the low-end is adequate and appropriate for a film of this vintage, providing the score with some appreciable weight. All in all, the track is impressively strong and satisfying." 4.5/5 

The Trouble with Harry 

"The 2013 Blu-ray of The Trouble With Harry came in with a solid DTS-HD MA 2.0 track and Universal saw no need to do an upgrade or offer any other enhancements for this disc. It’s a simple and easy mix for this film that offers plenty of attention to dialog, scoring, and sound effects. Overall this is a clean and clear track that still works." 3.5/5

Marnie

"As with the other films in the box set, Hitchcock's psychological thriller arrives with the same DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 monoaural soundtrack as the Blu-ray. However, dialogue reproduction appears to be better balanced and prioritized above the rest of the sound design, which was an issue mentioned in our previous review. The low-end is accurate and appreciable for a film of this vintage. Imaging largely feels broad and engaging with Bernard Hermann's score displaying appreciable clarity and acoustical detailing. The upper ranges, which mostly have to do with the cracking boom of thunder, are not quite as distinct and clean as would be preferred, but then again, there weren't instances of distortion either. The effects simply fall a tad flat and feel tightly uniform, but admittedly, that's a minor quibble to an otherwise excellent lossless mix." 4/5 

Family Plot 

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack appears to be the same as its Blu-ray counterpart, which is not a bad thing. In fact, the lossless mix is quite impressive and elevates the visuals from their less-than-satisfying results. First and foremost, dialogue reproduction is excellent and very well-prioritized with precise, clean intonation in the voices so that we can plainly make out every inflection in the performance of the lovely Barbara Harris. The low-end is shockingly robust with some appreciably palpable weight in a few scenes while also providing the visuals and John Williams' score with a great presence. Additionally, the mid-range is surprisingly extensive with excellent acoustical details and distinction in the higher frequencies. Imaging is subtly layered with a variety of background activity, supplying the action with a welcomed broad and spacious feel. The design lends itself well to the receivers' Auro-3D up-mixing functionality as a few ambient effects convincingly extend to the front heights, namely the chirping of birds or leaves rustling, creating an awesome expansive, half-dome soundstage. 4/5

Special Features

2.5 Stars out of 5

Saboteur Bonus Features 

  • A Closer Look
  • Production Photographs
  • Storyboards: The Statue of Liberty Sequence 
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Sketches
  • Trailer 

Shadow of a Doubt Bonus Features 

  • Beyond Doubt: The Making of Hitchcock's Favorite Film 
  • Production Photographs 
  • Production Drawings
  • Trailer 

The Trouble with Harry Bonus Features 

  • The Trouble With Harry Isn’t Over
  • Production Photos
  • Trailer 

Marnie Bonus Features 

  • The Trouble with Marnie 
  • The Marnie Archives 
  • Trailer 

Family Plot Bonus Features 

  • Plotting Family Plot
  • Production Photographs 
  • Storyboards: The Chase Scene 
  • Trailer (HD)

Final Thoughts

The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection Vol 2 welcomes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray upgrades for SaboteurShadow of a Doubt, The Trouble with Harry, Marnie, and Family Plot. Each film picks up new and improved native 4K HDR10 transfers with clean audio tracks and a nice range of archival bonus features ported over from previous disc releases. While this set doesn't pull heavy hitters like Psycho or Vertigo - each of these films is highly entertaining and holds its own in Hitchcock's incredible catalog. With that, this set is ideal for fans aiming to grab each film all in one go - but thankfully Universal threw fans a bone by offering up single-title releases of each film. Ultimately, with every single release going for roughly $20, this is the most economical way to add these films to your collection. Highly Recommended 

Read David Krauss' new article:
Hitchcock Heaven: The Best 4K UHD and Blu-ray Releases from the Master of Suspense

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    5 x 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + 5 x Blu-ray + Digital
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    HDR10
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.37:1, 1.85:1
    Movie Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Release Date: May 10th, 2022