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Alfred Hitchcock: A Legacy of Suspense [4 Discs] (Boxed Set) (DVD)

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    Rating Breakdown

    80%
    (4 Reviews)
    0%
    (0 Reviews)
    0%
    (0 Reviews)
    20%
    (1 Review)
    0%
    (0 Reviews)
    Plot:
    4.5
    Cinematography:
    4.5
    Acting:
    4.5
    DVD Extras:
    3.8

    Product Availability

    Special Offer

    Cardholder Offer

    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    80% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (4 out of 5)

    Rating Breakdown

    80%
    (4 Reviews)
    0%
    (0 Reviews)
    0%
    (0 Reviews)
    20%
    (1 Review)
    0%
    (0 Reviews)
    Plot:
    4.5
    Cinematography:
    4.5
    Acting:
    4.5
    DVD Extras:
    3.8

    Special Features

    • A never-before-seen documentary chronicling his fascinating journey on the art of filmmaking
    • Movie trailers spanning his colorful career

    Synopsis

    Includes:
  • The Lodger (1926)
  • Easy Virtue (1927)
  • The Ring (1927)
  • Champagne (1928)
  • The Farmer's Wife (1928)
  • The Manxman (1929)
  • Blackmail (1929)
  • Juno and the Paycock (1930)
  • Rich and Strange (1931)
  • The Skin Game (1931)
  • Number 17 (1932)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
  • The 39 Steps (1935)
  • Secret Agent (1936)
  • Sabotage (1936)
  • Young and Innocent (1937)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Cheney Vase (1955)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1962)

    The Lodger
    While the silent The Lodger was not director Alfred Hitchcock's first film, it was the first to truly deserve the designation "A Hitchcock Picture". British matinee idol Ivor Novello plays Jonathan Drew, a quiet, secretive young man who rents a room in a London boarding house. Drew's arrival coincides with the reign of Terror orchestrated by Jack the Ripper. As the film progresses, circumstantial evidence begins to mount, pointing to Drew as the selfsame Ripper. In addition to Novello's 1932 remake, The Lodger was remade in 1944 with Laird Cregar, then again in 1953 as Man in the Attic, with Jack Palance as Jonathan Drew. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Easy Virtue
    In the early stages of his directing career, Alfred Hitchcock made a number of hackneyed studio films which barely resemble the works he would go on to direct. The society drama Easy Virtue is one of the nine silent movies Hitchcock directed. The film opens with Larita Filton posing for her portrait in an artist's studio. The behavior of her boorish, philandering husband, Aubrey Filton, drives her into the artist's arms where her husband discovers her. In the melee that follows, the artist shoots the husband, wounding but not killing him. Aubrey sues for divorce and Larita falls from grace in the courtroom while journalists feed the public a salaciously inflated account. Ruined, Larita flees to the south of France and meets John Whittaker, a young, upstanding British man. They fall in love, marry, and the happy couple returns to England to mummy. Mother Whittaker, a Victorian in the modern age, strenuously opposes the union and upbraids John for bringing scandal upon the family name. Neither John nor his father has the strength to withstand Mother Whittaker's onslaught, and the film, and Larita, end miserably. Hitchcock does one of his wordless cameos in the film. ~ Brian Whitener, Rovi

    The Ring
    Alfred Hitchcock's silent The Ring is a traditional prizefighting melodrama, elevated by the richness of the characterizations and the stylish, Germanic use of the camera. Carl Brisson plays "Round One," a cocky young boxer who matriculates from sideshow bouts to the big time. Round One's marriage to Lilian Hall-Davis goes sour when she throws him over for the champ. During the climactic big fight, Hall-Davis realizes that she's still in love with Round One when she witnesses the brutal beating he's getting. As in Hitchcock's later suspense films, sparks ignite between hero and heroine only when there's an element of danger involved. Alfred Hitchcock collaborated on the script of The Ring with his wife Alma Reville. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Champagne
    A wealthy man pretends he is bankrupt to teach his wayward daughter a lesson. An early, silent Hitchcock film which is wonderfully photographed. ~ Rovi

    The Farmer's Wife
    This first film version of Eden Philpotts' play The Farmer's Wife was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The story involves a roughhewn widowed farmer (Samuel Sweetland) in search of a new bride. Every candidate for the "title" proves insufficient, either because they fail to meet the farmer's exacting standards or because they want no part of him. Eventually the farmer realizes that his "perfect" mate has been under his own nose all along. The Farmer's Wife was remade in 1941, with Basil Sydney in the lead. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Manxman
    Although he was established as a master of suspense by 1929, Alfred Hitchcock was still under contract to British International Pictures, and thus still obliged to direct everything his studio chose for him. Hitch's last silent film was The Manxman, a "romantic triangle" imbroglio based on a novel by Hall Caine. Filmed on location in the Isle of Man, the story concerns a local fisherman named Pete (Carl Brisson), a law student named Philip (Malcolm Keen), and a beautiful village girl named Kate (played by German actress Anny Ondra). When Pete is reported drowned, Kate turns to Philip for solace and sexual gratification. By and by, Pete returns none the worse for wear. Never suspecting that Kate has been unfaithful to him, Pete marries the girl. Eventually she bears Philip's child, which of course Pete assumes is his. Unable to lie to her husband anymore, Kate attempts suicide, which according to the laws of the Island is a crime. Kate is brought before the judge, who happens to be her ex-lover Philip. Confronted with the truth by Kate's father (who has suspected all along that she and Philip have had an affair), Philip gives up his legal career to make an "honest woman" out of Kate. An unrelentingly dour film, The Manxman is nonetheless beautifully photographed by Jack Cox. Sensing that the film would not appeal to a mass audience, BIP withheld release of The Manxman until after the distribution of Hitchcock's first talkie, Blackmail. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Blackmail
    Alfred Hitchcock's first sound film utilized the new sound technology in a rather creative way off-camera. Hitchcock's lead actress, Anny Ondra, had a strong Eastern European accent that was difficult for English audiences to understand, so Hitchcock's solution was to have British actress Joan Barry speak Ondra's lines of dialogue off-camera. The film concerns a woman who kills a man who tries to assault her. Ondra plays Alice White who, while having dinner in a fancy English nightspot with her husband-to-be Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber (John Longden), begins to flirt with an artist (Cyril Richard) seated at the next table. The artist invites her up to see his studio, and she goes but balks when the artist asks her to pose in the nude. When the request becomes a demand, Alice stabs him to death. She rejoins her fiance and tries to forget the murder, but her conscience keeps bothering her. To make matters worse, sniveling rat Tracy (Donald Calthrop) materializes to blackmail Alice for the crime. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

    Juno and the Paycock
    Alfred Hitchcock's second talkie was a surprisingly static adaptation of the Sean O'Casey stage drama Juno and the Paycock. Set during the Irish "troubles" of the early 1920s, the film focuses on the trials and tribulations of a typical Dublin tenement family. Sara Allgood is brilliant as family matriarch Juno Boyle, who must contend with her bibulous, braggadocio husband, Captain Jack Boyle (Edward Chapman), known as the "paycock" because he always struts around like he owns the world. As Captain Jack carouses with his drinking buddy Joxer Daly (Sydney Morgan), Juno tries to keep her family together, a task that proves harder with each passing day, especially when daughter Mary (Kathleen O'Regan) is impregnated by her irresponsible boyfriend. Things take a tragic turn when Juno's weakling son Johnny (John Laurie), a member of the IRA, is shot as an informer by his own comrades. Sara Allgood's scenes after the death of her son are absolutely heart-wrenching, offering ample compensation for Hitchcock's plodding direction and the hopelessly hammy performance by Edward Chapman. Many of the supporting actors were drawn from the ranks of Dublin's Abbey Players, notably Barry Fitzgerald, making his film debut as The Orator. Juno and the Paycock was adapted for the screen by Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Rich and Strange
    This atypical Alfred Hitchcock effort is a cautionary fable which lends credence to the old saw "Love flies out the door when money flies in the window." Joan Barry and Henry Kendall play a young married couple who suddenly come into an inheritance. Bored with their working-class existence, hero and heroine embark upon a world cruise, and it isn't long before Barry gets romantically involved with a landed-gentry gentleman. Meanwhile, Kendall is swept off his feet by a phony princess, who tricks him out of all his money. Broke and miserable, Barry and Kendall head home on a shabby cargo boat, only to find themselves in the middle of a shipwreck. The couple is rescued by a Chinese junk, where the solemn crew members dine on their pet cat. By the time Barry and Kendall have returned to their humble suburban lodgings, they've both learned the sagacity of remaining in their own back yard. Partly a sophisticated sex comedy, partly a grim seafaring melodrama, Rich and Strange had the negative effect of confusing the public in general and Hitchcock's fans in particular, and as a result the film, which remains one of Hitch's best early talkies, died at the box office. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Skin Game
    This uncharacteristic Alfred Hitchcock endeavor was adapted by Hitch and his wife, Alma Reville, from a play by John Galsworthy. The British countryside turns into an ideological battlefield when Hornblower (Edmund Gwenn), a wealthy, self-man tradesman, stakes his claim to a piece of valuable forest property controlled for literally centuries by the "landed gentry." The local squire (C.V. France) and his wife (Helen Haye) dig in their heels and refuse to acknowledge Hornblower's presence -- how dare he use mere money to challenge the rights of blood? Their genteel snobbery is every bit as obnoxious as Hornblower's brash effrontery, and the result is a film with virtually no heroes or villains whatever. Never in any future film did Hitchcock ever lobby so strong an attack on the smug implacability of the aristocracy -- perhaps wisely, since The Skin Game proved to be one of his least-successful films. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Number 17
    This early Hitchcock effort is a parody of the thriller genre about a transient (Leon M. Lion) who accidentally discovers the hideout of a gang of jewel thieves. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

    The Man Who Knew Too Much
    The first film version of The Man Who Knew too Much proved to be the international "breakthrough" film for British director Alfred Hitchcock, transforming him from merely a talented domestic filmmaker to a worldwide household name. While vacationing in Switzerland, Britons Leslie Banks and Edna Best befriend jovial Frenchman Pierre Fresnay. Not long afterward, Fresnay is murdered. He whispers a secret in Banks' ear before expiring. This is witnessed by several sinister foreign agents, who kidnap Banks' daughter Nova Pilbeam to keep him from revealing what he knows: That a diplomat will be assassinated during a concert at London's Albert Hall. Unable to turn to the police, Banks desperately attempts to rescue his child himself, still hoping to prevent the assassination. The film's now-famous setpieces include the "Siege of Sidney Street" re-creation and the climactic clash of cymbals at Albert Hall, followed by the crucial scream of Edna Best. German film star Peter Lorre made his English-speaking debut in The Man Who Knew Too Much, though he was still monolingual in 1934 and had to learn his lines phonetically. Written by A. R. Rawlinson, Charles Bennett, D.B. Wyndham Lewis, Emlyn Williams and Edwin Greenwood (an impressive lineup for a 75-minute film!), Man Who Knew Too Much was remade by Hitchcock himself in 1956. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The 39 Steps
    This classic British thriller was one of Alfred Hitchcock's first major international successes, and it introduced a number of the stylistic and thematic elements that became hallmarks of his later work. Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a Canadian rancher on vacation in England, attends a music hall performance by "Mr. Memory" (Wylie Watson); in the midst of the show, shots ring out and Richard flees the theater. Moments later, a terrified woman (Lucie Mannheim) begs Richard to help her; back at his room, she tells him that she's a British spy whose life has been threatened by international agents waiting outside. Richard is certain that she's mad until she reappears at his door in the morning, near death with a knife in her back, a map in her hand, and muttering something about "39 Steps." Discovering that a group of thugs are indeed waiting outside, Richard slips away and takes the first train to the Scottish town on the dead woman's map. Richard learns that he's now wanted by the police for murder, and he must find a way to clear his name. He begins trying to do so with the help of a woman he meets en route, Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), who serves as his unwitting assistant, even after she tries to turn him in. The 39 Steps was later remade in 1959 and 1978 -- both without Hitchcock's participation. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Secret Agent
    Based on the novels of W. Somerset Maugham, The Secret Agent is the second in a trilogy of Alfred Hitchcock spy movies (along with The 39 Steps and Sabotage). Set during WWI, John Gielgud plays British novelist Edgar Brodie who discovers that a government agency has faked his own death. He is then given orders to go to Switzerland to kill a German agent. He goes by the name of Richard Ashenden and travels with secret agent Elsa Carrington (Madeleine Carroll), who poses as his wife. Richard joins professional killer the General (Peter Lorre) to look for clues, which leads them to suspect the tourist Caypor (Percy Marmont). Elsa occupies Caypor's wife, Florence Kahn, while Richard and the General attempt to complete their mission during a climbing trip in the Alps. It turns out he was the wrong man, so the spies reluctantly start another search for clues that leads them to the American charmer Robert Marvin (Robert Young). Unfortunately, he has just boarded a train to Greece with Elsa, so they have to get onboard and warn her. The situation is complicated with an air attack, where several key players meet their fate. The Secret Agent marked a rare instance where Hitchcock was pressured into changing the ending from the more grim original. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

    Sabotage
    Oskar Homolka plays a London movie-theatre owner who maintains a secret life as a paid terrorist. Homolka's wife Sylvia Sidney doesn't suspect Homolka of any wrongdoing, but she's picked up enough second-hand information about her husband's activities to arouse the interest of government agent (John Loder). Posing as a grocer, Loder moves next door to the Homolkas, befriending Sidney and her precocious young brother Desmond Tester. Sensing that he's being watched, Homolka sends Tester out to deliver a reel of film. The reel contains a time bomb, but Homolka is certain that the boy will deliver his package on time and will be safely away by the time the bomb explodes. Thus begins one of Hitchcock's most electrifying suspense sequences, as the unsuspecting boy is delayed en route to his destination. Sabotage was based on Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent; the film was retitled A Woman Alone in the US. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Young and Innocent
    As early as 1937's Young and Innocent, Alfred Hitchcock was beginning to repeat himself, but audiences didn't mind so long as they were thoroughly entertaining-which they were, without fail. Derrick De Marney finds himself in a 39 Steps situation when he is wrongly accused of murder. While a fugitive from the law, De Marney is helped by heroine Nova Pilbeam, who three years earlier had played the adolescent kidnap victim in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. The obligatory "fish out of water" scene, in which the principals are briefly slowed down by a banal everyday event, occurs during a child's birthday party. The actual villain, whose identity is never in doubt (Hitchcock made thrillers, not mysteries) is played by George Curzon, who suffers from a twitching eye. Curzon's revelation during an elaborate nightclub sequence is a Hitchcockian tour de force, the sort of virtuoso sequence taken for granted in these days of flexible cameras and computer enhancement, but which in 1937 took a great deal of time, patience and talent to pull off. Released in the US as The Girl Was Young, Young and Innocent was based on a novel by Josephine Tey. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Lady Vanishes
    The Lady Vanishes, Alfred Hitchcock's comedy-thriller, came at the end of his British period; this film's success brought Hitchcock to the attention of Hollywood. He would complete only one other British production, Jamaica Inn, before crossing the Atlantic to working for David O. Selznick on Rebecca. The film concerns the young Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood), heading home on a train after spending the holidays in the Balkans. Iris becomes friends with a kindly old lady, Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) after Iris gets hit in the head with a flowerpot meant for Miss Froy. On the train, recovering from the blow, Iris falls asleep. When she awakens, Miss Froy has vanished, replaced by someone else in Miss Froy's clothing. Iris talks to the other passengers, a bizarre collection of eccentrics who think that Iris is crazy for insisting on there even being a Miss Froy -- everyone denies having ever seen the old woman. Finally, Iris finds a young musician, Gilbert (Michael Redgrave), who believes her and the two proceed to search the train for clues to Miss Froy's disappearance. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

    Jamaica Inn
    Alfred Hitchcock directed this disappointing misfire, memorable solely for the fact is that it is the final film from Hitchcock's early British period before he left for the Hollywood studio system and David O. Selznick. In the England of the 1800s, a group of ruthless smugglers, led by Sir Humphrey Pengallon (Charles Laughton), prey on ships by blacking out warning signals. When the ships crash on the rocks, the nefarious group loots the remains and kills the sailors. The plot kicks in when the beautiful orphan Mary Yelland (Maureen O'Hara) goes to visit her uncle Joss Merlyn (Leslie Banks) at a creepy hotel called the Jamaica Inn, the home of the gang of smugglers. Mary doesn't realize that Uncle Joss is one of them. Meanwhile, Lloyd's of London sends one of their ablest men, Jem Trahearne (Robert Newton), to investigate the recurring shipwrecks. Jem checks in to the Jamaica Inn, and when the coven of smugglers finds out who he is, they capture him and attempt to kill him. But Mary comes to his rescue and saves him. Through the inn, the smugglers try to recapture Jem -- along with Mary. Thrown together by dire circumstances, the two fall in love. Meanwhile, all the shenanigans occurring at the Jamaica Inn appear to be driving Pengallon insane. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Cheney Vase
    Recently discharged museum curator Lyle Endicott (Darren McGavin) uses a forged letter to gain entry to the home of elderly recluse Martha Cheney (played by Patricia Collinge, who had been prominently featured in Alfred Hitchcock's 1943 movie classic Shadow of a Doubt). A lonely invalid, Martha is kept alive only by her obsession with preventing her prized possession, a priceless vase, from falling into the hands of strangers. Conversely, Lyle wants nothing more out of life than to wrest the vase away from Martha and sell it to a museum for a hefty price. Needless to say, one of these two characters is in for a big disappointment by episode's end. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer's Apprentice
    Escaping from an institution, a young retarded boy named Hugo (Brandon de Wilde) is taken under the wing of sideshow magician Sadini (David J. Stewart), whose acts consists of sawing his wife, Irene (Diana Dors), in half. It so happens that Irene is two-timing Sadini -- and worse, she is planning his murder. Hoodwinking Hugo into being her accomplice, Irene does away with husband, only to receive a grisly comeuppance thanks to Hugo's inability to separate fact from fantasy. Originally filmed for the seventh season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, this episode was never given a network telecast, due to NBC's queasiness over its gruesome finale. However, the episode was included in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents syndication package, and has also shown up in several public-domain VHS and DVD collections. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Carl Brisson - Pete Quilliam
    • Image coming soon
      Malcolm Keen - Philip Christian
    • Image coming soon
      Anny Ondra - Kate
    • Image coming soon
      Randle Ayrton - Kate's Father
    • Image coming soon
      Clare Greet - Her Mother
    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.