Blu-ray and DVD

DVD/Blu-ray Review: NOTORIOUS, SPELLBOUND & REBECCA

While not a true Blu-ray set, I felt like this release was better reviewed together because of one reason: Alfred Hitchcock. These are some of his earlier films, and they hadn’t yet seen blu-ray release, and yet, there may not have been a major clamoring for them either. It’s true, none of these are on the mainstream level of Psycho or The Birds, but they do feature a cast list filled with names that comprise Classic Cinema 101 (you know, if there were such a thing). Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Laurence Olivier, and Joan Fontaine are all some of the greatest names in cinematic history and some of their best work is featured here in these sets.

NOTORIOUS:
Starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman play American agent Devlin and troubled beauty Alicia Huberman. Alicia is given the task of seducing a Nazi kingpin (Claude Rains) by Devlin but she soon finds herself falling in love with Devling and must make a sacrifice that could cost her and Devlin’s life.

Features:

  • Commentary with Film Professor Rick Jewell
  • Commentary with Film Professor Drew Casper
  • Isolated Music and Effects Track. This is actually a very cool feature, and one that I’d like to see on more classic films.
  • The Ultimate Romance: The Making of Notorious
  • Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Spymaster: A look at how, with this film, Alfred Hitchcock influenced the spy genre of films.
  • The American Film Institute Award
  • 1948 Radio Play starring Joseph Cotton and Ingrid Bergman
  • Hitchcock Audio Interviews includes talks with Peter Bogdanovich and François Truffaut
  • Restoration Comparison
  • Theatrical Trailer
SPELLBOUND
Going a bit creepier than in Notorious, Alfred Hitchcock takes a decidedly darker turn here in Spellbound explored what happens when a dedicated psychiatrist falls in love with a man that she ends up thinking might actually be a cold-blooded killer (Gregory Peck). The prospect of uncovering the secrets to his mind might end up costing her her life.
Features:
  • Commentary with Film Historians Thomas Schatz and Charles Ramirez Berg
  • Running With Scissors: Hitchcock, Surrealism and Salvador Dali
  • Guilt By Association: Psychoanalyzing Spellbound: Looks at the historical significance of this film and it’s place in history, particularly during WWII.
  • A Cinderella Story: Rhonda Fleming: A profile on Rhonda Fleming
  • Peter Bogdanovich Interviews Alfred Hitchcock
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

REBECCA

Perhaps the most innocently named Alfred Hitchcock, he nevertheless fails to deliver on this under seen film. A film with a simple tire, tells a simple tale. When Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) brings his new bride (Joan Fontaine) back home after the death of his previous wife. She has an uneasy time at their new homestead because she feels intimidated by the presence left by his beautiful previous wife Rebecca. Mrs. de Winter can’t shake the uneasy feeling that even from beyond the grave, Rebecca still controls her husband’s life.

Features:

  • Commentary by Richard Schickel
  • Isolated Music and Effects Track
  • The Making of Rebecca
  • The Gothic World of Daphne DuMaurier
  • Screen Tests: Margaret Sullavan and Vivien Leigh (with Laurence Olivier)
  • Radio Plays features the original 1938 version starring Orson Welles; a 1941 Cecil B. DeMille version starring Ronald Colman, Ida Lupino and Judith Anderson; and a 1950 version with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh
  • Hitchcock Audio Interviews: Chats with Peter Bogdanovich and François Truffaut
  • Theatrical Trailer
For any film buff, historian, maker, student, or just someone who likes having knowledge of things that are important to any specific medium, these are pretty essential disks to have in your collection. You’ll get to see great films that are jam-packed with tons of special features and in those you’ll get to see how movies were made when they were truly special. Not that they aren’t now, they just don’t make ’em like they used to. You can get a taste for what that way was with these releases.

 

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The Author

J.C. De Leon

J.C. De Leon

Hailing from Austin, Tx. J.C. is maybe the biggest fan of sports movies you'll ever see. He's got an affinity for great writing and two of his favorites are Aaron Sorkin and Shane Black. When he's not watching movies at home, he can be found watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse. He occasionally tries to play video games, but he's not very good at them. Follow him on Twitter for witty tweets and pictures of his cats.