Since I’m just starting to get into blu-rays, one thing I really had my eye on was the huge, 15-disc “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” blu-ray set. That collection has so many excellent films and I thought something like that would be a nice way to help start my blu-ray collection. But then I read some reviews of the set and started having second thoughts. The impression I got from the reviews is that although some of the movies looked spectacular, others had room for improvement.
But then I noticed “Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection” had been released on blu-ray just a few days earlier. “The Essentials Collection” includes Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and The Birds. After thinking about it, I figured that even if I did order “The Masterpiece Collection,” those are the five movies I would probably watch the most often anyway so I might as well save some money and go for “The Essentials Collection” instead.
I can very safely say that I have no regrets about that decision. After it came in the mail, the first thing I did was put each disc in the player to get a quick idea of the picture quality. When I put in the disc for Rear Window, my first reaction was, “Wow, this was money well spent.” And at that point, I hadn’t even started watching the actual movie yet, I was still on the main menu.
All the movies in “The Essentials Collection” are presented in 1080p and look absolutely glorious. I’ve seen each of these movies several times over the years — on television, in theaters, on standard DVD — but seeing them on blu-ray was like getting to see them for the first time all over again. I always love it when I can find new things, however minor they may be, in a movie I’ve seen dozens of times.
Each film comes with a plethora of bonus features bound to please any Hitchcock fan. I recognize some of the features from past DVD releases, but there are other new features, such as excerpts from Francois Truffaut’s conversations with Hitchcock, that make some very welcome additions.
All in all, I have no complaints about this collection. If you’re like me and are looking to upgrade some of your Hitchcock movies to blu-ray, but don’t want to spend over $100 on “The Masterpiece Collection,” “The Essentials Collection” is a really nice alternative.