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DVD Review

DVD cover

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Seasons 1-7
The Complete Collection


Introduced by: Alfred Hitchcock
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £149.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 02 November 2015

Join the legendary “Master of Suspense” with seven groundbreaking seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents… featuring guests stars Steve McQueen, Vincent Price, Jessica Tandy, William Shatner, Roger Moore, Walther Matthau, Burt Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, Charles Bronson, Diana Dors, Sydney Pollock, Leslie Neilsen, Bette Davis and Robert Redford...

Alfred Hitchcock Presents ran, in this format, for seven years (1955-1962). This was proceeded by The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962-1965) and revisited in the '80s for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985-1989).

The original '50s/'60s series featured your standard Hitchcockian style mysteries, thrillers and dramas all with an introduction and conclusion by Hitchcock himself. To be honest though, these pieces to camera are mostly rather naff, with the only light relief coming from his obvious disdain for the commercials that would appear (but are not included in the episodes as presented here).

The episodes themselves, however, are pretty impressive - most still standing the test of time rather well. What's great about this series, is that while it had the odd questionable/silly episode, the quality remained quite consistent throughout all seven seasons. If you randomly select an episode it would be impossible to tell if it was from the first or seventh season - so they certainly weren't running out of ideas. In fact the last episode ends with Hitchcock stating that he'll see us next week and the show then went onto transform into The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962-1965).

The show's themes vary from episode to episode and you never know what to expect. There's genuinely terrifying episodes (Breakdown - imagine if you were paralysed in a car accident and everyone who examined your body thought you were dead); stories that take you by surprise with a rather unexpected conclusion (None Are So Blind, which will have you smiling at it's simplicity, but you'll be compelled to rewatch it to see how the director cleverly tricked the audience); and the downright creepy (The Glass Eye is odd enough with a woman falling in love with a ventriloquist, but the end sequence will scare the small child in you).

There are also plenty of familiar faces, who were already famous, or would go on to be household names. These include Joanne Woodward (The Three Faces of Eve), Vera Miles (Psycho), Jessica Tandy (Cocoon, Fried Green Tomatoes), Hume Cronyn (Cocoon), Rip Torn (Men in Black), Vic Morrow (King Creole), William Shatner (Star Trek), Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple, 12 Angry Men), Vincent Price (House of Wax), Peter Lorre (The Man Who New Too Much, M), Joseph Cotton (Citizen Cane, Shadow of a Doubt), Fay Wray (King Kong), Hume Cronyn (Cocoon) Season Four: Steve McQueen (Bullitt), Bette Davis (All About Eve), Claude Rains (Casablanca), Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein), Roger Moore (The Spy Who Loved Me), Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple), Brian Keith (Family Affair), Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched), Art Carney (Harry and Tonto), Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon), Barbara Bel Geddes (Dallas), Denholm Elliot (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Dick York (Bewitched), Leslie Nielsen (Aeroplane!), Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple), Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit), Gena Rowlands (Peyton Place), Sydney Pollack (Tootsie), Ricardo Montalban (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), Peter Falk (Columbo), Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men), Charles Bronson (The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape), Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet), Robert Duvall (The Godfather), Ed Asner (Elf), Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H*), Diana Dors (Blonde Sinner), Cecil Parker (The Ladykillers), Michael Rennie (The Day the Earth Stood Still), Henry Jones (Vertigo), Billy Mumy (Lost in Space).

The only slight issue is the price. £150 is worth it, but I'm wondering how many average consumers can afford such a big outlay. That said, you can buy the seasons in single box sets, so you can collect the series over time.

For fans of classic mystery / suspense, then this is certainly worth picking up. There's the odd silly episode, which will have you questioning what on earth was that all about? But, on the whole, this is a well produced and entertaining show.


Darren Rea

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