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Hitchcock Blu-ray Review

hitchcock-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40: 1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1   
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 98 minutes
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: iTunes Digital Copy + UltraViolet
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 12, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

 

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Title

Taking on a well known entertainment figure in a biopic runs the risk of disappointing filmgoers’ collective memories of such a figure. Hitchcock draws on legendary film director, Alfred Hitchcock, during the making of his watershed horror film, Psycho. Veteran character actor Anthony Hopkins undergoes substantial physical and vocal transformation to give a verisimilitude of Hitch himself. He is ably partnered by the always brilliant Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, his long suffering wife and professional colleague (“You may not be the easiest man to live with but you do know how to cut a picture better than anyone else”). Added to the mix are seasoned actors Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leigh), James D’Arcy (Anthony Perkins), Jessica Biel (Vera Miles), Toni Colette (Secretary Peggy Robertson), and Kurtwood Smith (censor and Hitchcock nemesis Geoffrey Shurlock).

Unlike Hitchcock’s spine-tingling and often controversial cinematic dramas, this film’s persistent efforts to highlight the director’s relationship with his wife lack sufficient tension and, eventually, interest. On the other hand, Hitch’s allegedly insatiable desires for his leading ladies get the briefest of lip services. While this film was based on Stephen Rebello’s “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho,”supposedly an accurate account of this period in the director’s career, its screen incarnation never quite gets off the ground.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

shower

This is a fairly static affair, and credit be given to the cinematographers who try to get their cameras to inject some sense of action and pace to the slow-moving proceedings. Image quality is excellent with many very close close ups.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Hitch1

Besides the familiar Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme (Gounod’s “Funeral March for a Marionette”), and composer Danny Elfman’s reworking of Bernard Herrmann themes, this is mostly a dialogue driven film. The crisp, often precious, repartee comes across quite clearly.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

alma

We get some really tasty extras on Blu-ray disc:

  • Deleted Scene : a 2-minute fantasy couch session with killer Ed Gein
  • Becoming the Master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock: a brief (12-minute)feature on how Sir Anthony gets transformed into Alfred
  • Obsessed with Hitchcock: a 30-minute documentary with Sacha Gervasi’s background insights into how this film came into being, and including an interview with author Rebello whose book provided the source for this film.
  • Sacha Gervasi’s Behind the Scenes Cell Phone Footage: 13 minutes of on-the-fly footage on the sets
  • Hitchcock Cell Phone PSA: a theater-intended message to turn off the cell phones
  • The Story: brief spot interviews with actors Hopkins, Mirren, Biel, Johansson and director Gervasi
  • The Cast: brief backgrounds on the actors involved in this picture
  • Danny Elfman Maestro: a short bit on this noted Hollywood composer’s take on the iconic Psycho themes
  • Hitch and Alma: a 3-minute recap of the backstory of the director and his wife
  • Remembering Hitchcock: short 4-minute piece as remembered by Hitch associates, including author Rebello
  • Commentary with Sacha Gervasi and Stephen Rebello
  • Theatrical Trailers

Almost an embarrassment of riches, this is one instance where the add-ons outshine the main feature.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

vera

Film directors, even those with the greatest gifts, are not always the best subjects for cinematic biographies. By consensus, Alfred Hitchcock may have been the U.K.’s best film director of the last century but, as a personality, his British restraint and hauteur as portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins does little to convey a character that is, other than his physical appearance, larger than life. A reasonably good cast is squandered in this effort that is beset nearly from start to finish by poor pacing and, eventually a loss of enthusiasm for its subject.  Airing out Hitch’s fantasies as visualized daydreams and nightmares is a virtual parody of some the director’s better known film devices (Spellbound, Vertigo), and proves tiresome by the end. While Hitchcock is better than the rather paltry BBC production, “The Girl,” Hitch fans seeking the ultimate banquet will leave this one still quite hungry.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

 

 

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