Four of Hitchcock’s finest get the UltraHD treatment

Universally recognized as the Master of Suspense, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock directed some of cinema’s most thrilling and unforgettable classics. The ALFRED HITCHCOCK CLASSICS COLLECTION features four iconic films from the acclaimed director’s illustrious career including Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds in stunning 4K resolution. Starring Hollywood favorites such as James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak and Rod Taylor, this essential collection features hours of bonus features as well as the original uncut version of Psycho for the first time ever. This collection with collectible Discbook packaging includes hours of bonus features such as documentaries, expert commentaries, interviews, screen tests and much more!

Th collection comes in a book style packaging, a outer slipcover housing the card book, decorated with classic imagery from the films and their marketing materials, and others that depict Hitchcock himself. Each ‘page’ opens up with a 4K disc on one side, and the Blu-ray version on the other. They’re rather snug in the package and a little on the fiddly side to extract, once you get them out though, you’re in for a treat!

Rear Window

We’ve all been a that neighbor. Catching a glimpse of something happening next door or across the street, our imaginations filling in the blanks, a story emerges from our subconsciousness. Something more thrilling than the reality that your neighbor was just lugging a bag of trash to the car rather than their partner who you haven’t seen in a few days. As it is with James Stewart’s Jeff Jefferies, a photographer, confined to a wheelchair for a summer as he recovers from a broken leg. The vista from his apartment providing sights, sounds, and stories to occupy his mind, until one night during a thunderstorm, he is certain that he witnesses a murder in an apartment across the street. Confined to his wheelchair, Jefferies begins an investigation of his neighbor, while the friends he enlists to help, suspect his incapacitation and isolation might be fueling his imagination.

While simple, the exquisite central conceit works perfectly, so much so that it has provided a template for countless films to follow in its wake. The reason the film has such longevity is rooted in how the story plays to the particular predilections of Hitchcock. Playing with perspective and voyeurism to build tension and intrigue. He gives you enough of a tease to plant the seeds of what happened, just like what is festering in Jeff’s mind, in a single location tour de force. From Jeff’s window, Hitchcock not only drips in information to develop the mystery, add texture to the neighborhood, and also inform a character traits and an arc for Jeff himself. A man reluctant to commit to his relationship with girlfriend Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly), glimpses all manner of human relationships from his window in various stages, those dating, newlyweds, an elderly couple, all running the gamut of romance, to happiness, to fraying at the edges. It’s a reflection on relationships as much as the possible nefarious activities of his neighbor that capture Jeff’s thoughts, as well as our own.

With a central conceit of looking for details, Rear Window benefits beautifully from a 4K upgrade, and it is great to have the Blu-ray included for comparison. There’s a real sharpness to the detail and texture of the film, a strength to the color representation, and an impressive consistency in quality throughout.

Rear Window Extra Features:

  • Audio commentary by Hitchcock’s Rear Window: The Well-Made Film author John Fawell: A superb commentary, very strong on technical insights
  • Rear Window Ethics — 2000 documentary: Runs nearly an hour, compiling interviews with film historians, actors, and filmmakers. It covers most aspects of the film and drives home the cinematic legacy of the film
  • Conversation with Screenwriter John Michael Hayes: Shares anecdotes about his relationship with Hitchcock
  • Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of The Master: Filmmakers such as Scorsese and Friedkin talk about using film
  • Breaking Barriers: The Sound of Hitchcock: Sound design isn’t always what springs to mind when thinking of Hitchcock, but it is a crucial component of his films. Its great to see a featurette like this that highlights the work that goes into ramping up the tension or dread that infuses certain scenes
  • Masters of Cinema: An archival interview and one of the highlights here as Hitchcock opens up about his approach
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut — Audio recording from filmmaker François Truffaut’s in-depth interview with director Alfred Hitchcock about Rear Window: A shorter audio interview, but worthwhile as you get to hear from Hitchcock himself again
  • Production photo gallery:
  • Theatrical trailer:
  • Re-release trailer narrated by James Stewart:
  • 4K disc, digital, and region-free Blu-ray disc versions included:


A regular competitor at the top of most rankings of all time greatest movies, and another instance where Hitchcock’s preoccupation with voyeurism, obsession, and mystery, make for a provocative and compelling affair. James Stewart is Scottie, an ex-cop, one retired due to an incident involving his extreme vertigo while pursuing a suspect. He’s given an opportunity to make a little money by a friend Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore). The assignment is odd, but simple enough. Follow Elster’s wife Madeline (Kim Novak) and report back anything that could explain some of the unusual behavior she has apparently shown of late. An infatuation begins, a romance follows, and as suddenly as things began, he loses Madeline. After a time, Scottie takes solace in relations with Judy Barton, a woman spookily reminiscent of Madeline, and as this fuels his lingering obsession, it opens up a whole new mystery that circles back to Gavin and Madeleine’s marriage.

Vertigo boils down to a man and his obsessions, in the face of his own impotency. The vertigo of the title depriving him of his job, and most pertinently his ability to act. His assertion of control comes in other, more disconcerting ways, in short, his his efforts to reshape Judy, in appearance and behavior, to better conform to his lost love. Within the context of the era, it feels more than regressive, and even with the mistreatment of women being an oft debated component of Hitchcock’s work, in front of and behind the camera, Vertigo is layered with subtext and blatant misogyny. While some might debate whether it really is Hitchcock’s finest (let alone best film ever), it is undeniably well crafted film-making. Discomforting stylistic choices and compositions, infused with Freudian subtext and hypnotic imagery, all adding to our scrutiny of events, Scottie’s motives, and the general off-kilter feeling than persists throughout. Vertigo is a virtuoso technical achievement, a film that has been and will be discussed and analyzed for years to come.

Hitchcock was not just a master of suspense, but also color. Vertigo has always stood out as one of his most bold and stylish works. This 4K transfer showcases that splendidly, delivering top notch details, bold but true colors, and a natural cinematic grain. Having seen this one in 70mm a few times, the 4K is a superb rendition of the film, and strikingly superior to the Blu-ray version.

Vertigo Extra Features:

  • Audio commentary by filmmaker William Friedkin (The Exorcist): Friedkin (obviously a fan), shares a surprising about of historical and technical knowledge about the film
  • Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Hitchcock’s Masterpiece: Tales about the script, development, location scouting, costumes, reception, and more, highlighted in interviews with Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Martin Scorsese, producer Herbert Coleman, writer Samuel Taylor, and even Hitchcock’s daughter Pat. This featurette also contains some details on the restoration carried out for this release
  • Partners In Crime: Hitchcock’s Collaborators: A compilation of extras that correctly salute the long term collaborators of Hitchcock’s career; Saul Bass: Title Champ, Edith Head: Dressing the Master’s Movies, and Bernard Herrmann: Hitchcock’s Maestro, and finally his wife in Alma: The Master’s Muse
  • Foreign censorship ending: Showcases the alternate, more upbeat ending that Hitchcock was forced to shoot to satisfy some overseas markets
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era: An interesting addition, one that chronicles the events that morphed the film studios, and the talent at their disposal, into the organization and financial powerhouses they are today
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut — Audio recording from filmmaker François Truffaut’s in-depth interview with director Alfred Hitchcock about Vertigo: A deconstruction of select scenes from the film by the pair. A pretty fascinating watch
  • The Vertigo Archives: Blu-ray only, but a lengthy compilation of production artwork for the film
  • Theatrical trailer:
  • Restoration theatrical trailer:
  • 4K disc, digital, and region-free Blu-ray disc versions included:


Perhaps the director’s most (in)famous picture, despite making 46 prior to this one. Its legacy is without question, not only paving the way for the slasher genre that followed in its wake, a shot-for-shot remake from Gus Van Sant, but also with it also firmly ingraining itself into pop culture. As “here’s Johnny!” is cried when lifting an axe or peeking round a door, so too are the repeated shrieks and plunging motions when pulling back a shower curtain on a unsuspecting loved one.

A more intense and perverse outlier in Hitchcock’s oeuvre, it reiterates and ramps up the voyeuristic tendencies of the filmmaker and the idea of the male gaze, both given a startling escalation in form and fallout. But still, Hitchcock’s precision remains, most obviously in the shower sequence, which leaves far more to the imagination than you may remember. A memorable collaborative effort, with Saul Bass’s storyboards (included in the extra features) and Bernard Herrmann’s score (also highlighted in a extra feature) searing the scene in the mind. The craft and suggestion of this work is well detailed in the documentary 78/52. While that shocking scene lingers in the mind, the rest of the film is similarly compelling. Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane infuses the opening with empathy and moral complexity. Her exchanges with the stellar Anthony Perkin as Norman Bates, tilt the film into melancholic musings, before a descent into an exploration of Bates and the psyche of a predator. We’re in an era where films and documentaries have revealed to us how perfectly normal a serial killer can appear, but this handsome and wholesome looking man still manages to unnerve even now. Perhaps one of the biggest draws of this release, a Uncut version of of the film. It runs just 14 seconds longer, adding a little more blood, lingering in moments around the shower scene. While it doesn’t change things too much, it again draws your eye to a scene and indeed a film that has well secured its cinematic legacy.

Some previous releases of Psycho have been a little lacking in the picture quality and this 4K version is certainly a step up, even compared to the included Blu-ray. You get a lot more of the depth and character I associate with the film from 35mm screenings, a greater range of grey-scale helps show off better detail and clarity, and a nice natural grain. It tends dark a times, and some minor blemishes remain, but still an applaudable transfer.

Psycho Extra features:

  • Original uncut and standard re-releases version of the film: Discussed above
  • The Making of Psycho: A superb feature length documentary that provides an exhaustive celebration and dissection of the film
  • The Making of Psycho audio commentary with Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho author Stephen Rebello: Really great commentary that goes into even more background material about the making of the film, as well as it’s enduring impact
  • Psycho Sound: The original film was shot in mono. This release has a newly reworked surround mix. A solid technical dive into how that was achieved
  • In The Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy: An array of renowned directors come together and discuss the inspiration they draw from, and the impact of Hitchcock upon their own careers
  • Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho: An interview with Hitchcock in which he shares his feelings on late arrivals to the theater
  • The Shower Scene: With and Without Music: To reinforce the contribution of the score to this infamous sequence
  • The Shower Sequence: Storyboards by Saul Bass:
  • The Psycho Archives: A short featurette piecing together images from the set
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut — Audio recording from filmmaker François Truffaut’s in-depth interview with director Alfred Hitchcock about Psycho: Another in the series, this one has some meaty exchanges as Truffaut questions Hitchcock’s approach and choices
  • Posters and ad gallery:
  • Lobby card gallery:
  • Behind-the-scenes photo gallery: On set candid photos
  • Production photo gallery: Another collection of stills from the film
  • Psycho theatrical trailers: A playful tour of the set from the director himself
  • Psycho re-release trailer:
  • 4K disc, digital, and region-free Blu-ray disc versions included:

The Birds

Hitchcock’s take on a monster movie perhaps feels like it lacks the mystery of most of his output, but beyond the B-movie aspects, the is plenty of subtlety and subtext to go around. An idyllic seaside resort, small town ideals and American life, intruded upon by a woman. At least in the view of one local anyway, who suggests that the chaos from the skies coincides with the arrival of Miss Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren). “I think you’re the cause of all of this”. The first act of the film sees the avian menace slowly build in the background as our focus is kept on the various encounters between Miss Daniels and local Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). Flirtations and gestures which in the 60s cross lines of genteel behavior and might be considered on the verge of salacious. A woman driving to a man’s house with a gift? Brenner is a man represented by his various female relationships, presences in his lift that create a functional family unit. The arrival of Daniels throws that dynamic into disarray, natural order is upended, as we see in the surrounding environment as this winged menace is unleashed. Nature fighting back against perturbation, a prescient environmental message perhaps.

Its a monster movie with the approach of an auteur. Methodical editing and pacing, point of view shots, and a sparse discordant use of sound and musical elements. Hitchcock mingles humor and horror with confidence, and even dares to not only skip providing an explanation for events, but to not even give a resolution to it at all.

Any praise of the film should not come without a tip of the hat to one of the greatest comedy sketches every made, where the Big Train team switched out the winged menace for something even more unnerving, The Working Class.

The Birds has always been one of those Hitchcock films that seems to vary wildly in quality, whatever the release. The 4K version is undoubtedly the best yet with excellent depth, detail, and clarity of image I haven’t seen for this film before. The flip side of this is that some of the effects work show their age even more even more with the enhanced presentation. Overall it’s a great improvement on the included Blu-ray, but we seem to be reaching the peak of how good this film can look.

The Birds Extra Features:

  • The Birds: Hitchcock’s Monster Movie: A little back-history to the monster movie genre and how Hitchcock crafted his own entry
  • All About The Birds: A very complete documentary about the development of the film, largely made up of interviews with cast and crew
  • Original ending: Never shot, but shown via various notes and sketches
  • Deleted scene: Again depicted by notes and images, but again unshot
  • Tippi Hedren’s screen test:
  • The Birds is coming (Universal International Newsreel): A promo piece centered around a pigeon race
  • Suspense Story: National Press Club hears Hitchcock (Universal International Newsreel): Hitchcock regails the press while promoting the film
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics: Behind the scenes on Universals efforts to preserve their film archives
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot: Some amusing footage as the featurette takes in the location that was host to many famous films and their stars, some of which make an appearance
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut — Audio recording from filmmaker François Truffaut’s in-depth interview with director Alfred Hitchcock about Vertigo: This outing has a focus on working with the cast and getting the desired performances from them
  • Theatrical trailer:
  • 4K disc, digital, and region-free Blu-ray disc versions included:

The Bottom Line

While not as fully loaded with titles as some previous Hitchcock collections, it is a well selected greatest hits assembled for this first foray into 4K. Impressive transfers and stacks of extra features, paint a picture of Hitchcock’s mastery of suspense, visuals, and cinematic craft, and only whets the appetite for more films from the maestro in 4K.

The Alfred Hitchcock 4K Classics Collection is available from September 8th

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