ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (S2)
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
One of the most original and classic anthology series to air on television gets presented in a gorgeous DVD boxed set. All 39 episodes of the second season are included, each introduced by the master of suspense himself. Settle in and enjoy, folks... Just like the first season, this set is one huge monster of classic TV.
Is it good movie?
It's difficult to put 39 episodes of a show into just one review. It's also hard to review this much suspensful, tingly goodness in just one go. So, while touching on a few of the highpoints of this season, I'm going to try to look at the season as a whole. My head hasn't exploded yet from this much Hitchcock, so I think we're off to a great start. However, there are those creaking sounds from the dark upstairs hallway that are becoming quite worrisome.
Each half-hour episode is staged like most television shows were at the time: as short plays. They are also mostly based on short stories, some quite famous and others that are harder to find (trust me, I've tried!). The players convey their very realistic sense of timing and terror in all of the appropriate places, and the stories are told in a very economic but highly effective framework. However, despite the entertainment value of the subtle psychological terror and the caliber of the talent on display here, the highlights of each episode are the wickedly hilarious "bookends" provided by Hitchcock himself. His dry wit and sarcasm, delivered in his trademark British drawl, begin and end each story with both comedy and dread, setting the stage for each atmospheric and often creepy story and ending with a joke or an afterword that perfectly punctuates each tale.
Some of the highlights of this season (and there are many) are the first episode (directed by Hitch himself) Wet Saturday, a chilling tale of murder and madness; the wicked Conversation Over A Corpse, where two sisters serve up some tasty revenge on the man that bought their house out from under them; the deranged Crackpot, where a couple of newlyweds are terrorized while stranded on a road to nowhere; the three episode I Killed The Count, which features some good old fashioned 1950's police drama; and finally the excellent episode The Dangerous People, where two men in a train station suspect each other of being an escaped lunatic (a plot device often used in various forms in some of Hitchcock's other work).
Featuring far too many film icons of the 50's to list in one review, these black and white tales of mystery and murder are a treat to own and watch in such amazing condition after all these years. Really, these DVD boxed sets actually make up for the horrid modern series from a decade or so back which used the Hitchcock "bookends" tacked onto more recent (and often terrible) colour stories. Like I said before, it's difficult to sum up this much horror and suspense in just one review, other than to say as a fan of classic thriller anthologies, this series ranks as one of my all time favourites. Each episode (whether directed by Hitchcock or selected by him) shows the master's flawless sense of the macabre, and the brilliant psychoanalysis and dark humour that made him a legend.
Video / Audio
Video: Black & White Full Screen - 1.33:1. These are super clean prints that look even better than when they originally aired.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) and English Subs.
Honestly, with 39 episodes of Hitchcock (that's almost 17 hours there folks!), who needs special features. Besides, all that's included are promos for other TV Boxed sets including American Gothic, House, Conviction and the awesome new Battlestar Galactica series.
This is one killer of a set, dug up from the Universal archives and presented in a beautiful boxed set. Whether watched a piece at a time, or in one big macabre marathon, Hitchcock does not dissapoint. Now I just have to wait for the rest of the series, while the infamous greeting "Good Evening..." continues to haunt me. Damn you, Hitchcock! Just kidding, you're going to love this collection to death.