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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » A Talk with Hitchcock
A Talk with Hitchcock
Other // Unrated // January 1, 1999
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Hughes | posted October 17, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
E X T R A S
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Highly Recommended
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Features: Widescreen - 1.85:1. Audio Tracks: French - Stereo. Theatrical Trailer.

The Movie:
Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors and I find his films, books about him and interviews with him endlessly interesting. Hitchcock was instrumental in the development of cinematic technique in general and a study of his background leads to a greater understanding of both the man and the industry he helped bring to life. Though Hitchcock was a highly visible public figure he was very secretive about his private life while tending to exaggerate and even fabricate the details of his professional career. Hitchcock was the most forthcoming when discussing his theories of filmmaking and that's exactly what he does on Image Entertainment's 'A Talk with Hitchcock.'

Produced in 1964 for the Canadian television series Telescope, 'A Talk with Hitchcock' is comprised of two show installments. For approximately sixty minutes Hitchcock discusses a wide range of topics including his early days in film as a title card artist, set designer and assistant director, his experiments with silent and sound film technique and various tidbits relating to Psycho, Shadow of a Doubt, The Birds and Marnie. Along the way he touches on his working relationship with Bernard Herrmann, the influence of film violence on viewers and outlines his vision of the cinema of the future. The real meat of the interview though is Hitchcock's detailed explanation of his approach to filmmaking. He relates (in typically dry but engaging Hitchcock style) the idea that movies are 'built up' out of little slices of film into a mosaic in which every element is interrelated and works together to produce a single piece of art that's greater than the sum of its parts.

If you own any of the Universal Hitchcock DVDs you've probably seen snippets of this interview in the included documentaries. The Telescope interview contains some of the master's definitive statements about his craft and should prove entertaining to both Hitchcock enthusiasts and casual admirers. My only complaint with the disc is that the interview is so short. It wets your appetite and leaves you hungry for more.

The Picture:
The video material used here is presented exceptionally well. I was expecting the usual 'scoped' look that many TV to film to DVD transfers exhibit but the images were surprisingly crisp and clear. Black levels were dead on, shadow detail was very good and there were no appreciable digital artifacts.

The Sound:
The best one can hope for when it comes to mono soundtracks is a descent dynamic range, a lack of noticeable hiss and dialogue that remains clear throughout. That's exactly what this disc delivers. The track is nothing to write home about but I wouldn't have expected it to be.

The Extras:
There are no extras on this disc but there is a nice index of chapter stops organized by interview topic for easy disc navigation.

Conclusion:
If you're a Hitchcock fan you'll want 'A Talk with Hitchcock' in your collection. It's a fascinating and informative disc that serves as a super introduction to Hitchcock's theory of filmmaking. Those with a deeper interest in the director should look into Donald Spotto's 'The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock' and Truffaut's 'Hitchcock.' Casual Hitchcock fans may want to rent first before buying. Highly Recommended.
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