Alfred Hitchcock Presents Volume 4
Universal
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted March 12, 2001
M O V I E
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
NOTE: At the present time the Alfred Hitchcock Presents DVDs are only available with the Best of Hitchcock boxed sets.

THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
Although it's almost extortion to include the Alfred Hitchcock Presents discs exclusively with the pricey boxed sets (especially when you'd have to buy some movies twice just to get all the TV shows), they are welcome releases. While uneven, Presents contains some fine stories and Volume 4 has some of the best episodes released so far. It also contains one more episode than the two previous volumes did, making it a bit more complete.

Arthur
An excellent cast (Laurence Harvey, Hazel Court, and Patrick Macnee) tells this story of a chicken farming loner whose former fiancee returns unexpectedly. We know from the beginning that Harvey murders the woman, but what we don't know (or at least what 50's audiences didn't know) is the sick secret of where he hid the body. A twisted and kinky tale.

The Crystal Trench
This is a strange tale of a death on a frigid mountaintop and the decades-long turmoil it causes for the climber's widow and her would-be suitor. The emotions here are affecting and the ending strangely ambiguous.

The Horseplayer
A quarter century after starring in Hitchcock's masterpiece Notorious Claude Rains plays a priest who tries to advise a churchgoer against gambling on horses. When the opportunity to make some money for the church on a bet comes up, however, Rains finds the decision not as clear-cut as he thought it would be. Not really a thriller, this episode is one of the most cinematic episodes of Hitchcock's show.

Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat
The Honeymooners' Audrey Meadows plays a bored housewife leading a double life. While some of the more dated elements, like the black servants and the mink coat, might make modern audiences a bit queasy, the twisted ending is perfect Hitchcock.

Bang! You're Dead
A tour de force of the series, Bang! You're Dead has an unforgettable realness that, combined with amazing tension and suspense, makes this episode a classic. I wouldn't want to reveal too much, but this story has sadly current implications. It is a real eye-opener and a nailbiter. Of the 13 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that I've watched in the last week this is the only one that I've gone back to rewatch.

VIDEO:
The full-frame black and white video on this volume seems crisper and higher contrast than the previous two. It is also a bit grainy. Still, it looks very good.

AUDIO:
The audio, as with all of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents discs, reflects humble beginnings. Within those limitations, however, the 2.0 Mono sound is passable. Spanish audio (for most of the episodes) and French and English subtitles are also available.

EXTRAS:
There are no extras.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is a somewhat uneven series, but this disc is the strongest of the bunch. All of the episodes are interesting and Bang! You're Dead in particular is outstanding television. It's where you can most explicitly see the masterful techniques that Hitchcock honed in film applied to the TV format.

More Alfred Hitchcock Presents:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Vol. 2
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Vol. 3

Other Hitchcock reviews:
Jamaica Inn / Rich and Strange
The Trouble with Harry
Topaz
Family Plot

Gil Jawetz is a graphic designer, video director, and t-shirt designer. He lives in Brooklyn.

E-mail Gil at buskerdog@yahoo.com


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