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(Mouse Over the Title to see the rendered edition in the Hitchcock Masterpiece Boxset and Legacy Series Editions)

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USA 1958

Although it wasn't a box-office success when originally released in 1958, Vertigo has since taken its deserved place as Alfred Hitchcock's greatest, most spellbinding, most deeply personal achievement. James Stewart plays a retired police detective who is hired by an old friend to follow his wife (a superb Kim Novak, in what becomes a double role), whom he suspects of being possessed by the spirit of a dead madwoman. Shot around San Francisco (the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of the Legion of Honor are significant locations) and elsewhere in Northern California (the redwoods, Mission San Juan Batista) in rapturous Technicolor, Vertigo is as lovely as it is haunting.

Excerpt of Jim Emerson's review HERE

 

***

"Hitchcock's most memorable and haunting film of obsession wrapped in a surrealist plot of desperation and genuine edge-of-seat thrills. This is a film benefits greatly from the most pristine viewing available to help reveal its true grandeur. It is too easy to be swallowed whole by Hitchcock's eerie feel and majestic vision, pounding with Bernard Herrmann's unforgettable score. A tale that mocks our own perceptions of superficiality and inconclusive aspects of love... and why we cannot recreate it."

 

Film students in online schools and online universities study Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo because in a recent poll it was voted the greatest film of all time, replacing Citizen Kane. Great films like Vertigo are always studied at online universities and schools so students can explain why they are great from technical point of view.

International Posters + Lobby Card (Click most to enlarge)

Theatrical Release: May 8th, 1958 - San Francisco

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Comparison:

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal - Region 1 (Masterpiece Collection) - NTSC vs. Universal - Region 1 (2-disc Legacy Series) - NTSC vs. Universal (Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

  

  

 

Individual Blu-ray Release out in June 2014:

Distribution Universal Studios
Region 1 - NTSC 
Universal Studios (Hitchcock Masterpiece)
Region 1 - NTSC
Universal Studios (Legacy Series)
Region 1 - NTSC 
Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:09:28 2:09:28 2:09:28 2:08:27.533
Video Widescreen letterbox - 1.83:1
Average Bitrate: 5.41  mb/s

NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Widescreen 16:9 enhanced - 1.86:1

Average Bitrate:  6.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Widescreen 16:9 enhanced - 1.85:1

Average Bitrate:  7.26 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,234,934,157 bytes

Feature: 35,733,712,896 bytes

Codec: VC-1 Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.90 Mbps

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Initial release

 

Bitrate

HMC release

Bitrate

Legacy Selease

Bitrate

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) , English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 English (Dolby Digital 5.1) , English Dolby Digital 2.0 , English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 English (Dolby Digital 5.1) , English Dolby Digital 2.0 , English Audio Commentaries Dolby Digital 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio English 3323 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3323 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles Spanish, French, English (captions), None Spanish, French, English (captions), None Spanish, French, English (captions), None English (SDH), Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
Commentary by associate producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and Steven Smith (III), author of "A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann" and Vertigo participants
Production notes
Theatrical trailer(s)
"Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece", an original American Movie Classic documentary, narrated by Roddy McDowall and featuring new interviews with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes, Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock, producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and others involved in the movie's production (30 minutes)

8 page liner notes pamphlet with articles and photos

 

DVD Release Date: March 31st, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 35

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Studios 
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.86:1

 

 

Edition Details:
Commentary by associate producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and Steven Smith (III), author of "A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann" and Vertigo participants
Production notes
Theatrical trailer(s)
"Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece", an original American Movie Classic documentary, narrated by Roddy McDowall and featuring new interviews with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes, Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock, producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and others involved in the movie's production (30 minutes)
 

DVD Release Date: October 4th, 2005
(See packaging image below)

Chapters 35

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Studios 
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.86:1

 

 

Edition Details:
Disc 1: Main Feature

Commentary by associate producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and Steven Smith (III), author of "A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann" and Vertigo participants
Feature Commentary with Director William Friedkin
Foreign Censorship Ending (2:10)
The Vertigo Archives (gallery)
Production Notes
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:30)
Restoration Theatrical Trailer (1:23)

 

Disc 2: Extra Features
"Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece", an original American Movie Classic documentary, narrated by Roddy McDowall and featuring new interviews with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes, Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock, producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and others involved in the movie's production (30 minutes)

Partners in Crime: Hitchcock's Collaborators (54:52)

- Saul Bass: Title Champ

-Edith Head: Dressing the Master's Movies

- Bernard Herrmann - Hitchcock's Maestro

- Alma - The Masters Muse
Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts (14:18)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents "The Case of Mr. Pelham" (25:35)
 

DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008

Bookstyle case

Chapters 35

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Studios 
 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,234,934,157 bytes

Feature: 35,733,712,896 bytes

Codec: VC-1 Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.90 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

Commentary by William Friedkin

"Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece", an original American Movie Classic documentary, narrated by Roddy McDowall and featuring new interviews with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes, Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock, producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and others involved in the movie's production (29:19)

Partners in Crime: Hitchcock's Collaborators (54:49)

Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts (14:17)
Foreign Censorship Ending (2:09)
The Vertigo Archives (gallery)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:30)
Restoration Theatrical Trailer (1:23)

100 Years of Universal Lew Wasserman Era

My Scenes
 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 22nd, 2012

Custom Bookstyle case

Chapters 34

 

Legacy package

 

 

Masterpiece Collection Package images - (CLICK to enlarge)

 

Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Package

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - October 12': I am going through the set right now and wish to reserve judgment until I can investigate more closely. Surface impressions are: Colors looks good, less texture than I would appreciate, some extras removed from the Legacy (Harris/ Katz commentary), packaging is wonderful. Overall gave me a great presentation - audio was premium. Stay tuned for more. Here are comments from one of our esteemed ListServ members:

BM says: "... I'm really thrilled the color correction has been made to the opening face in the credits (it hadn't been for the recent DCP release in theaters). If I'm reading your audio specs correctly it seems that the commentary track with Harris, Katz and Herbert Coleman has been dropped, but the Friedkin commentary is included... I assume the two remaining English tracks are the new stereo 5.1 and the original mono. I will say that the new stereo soundtrack heard over the DCP print was a vast improvement over the 1996 version, so as much as I want the original mono, if it has been left off it would not be quite the horror it was for the original and Legacy releases.

Color looks possibly more accurate on the
Blu-ray (based on your caps), there's more true green seen in Scottie's sweater for example in the fireside caps. The color saturation is a bit wan however (the opposite of the DCP which was a little too robust).

Contrast is also a bit problematic (as it always seems to be with this title). The DCP's contrast was too high, but the
Blu-ray looks like it might be too low (the '96 restoration looked too low to me too).

All in all, based on screen caps, I'm very pleased. If this is an example of the corrections Universal has made during the delay of this set, then I have to commend them for listening to the complaints. It looks like I might still have quibbles... but in all honesty with a title that commands such devotion among its fans, quibbles are inevitable
."

***

ADDITION: 2-disc Legacy Series: I believe this transfer to be more subtly superior than the Rear Window  Legacy was to the Past Masterpiece Collection edition. It is slight, but detail may appear a small notch improved. This may be a sign of marginal black boosting but I toggled back and forth between the two (simultaneously running) on my system and the Legacy was certainly a notch sharper and smoother (but maybe even glossier as well). Overall, I will give it the nod for the best image for the improved compression - it also shows a higher bitrate. Color differences are the same as Masterpiece collection transfer (eyes in credits etc. - see below.)

Audio and subtitle options appear the same but subtitle positioning is better and the font much cleaner (no jaggies) on the Legacy.

Biff tells us in email (thanks Biff!) "I just wanted to alert you to the fact that the new Legacy Vertigo does not include the original mono mix. There are four audio options: English 5.1, English, plus the two commentaries. The second English option is not the original mix. I assume it's a 2.0 version of the 1996 "restored" sound track. Whatever it is, it's not the original. I've just gone through every audio option, and the original is not there. I don't hear a significant difference between the first two English options (but I only have a two speaker set up), but they both have the "repeating" gun shots in the opening scene, and the missing "foley" of the squeaking springs in Midge's day bed when Scottie sits down during their first scene together (and the score is clearly in stereo on both options). For Vertigo aficionados this is a major gaffe on Universal's part. The Masterpiece Collection, of course does have the original mix as an option, but as your screen caps (and my eyes) reveal, the Legacy has the superior picture: very frustrating (as is the fact that they didn't fix the color gaffe over the opening credits).

Since I picked up my copy before the official street date, I suppose it's possible that it's a mistake made with an early pressing and has already been corrected (the back of the Legacy box does indicate a 2.0 mono option), but I somehow doubt it. Of course you'll want to check this out yourself, but I think it's important to alert your readers to this serious omission.
"

The real enticement that fans may wish to indulge in this new Legacy edition are the supplements. We have both the Coleman et all commentary and the 30 minute documentary "Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece". But there are some wonderful new additions. I don't buy everything he was saying but it was very interesting to hear the commentary with director William Friedkin. He tended to try a bit hard to relate the idea of Hitch's personal life mimicking much of the themes of Vertigo. Now, we've heard much of this before but he tends to relate it in a fearlessly direct manner. It may be somewhat controversial to some but no doubt it is very interesting. Many will be keen to see the 2 minute Foreign Censorship Ending with the more extended finale - forced Hitch to create to satisfy the needs of the Foreign Censorship Committee. On disc one there are also galleries (The Vertigo Archives), production notes and trailers.

On Disc 2 - other new features included are the extensive hour long Partners in Crime: Hitchcock's Collaborators documentary which has separate chapters on Saul Bass: Title Champ, Edith Head: Dressing the Master's Movies, Bernard Herrmann - Hitchcock's Maestro and Alma - The Masters Muse. This is pretty good stuff and exposes some details that Hitch fans may not have been privy to before. Like Rear Window we have more excerpts from the Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview. This time it's about 15 minutes worth - Truffaut launching long-winded questions at Hitchcock with a female translator. Finally we are given another Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode; "The Case of Mr. Pelham" that is about 25 minutes long.

You forget how truly great this film is until you simply watch it again. I loved indulging in the new extras and along with the image quality be the definitive at present (till Blu-ray), it kind of makes this a must-own purchase. I love the case and it is a great package of a masterpiece film. If you don't already own the Masterpiece edition and/or wish to indulge in these bountiful new extras - then this is an easy purchase (see Biff's comments about the audio).     

***

ON THE MASTERPIECE VS. ORIGINAL: NOTE: To more fully distinguish the differences we have, as usual, let our software upsize the anamorphic release to its chosen 960 pixel width. We have always found that this does a more consistent and less manipulative job that generic programs. We have left the non-anamorphic edition at 720 wide. Both are jpeg manipulated to a negligible 10% of original (90%) for purposes of posting on the Internet. So, bottom line, if we are being technically fair, the anamorphic images have had more manipulation for posting than the non-anamorphic, but this never results in improvement - only a slight softening that is virtually unnoticeable on standard computer monitors upwards of 1600pixel wide resolution.

***

This is pretty fun to compare - there are some strong differences and some minor ones as well. It is quite obvious that the new 16X9 issue has a sharper, more detailed image. It is also minimally cropped on all 4 edges. In the new issue, available only in the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection Boxset, everything looks brighter than the old Vertigo DVD. There are a few technical imperfections that we will note.

Colors look a bit different at times (semi-tone shades vary) and we really have no way of stating that after digital processing one is positively more accurate than the other. Even compared to the Harris/Katz film restoration, the original DVD has some variance. Has the new release been brightened? - my guess would be yes, but it is not so significant as to unduly alter the integrity of the original presentation.

In the title sequence opening (girl's face) - it was originally meant to be in black and white (like the VistaVision logo) but in post production it could not be rendered in that manner. Unfortunately in the new release someone has taken it upon themselves to color this and it has now been brightness boosted to have a less accurate tinge (orange/sepia) than its theatrical appearance (see images below).

The old DVD contained 7.26 Gig (film - 3.357) of data where the new has 7.24 (film - 3.535). This can be explained. The new release technically might have less data for the anamorphicity - where the old included the data of the 'black bars', but the new issue makes up for that with the mono track (although that is only 179 meg).

The old issue had a very slim black border around the edge but all the new issue is tight to the frame maximizing horizontal resolution. This is an improvement, albeit slight.

Subtitles are better in the new issue, with Universal usually positioning them under the speaker, but the font is also less intrusive and more visually appealing.

Vertigo's much awaited mono track has a few minor crackles and pops - but it does, however, sound very good and better than the old 5.1 remix in my opinion - also more accurate. This alone would be reason enough to buy the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection Boxset. 

The new issue does not include the 8-page liner notes booklet included in the initial release.

The cost per disc of the Hitchcock Masterpiece set is between $5.73 to $5.06 per disc. Universal is virtually giving this away, and at DVDBeaver we rate this as the greatest deal in DVD history to date.

  Gary W. Tooze


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 

DVD Menus


(Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

Universal - Region 1 (2-disc Legacy Series) - NTSC

 

Disc 2

Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


Subtitle Sample

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal (Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal (2-disc Legacy series) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal (The Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Legacy

 

Box Covers

 

  

  

 

Individual Blu-ray Release out in June 2014:

Distribution Universal Studios
Region 1 - NTSC 
Universal Studios (Hitchcock Masterpiece)
Region 1 - NTSC
Universal Studios (Legacy Series)
Region 1 - NTSC 
Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray



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Gary Tooze