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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/hitchcock.htm
U.S. 1940

Well, it's not a Hitchcock picture," Alfred Hitchcock once told Fran็ois Truffaut when asked about Rebecca, his first American film and the first in a series made for producer David O. Selznick (Gone With The Wind, A Star Is Born). Though Hitchcock explained that Rebecca's source material (Daphne Du Maurier's best-selling book) kept it outside the sphere of a typical Hitchcock movie, he could also have been referring to any number of factors. Most of them would have been tied to Selznick, whose insistence on being closely involved with the book and producing a faithful adaptation forced Hitchcock to deliver a film that broke the mold of his British thrillers. An excellent new two-disc DVD version unpacks Rebecca's tumultuous production history through an incisive commentary, a set of Selznick's legendary and unsparing memos, exit polls from a test screening, and other material. Though the final cut of the film often supports Hitchcock's statement, the compromise seems to have kick-started the director's development, forcing him to rely less on tricks perfected in his past work, and to immerse himself in the piece's tortured psychology.

Excerpt of Keith Phipps review at the Onion AV located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: April 12, 1940

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Comparison:

Anchor Bay - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment 

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 135
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
MGM's Rebecca is part of the Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection (which contains Lifeboat / Spellbound / Notorious / The Paradine Case / Sabotage / Young and Innocent / Rebecca / and The Lodger).

              

Runtime 2:10:16 2:10:52 2:10:20 2:10:41.875
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.28 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 7.84
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 4.86
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,492,427,252 bytes

Feature: 41,127,862,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.39 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

Bitrate:

MGM

Bitrate:

MGM Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital Mono)

English (Dolby Digital mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2025 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2025 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles None English, and none English, Spanish, French and none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 4.5" x 7' original theatrical poster replica

DVD Release Date: September 7, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 19

 


Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by film scholar Leonard J. Leff, author of Hitchcock and Selznick: The Rich and Strange Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in Hollywood
• Isolated music and effects track
• Rare screen, hair, makeup, and costume tests including Vivien Leigh, Anne Baxter, Loretta Young, Margaret Sullavan, and Joan Fontaine
• Footage from the 1940 Annual Academy Awards ceremony, at which Rebecca won Best Picture and Best Cinematography Oscars
• Hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos chronicling the film's production from location scouting, set photos, and wardrobe continuity to ads, posters, lobby cards, and promotional memorabilia
• Illustrated essay on Daphne du Maurier, author of the book on which Rebecca is based
• Hitchcock on Rebecca: excerpts from the director's conversations with filmmaker Francois Truffaut
• Phone interviews with star Joan Fontaine and Dame Judith Anderson from 1986
• Hitchcock's casting notes
• Reissue trailer
• Production correspondence and casting notes
• 1939 test screening questionnaire
• Complete broadcast of the 1938 Campbell Playhouse radio adaptation, starring Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre players, including an interview with Daphne du Maurier
• 1941 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast starring Ronald Colman & Ida Lupino, including and an interview with David O. Selznick
• 1950 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast starring Laurence Olivier & Vivian Leigh
• Liner notes by Robin Wood, author of the groundbreaking book Hitchcock's Film and Hitchcock's Film Revisited in a 22-page booklet

DVD Release Date: November 20, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 27  

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary with critic Richard Schickel
• Isolated music and effects track
• Rare screen, hair, makeup, and costume tests including  Margaret Sullavan, Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine (9:11)
• The Making of Rebecca featurette (28:05)
• The Gothic World of Daphne du Maurier featurette (19:01)

• 3 X 1 hour Radio Plays
• Hitchcock on Rebecca: excerpts from the director's conversations with filmmaker Francois Truffaut (9:19) and Peter Bogdanovich (4:26)
• Trailer

Stills Gallery (Posters, Portraits, Behind the Scenes)


DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 28  

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,492,427,252 bytes

Feature: 41,127,862,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.39 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary with critic Richard Schickel
• Isolated music and effects track
• Rare screen, hair, makeup, and costume tests including  Margaret Sullavan, Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine (9:07 in 480i)
• The Making of Rebecca featurette (28:08 in 480i)
• The Gothic World of Daphne du Maurier featurette (19:02 in 480i)

• 3 X 1 hour Radio Plays
• Hitchcock on Rebecca: excerpts from the director's conversations with filmmaker Francois Truffaut (9:15) and Peter Bogdanovich (4:20)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:22)


Blu-ray Release Date: January 24th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray  Case

Chapters 28  

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - January 12': The story on the MGM Blu-ray is the grain. This dual-layered transfer with a high bitrate really supports the film's inherent textures. It looks fabulous. Even some of the noise morphs into a grain-like appearance. None of the SD visual appearances can compare. This is a categorical difference between a soft, flat video-look and a solid representation of film. Contrast improves, there is a touch of depth in a few scenes but the major issue is the grain. Detail doesn't dramatically improve but there is more information in the frame than any of the DVD editions. My only complaints would be some flickering contrast in the opening - also the image shook a little. This dissipates after the first 3 minutes. If my memory serves this occurred on the MGM DVD as well.

MGM (actually the Fox logo precedes the Blu-ray presentation - followed the film starting with the Selznick Studio 'white house') have given this lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 stereo at 2025 kbps. It sounds very good. Franz Waxman's original score sounds wonderful via uncompressed and is accessible through an isolated music track (as offered on the last DVD). There are optional English (SDH) subtitles - see sample below - and the disc is Region FREE.

Supplements duplicate the 2008 MGM DVD minus the Stills Galleries. We get the excellent commentary by Richard Schickel, screen tests, Hitch conversations with Francois Truffaut and Bogdanovich, the 30 minute 'making of...' , 3 hours worth of radio plays - one by Orson Welles - etc.

This is such an easy recommendation for the price offered. It amounts to a must-own - especially for those keen on a thicker, grainer, image and bodes well for the coming Notorious [Blu-ray] and Spellbound [Blu-ray] packages.

***

NOTE: Defective MGM Hitchcock Premiere DVD Collection
Reports are coming in by the droves about the
MGM Hitchcock Premiere Collection. We do not yet own the entire set and have only covered Notorious and Rebecca which played without issue on my Malata - but we understand many individual's players are having problems with all, or selective transfers from the set. These represent faults such as the disc wobbling in the tray, unsubstantiated noise in playback, freezing and chapter skips. MGM must recall this set immediately. If you own the set please verify if you too have these problems and report them to the outlet you purchased them or MGM directly. If we find an email to use we will post it here.

ADDITION: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - October 08': The image on this new MGM DVD, described as 'remastered' and 'restored', may be marginally superior to the Criterion. It has a tendency to look a bit thin at times and I suspect some black level boosting. While it may look minutely sharper - it also appears to have a few more artifacts. I seriously doubt though that anyone would make issue - adamantly preferring one transfer over the other. Without the credit sequence differences it may be hard to tell them apart on most systems. This is probably as close as we will get to perfection on SD-DVD for Rebecca. I do think that the MGM could have looked better, with improved compression, if it hadn't stacked the dual-layered disc with so many extras but instead put them on a second DVD (see the low bitrate of the MGM above). Either/or - the MGM image looks fine to me - still some noise in blackness and a few artifacts visible around brighter edges. I still greatly look forward to this classic in 1080p resolution.

The mono audio sounds fine and I could make no differentiation with the Criterion. The MGM offers a couple more subtitles options.

Supplements prove the biggest reason to pick this new MGM DVD up. There is a new commentary by Richard Schickel. He is reasonably informative and professional. He lets the narrative run in many spots but overall I think it is worth listening to although not a lot of new details seem imparted. Some featurettes cross-over from the Criterion (isolated music track, screen tests, Hitch conversation with Francois Truffaut etc.) but pieces are added (or subtracted) a bit too. The Criterion seems to include a few more screen tests and the MGM adds a 5 minute conversation with Peter Bogdanovich. I enjoyed the 30 minute 'making of...' with some new material and interviews. I wasn't keen on the 3 hours worth of radio plays - one by Orson Welles - but other might enjoy stepping back in time by listening to these.

I'll be comparing more from the Hitchcock Premiere Collection - as for now I'm still on the fence about the upgrade. The good news about this MGM is that it is improved in certain areas with new supplemental material. They didn't appear to screw the Rebecca release up (which was always a suspicion). If you are keen on extras it may be worth the double dip. If you don't own the Criterion - price should dictate your decision and the Criterion is way out-of-print fetching ridiculous prices.   

 Gary W. Tooze   

***

ON THE ANCHOR BAY vs. THE CRITERION: Of the three Hitch-Anchor Bay/Criterion DVD comparisons (Rebecca, Notorious and Spellbound), I think 'Rebecca' is the least obvious in the disparity in image quality, but perhaps the most in Extras. Anchor Bay did not do a bad job on transferring the image to DVD when they did it back in 1999. Upon close inspection the Criterion though is on top. Peeking film grain, cleaner and sharper picture quality are the obvious signs that Criterion has the best image of this film on DVD in Region 1. Include in that the pitch-perfect contrast and the immense extras (although this reviewer will negatively comment on the large percentage of text based screens on the Criterion). Although I didn't notice a "hiss" on the Anchor Bay 2.0 sound, it was definitely not as clear as the Criterion. Being a huge fan of this film I, of course, prefer the Criterion edition, but if you weigh into account dollar value and you just want to see this film not obsess over it, you might consider the Anchor Bay (if you can still buy it). Even being a big fan of "Rebecca" I found the Criterion Extras excessive... but before I look a gift-horse in the mouth, I am grateful to Criterion for their efforts. It is the best DVD edition of this film.

 Gary W. Tooze 


DVD Menus

 

(Anchor Bay R0 - NTSC - RIGHT vs. Criterion R1 - NTSC - LEFT)

 

MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Example of other SD and Blu-ray - BOTTOM

NOTE: Notice the different Font used in the title. I have no idea why.


1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

NOTE: Criterion have picture-boxed the opening credits.


  MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray subtitle sample

 

 

1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 



 

1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment 

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 135
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion