A mammoth reviewing assignment for Sight & Sound magazine began on Friday 7th September 2012 with the arrival of the first seven UK Blu-rays in the new ALFRED HITCHCOCK: THE MASTERPIECE COLLECTION. A fourteen Blu-ray boxset from Universal containing films Hitch made for them between 1942–1976. On Tuesday 11th September, I received the remaining 6 x Blu-rays. (The Blu-ray for Psycho was not forthcoming, which leads me to believe it might be identical to the currently available Blu-ray, released in 2010. Psycho is the only film in the set that has previously been released on Blu-ray anywhere before.) The US edition of this set contains an extra film, North by Northwest, making 15 in total, due to a US-only deal between Universal and Warner Bros.
The same day I received the first discs, I began reporting my rough viewing notes, including some major problems. A few days later, the word from Universal in America was that the set had been delayed 5 weeks until October 30th (from September 25th). It took a few days for that to filter through to Universal UK…
UPDATE: An official statement I received on September 20th:
“Universal Pictures International Entertainment is moving the UK Blu-ray release of “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” to 5 November 2012. Certain imperfections with the product have come to light and, as a result, we are adjusting the release date to correct these points. Our goal is to always deliver the best possible product to our consumers.”
Unfortunately, Universal aren’t commenting further about exactly which “imperfections” they might be correcting. If I hear anything I will of course update these entries.
The following detailed tech info represents my manually typed observations of the Blu-rays I have received, i.e. ones that might be receiving improvement. If you click each one you’ll find my rough technical notes.
(I’ve given rough scores out of 10 for the technical merit of the film’s transfer to Blu-ray. Here’s how I see the marking system: Less than 5 is pretty problematic. 5 is very average. 6 is slightly disappointing but good. 7 or above is very good. 9s are barnstorming. I don’t intend to give 10s.)