Happy Birthday Hitch!

It hardly seems two minutes since the centenary in 1999, but it was 106 years ago today that Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, London.
As all good Hitchcock fans will know, that means tomorrow marks the 106th anniversary of the birth of Hitchcock’s future wife, Alma Lucy Reville, in Nottingham.
For those of you in the UK, don’t forget that BBC2 and BBC4 are broadcasting three Hitchcock films today (“Dial M”, “Mr & Mrs Smith”, and “Blackmail”)!

Universal’s “Masters of Cinema”

Whilst we wait to find out if the “AFI Salute” contained in the upcoming “Masterpiece Collection is full length or just edited highlights, I’ve unearthed a bit more info about the “Masters of Cinema” extra contained on the 15th DVD.
I think most of us had assumed it would be a new documentary, but it looks like it’s actually a couple of archive interviews with Hitchcock from 1972 that were broadcast as part of CBS’s “Camera Three” series.
“Camera Three: The Illustrated Hitchcock” was broadcast in two parts – the first part was an interview conducted by Pia Lindstrom (daughter of Ingrid Bergman), and the second conducted by film historian Willian Everson.
The total running time of both parts is about 55 minutes. However, the version recently submitted to the British Board of Film Classification is only 34 minutes. Once again, I wonder if Universal is planning to include an edited version?

UK R2 – Hitchcock: The Complete Box Set

There’s still no formal announcment from Universal regarding their UK version of the Masterpiece Collection, however…
Amazon.co.uk are now listing the box set for release on October 17th, with a RRP of £99.99. Assuming we’re getting exactly the same content as the US release, then that works out at £7.14 per film – not bad, eh?
Well, at today’s exchange rate, the RRP of the US box set is only £67.50 – that’s just £4.82 per film!
I’m sure Universal will have a valid reason for charging UK customers nearly 50% more for the same thing, but for me it’s just another example of rip off Britain… grrrrrrrr!!!
The other bad news is that it looks like the bonus 15th DVD isn’t going to be all it was cracked up to be – the BBFC has just classified “AFI Salute to Hitchcock” and “Masters of Cinema“.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot that the combined running time of both extras is only 49 minutes. Not only that, but the 15 minute running time of the “AFI Salute” means that Universal have removed approximately 56 minutes of the original broadcast footage (previously released on VHS by Castle Communications PLC).
The “Masters of Cinema” running time of 33 minutes doesn’t look too good either – especially when Universal own the (currently unreleased on DVD) documentary “Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius” (aka “Dial H for Hitchcock”) which runs for 101 minutes.
Okay – that’s my little rant over!

Blackmail on BBC4

Just got an email from the BBC! 🙂

Hi there
I just wanted to let you know that we are showing Hitchcock’s classic film Blackmail on BBC Four on Saturday 13 August at 10pm:
It is accompanied by a new documentary based on Matthew Sweet’s book about early British cinema, Shepperton Babylon:
I thought that your users might be interested in both programmes.
Best wishes
BBC Four webteam

I’d spotted that Blackmail was showing on BBC4 next Saturday (in fact, there’s quite a few Hitchcock films & programmes on that day), but I’d missed the “Shepperton Babylon” programme – many thanks to the BBC Four Webteam for the “heads up”!