By CAINE GARDNER
To say that Hollywood owes much to film legend Alfred Hitchcock would be an understatement.
Not only has the late director defined and epitomize the suspense genre, he also has touched every facet of filmmaking, leaving fans on the edge of their seats for generations.
A collection of the director's works has hit store shelves and is comprised of some of Hitchcock's lesser-known, yet still powerful films.
The best known film in the collection is Rebecca. Winner of the 1940 Oscar for Best Picture as well as Best Cinematography, Rebecca is the story of a young woman (Joan Fontaine) who marries Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier).
Soon she discovers that the household is loyal to Maxim's late wife Rebecca, especially the nasty Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson).
The movie is wonderful because of the multitude of elements that come together to form a tense thriller. You have suspected cheating, mysterious deaths and a deranged housekeeper. Olivier's performance is top notch.
This marked Hitchcock's first American movie and his only Best Picture win.
For my money Lifeboat is the jewel of this collection. Lifeboat is a drama set in World War II and is the story of American and British passengers that must seek refuge in a lifeboat after a German U-Boat sinks their ship.
An already precarious situation turns even more hairy when they pick up a ninth passenger that turns out to be the U-boat captain.
The flick is filled with intensity, suspense and emotion and it all takes place in a lifeboat. If that isn't an achievement I don't know what is.
In The Making of Lifeboat, Hitchcock's granddaughter reveals that although the film received rave reviews early, some critics took issue with the portrayal of the Nazi captain.
Some critic bared fangs and went after Hitchcock for his so-called positive depiction of the captain, which resulted in the film getting a limited release and a reduced advertising push.
Films also included in the collection are: Sabotage, The Paradine Case, Spellbound, Notorious, Young and Innocent and Hitchcock's silent thriller The Lodger.
In the restoration comparison that is included on most of the disks, it's easy to see that careful detail that went into bringing these films back to the clarity in which they are presented.
The presentation of the collection is wonderful in its own right.
The hard outer shell protects a 32-page notebook with trivia, production notes and more about each of the films.
Also included are a slew of goodies. Audio commentaries, featurettes, screen tests, the AFI Tribute to Hitchcock and interviews with the legendary director are just some of the treasures.
Final Cut: Hitchcock's Premiere Collection is an eight-disk testament to the mastery in which the director displayed over his 54-year film career. Not only will the collection intensify your passion for anything Hitchcock, it looks wicked sitting in your DVD collection.