Home Video


It's time for another home video recommendation from our movie critic Bob Mondello. This week, ahead of Halloween, he suggests a new set of classic films guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine. It's "Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection."

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: You want to be scared shoutless? These are the films to do it: "Psycho."


MONDELLO: "Rear Window."


JIMMY STEWART: (as L.B. 'Jeff' Jeffries) I wonder if it's ethical to watch a man with binoculars and a long focus lens.

MONDELLO: "The Birds." "North by Northwest."


MONDELLO: And "Vertigo."


MONDELLO: Five by the master in one remastered package. By their last release in theaters, some of these films were in pretty bad shape. Happily, Universal's frame-by-frame restoration didn't just clean them up, it yielded some nifty bonuses, especially for fans of composer Bernard Hermann. Ever wondered what "Psycho's" shower scene would have sounded like without his screeching violins amping up the horror?


JANET LEIGH: (as Marion Crane) Ow. Oh.

MONDELLO: Janet Leigh is no slouch. But that's just not the same. And on "North by Northwest," you can play the whole movie with just the music track, though that means you won't hear Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint chattering away as they cling by their fingernails from Mount Rushmore.


EVA MARIE SAINT: (as Eve Kendall) What happened to the first two marriages?

CARY GRANT: (as Roger O. Thornhill) Now, my wives divorced me.

SAINT: (as Eve Kendall) Why?

GRANT: (as Roger O. Thornhill) Oh, I think they said I lived too dull a life. Oh, come on.

MONDELLO: Other extras include a truly terrible ending. The director was forced to shoot for "Vertigo's" overseas engagements at the insistence of foreign censors. Also, Peter Bogdanovich doing a terrific Hitchcock impression, Tippi Hedron's screen test for "The Birds," and Hitchcock himself regaling the press with how "The Birds" got such a short title.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK: Just two words - there were three but we cut the first word - for.


HITCHCOCK: And call it simply "The Birds."

MONDELLO: "Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials," five classics from a filmmaker who knew how to amuse while scaring the yell out of you.

I'm Bob Mondello.

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