Alfred Hitchcock Collectors’ Guide: Miscellaneous Releases

  • Numerous unusual worldwide releases don’t fit neatly into any standard Hitch videographies
  • But many are essential collector’s items; some of the most significant ones are highlighted here
  • Bootlegs of his British films have been given away in promotions by many major newspapers
  • This simple guide makes it easy to find the best quality Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases everywhere

Note: this is one of 70-odd Hitchcock articles coming over the next few months. Any dead links are to those not yet published. Subscribe to the email list to be notified when new ones appear.

Films of Alfred Hitchcock collage by Adan Chance, 2010

Films of Alfred Hitchcock collage by Adan Chance, 2010


VHS and DVD film magazines

Rich and Strange aka À l'est de Shanghaï (1931) Alfred Hitchcock, la collection au suspense insoutenable (unbearable) VHS magazine

Rich and Strange aka À l’est de Shanghaï (1931) Alfred Hitchcock, la collection au suspense insoutenable (unbearable) VHS magazine

In 1994 and again in 1998, French publishers Atlas issued a lengthy series of weekly magazines, AH: La Collection Atlas, with each one dedicated to every entry in Hitch’s available filmography. It even included the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series and every issue was accompanied by a licensed VHS cassette of the title in question.

The Man Who Knew Too Much aka L'Homme qui en savait trop (1934, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) French magazine DVD

The Man Who Knew Too Much French magazine DVD

French publishers repackaged and reissued the Atlas series on DVD in 2002 as La Collection AH en DVD, and did so again a final time from 2005 onwards, this time titled La Collection Alfred Hitchcock en DVD: 2nd Edition. They’re very well done and though rarely found for sale outside of France, are well worth collectingsi vous parlez français. Careful though: there are several runs of bootleg DVDs from different countries with very similar sleeve designs and typography. If picking them up, be sure to check the rear for the correct copyright notices and rights holders logos, such as Carlton International or Studiocanal. All but The Pleasure Garden/Mary (issue #47) have since been issued on regular French DVD.

Waltzes from Vienna aka Le Chant du Danube, starring Jessie Matthews (1934, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) French Universal-Le Figaro magazine DVD

Waltzes from Vienna/Downhill French Le Figaro DVD

French magazine Le Figaro produced yet another run of 20 Hitchcock-themed magazines in 2007 – the French really like their Hitchcock! Again each issue was accompanied by a specially packaged DVD. The spines were all numbered and collectively spelled out his name, while the discs were the regular commercial versions, complete with extras. This time, with the exception of their repackaged disc of Waltzes from Vienna/Downhill (issue #7) , they were all post-1930s films.

Italy-based publishers De Agostini produced their own 48-part weekly series of Hitch’s films on VHS from 1993–1995, titled Il cinema di Alfred Hitchcock, and reissued most of it on 36 DVDs from 2004–2006. Each was accompanied by a tidy illustrated booklet but while the American films had licensed transfers, all the pre-1940 British films were boots, and with Italian intertitles or dubbed audio only. Meanwhile, down in Mexico, De Agostini also distributed a 2006 set of 20 Spanish-language Hitch DVD-magazines of post-1940 films.

On a related note, Spain has had at least three very attractive Digibook-packaged runs of Hitch’s American films, including a 2007 “Gold Edition” series. But Spanish bootleggers Suevia swiftly followed suit with an identikit series of his British films, ripping off the previous editions’ name, artwork and packaging, but in much poorer quality.

Newspaper DVDs

The Times newspaper Hitchcock promo DVDs

The real thing: The Times Hitchcock promo DVDs.

For a few years in the early 2000s, several UK newspapers – The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian – issued freebie DVDs of various Hitch films of the 1930s and 1940s. However, only the former used restored, licensed transfers. Yup: The Telegraph and Guardian, those crusading pillars of the establishment, actually gave away bootlegs, contributing to an ever-growing pile. Though it was more likely through ignorance than malice. Theirs had the usual terrible transfers, whereas The Times licensed discs look great and actually improve on some of the regular barebones releases, in that they all have English subtitles. With the few exceptions noted below, all came in basic square card wallet sleeves and the entire series was reissued at the rate of one per day for a whole week in September 2008. They’re cheap and plentiful on UK eBay but tread carefully: ensure you only get those with The Times logo prominently displayed.

The Times official DVDs

All the above Hitch titles and more have also been issued with newspapers in various other European countries, most notably Greece. They turn up regularly on eBay but predictably they’re all bootlegs. There’s no shortage of others; even the venerable old Reader’s Digest got in on the act, via thankfully defunct bootleggers Blackhorse Entertainment.

Universal DVD box sets

22-DVD/25-film Alfred Hitchcock Collection (Universal France, 2015).

22-DVD/25-film Alfred Hitchcock Collection (Universal France, 2015)

These days, Hitch is easily the most enduringly popular classic filmmaker and his works are available in a multitude of official DVD collections everywhere. But in France and Benelux, Universal have issued several humongous box sets much more comprehensive in scope than most. They’re particularly notable for including many of his British films alongside the later American ones, whereas most such sets just have the latter. If you’re planning to build a complete Hitchcock DVD collection from scratch, they’re easily the best place to start: you can pick up half his entire output in one fell swoop. As with most Hitch discs issued in Europe, all sets are English-friendly and have copious extras. They’re also region 2, PAL format, and feature a host of sub and dub options.

In the French sets, Hitch’s British years are represented by three 2on1 DVDs:

Two or three are included in each set and the remainder consist of his American films.

The Benelux set has a different selection of eight British films on four 2on1 DVDs: Champagne/The Ring, The Manxman/The Farmer’s Wife, Blackmail/Murder and Skin Game/Rich and Strange. Though they’re not available individually, the four discs were initially issued with a fifth film, Foreign Correspondent (1940), in the AH Collection (2007).

Amazon De

Alfred Hitchcock caricature by Sete González

Alfred Hitchcock caricature by Sete González

  • Alfred Hitchcock Collectors’ Guide: Miscellaneous British Films
  • Free the Hitchcock 9! Releasing the BFI-Restored Silents on Home Video
  • Bootlegs Galore: The Great Alfred Hitchcock Rip-off
  • Alfred Hitchcock: Dial © for Copyright: British Law
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut: The Men Who Knew So Much
  • Alma Reville: The Power Behind Hitchcock’s Throne
  • Alfred Hitchcock Collectors’ Guide: The British Years in Print
  • Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side or the Wrong Man?
  • Alfred Hitchcock Collectors’ Guide: Miscellaneous Releases
  • Beware of Pirates! How to Avoid Bootleg Blu-rays and DVDs
  • Charlie Chaplin Collectors’ Guide, Part 2: The Bad, the Ugly and the Good
  • For more detailed specifications of official releases mentioned, check out the ever-useful DVDCompare. This article is regularly updated, so please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.


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