DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Hitchcock, Blu-ray (2013)

While not a perfect film, both Hopkins and Mirren shine in this story about their relationship and the making of Psycho.

Published on March 25, 2013

Hitchcock, Blu-ray (2013)

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Studio: 20th Century Fox Searchlight, Blu-ray & DVD [3/12/13]
Music: Danny Elfman
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French or Spanish DD 5.1Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed versions: French or Spanish
Extras: Commentary track with Gervasi & Stephen Rebello (author of the book on which the film is based), Deleted scene, “Becoming the Master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock,” “Obessed with Hitchcock,” Sacha Gervasi’s behind-the-scenes cell phone footage, Hitchcock cell phone PSA, The Story, The Cast, Danny Elfman Maestro, Hitch and Alma, Remembering Hitchcock, Theatrical trailer
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: ****½

This is based mostly on a book concerning the creation of the (at the time) very un-Hitchcock-like film Psycho. He becomes obsessed with a rather grisly murder story he reads about and insists on making a film of it. At first his wife Alma (who has long suffered his many problems of ego, self-doubt, hangups with his blonde actresses, overeating) opposes the idea of the film but eventually supports him in it. His studio turns him down so he puts their house up for collateral in order to do the film.

Alma spends time helping a male friend edit his book and this makes Hitch very jealous. It will be surprising to many viewers how involved Alma was in Hitch’s films and what an active role she played on script rewriting. In the end he wins her back and credits her with some of his success. As we all know, Hitch eventually makes it and Psycho is perhaps his masterpiece.

Hopkins shows he worked really hard to impersonate Hitchcock and does a terrific job, fat suit and all. But Helen Mirren is the most incredible with her portrayal of Mrs. Hitchcock, including giving him a burning dressing-down at one point. And Hopkins’ best bit is when he lurks outside the door of the theater running a first showing of Psycho and feverishly “conducts” the audience’s screaming during the famous shower scene. Scarlet Johannson as Janet Leigh and the actor playing Tony Perkins are also perfect in their roles. We don’t get to hear any of Bernard Hermann’s famous score or see him, but Danny Elfman’s music works well for the film. The many extras are made to order for any Hitchcock fan, though like  many (non-Criterion) extras do get a bit repetitious as you proceed thru them. (And certainly a contrast to those films which come out on Blu-ray without any extras at all.)

—John Sunier




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