Updated: Sep 10, 2020
From Alfred Hitchcock to Cary Grant to Audrey Hepburn’s breakout role, classic-film fans are sure to find favorites among this month’s debuts.
A quintet of classic-film debuts on Blu-ray and DVD this month promise not only great stars and great stories, but some terrific costume moments as well. Let’s get into it:
The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Alfred Hitchcock arguably made some of his best films between 1954 and 1963, and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has gathered four iconic titles for an exceptional box set, each one in a tack-sharp 4K resolution. Three of the four — 1954’s Rear Window, 1958’s Vertigo and 1963’s The Birds — also feature memorable costumes by Edith Head. (Psycho’s costumes were designed by an uncredited Rita Riggs, and both the broadcast and extended uncut version of the film are included here). This eight-disc set is also packed with features and extras, including documentaries, expert commentaries, screen tests, storyboards and more. An unquestionable must for the libraries of Hitchcock fans, costume-design fans, Grace Kelly fans — the list goes on.
Psycho 60th Anniversary Edition (1960)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and John Gavin
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Costumes by Rita Riggs
Even some hardcore Hitchcock fans don’t know that there’s an uncut version of Psycho; soon after that initial run, the film was edited for content, and that's the version most know from TV and subsequent re-releases. Like the Hitchcock compilation above, both the uncut version and the broadcast version are included in this Blu-ray to commemorate the 60th anniversary of what many believe to be the director’s scariest film. Janet Leigh plays Marion Crane, a secretary who embezzles $40,000, and her only mistake in her escape is checking into the wrong motel, run by Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. In addition to the two versions, bonus features include the documentary The Making of Psycho, a feature commentary by Stephen Rebello, author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, excerpts from the legendary Alfred Hitchcock/Francois Truffaut interviews, and a look at storyboards by the legendary Saul Bass as part of a deep dive into the shower scene.
Roman Holiday (1953)
Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment
Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
Directed by William Wyler
Costumes by Edith Head
The movie that made the world fall in love with Audrey Hepburn is finally being released on Blu-ray as a remastered edition from a 4K film transfer. Part of the newly launched Paramount Presents series of remastered classics, Roman Holiday quite literally charmed the world when it was released in 1953, with Hepburn as a modern-day princess who escapes her royal duties for just one day, and in the process falls in love with both the Italian capital and the handsome reporter played by Gregory Peck. Hepburn won an Academy Award for this, her first starring role, while Edith Head likewise took home an Oscar for Best Costume Design. Extras include featurettes on Head’s costumes, the Rome locations and the script by a still-blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, as well as a pair of features that celebrate Hepburn’s Paramount years. Paramount Presents has been positioned as a limited series, so order this now for your own collection or any and every Audrey Hepburn fan you know.
Cary Grant Collection
KL Studio Classics
This three-disc set is perfect for the passionate Cary Grant fan in your life, as it highlights a trio of lesser-known films the iconic actor made between 1934 and 1936 — which also makes them a great option if costumes of the 1930s is your thing. In Ladies Should Listen, directed by Frank Tuttle in 1934 and featuring gowns by Travis Banton, Grant stars opposite Frances Drake, who plays a switchboard operator who falls in love with his Julian De Lussac, a business tycoon who doesn’t realize that his girlfriend has ulterior motives. In 1936’s Wedding Present, directed by Richard Wallace and featuring costumes by Irene Lentz, Joan Bennett plays Rusty, an ace reporter whose world is thrown into chaos when her reporter boyfriend, Grant’s Charlie, is promoted to city editor. And in Big Brown Eyes, also from 1936 and directed by Raoul Walsh, Bennett and Grant are paired up once again: This time she’s a manicurist and he’s a detective on the hunt for some jewel robbers — through a set of wacky circumstances, she transitions from manicurist to reporter and helps him catch the bad guys, all in costumes by Helen Taylor. They’re far from Grant’s best-known films, but he’s still Cary Grant in each of them, and that makes this early work worth watching.
Love Me Tonight (1932)
KL Studio Classics
Starring Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and Myrna Loy
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Costumes by Travis Banton and Edith Head
In this fluffy musical comedy, Maurice Chevalier sings one of the 20th century's most iconic numbers, “Isn’t It Romantic?” while playing a Paris tailor trying to track down a past-due bill. In the ensuing adventures (as would only happen in a 1930s film), he’s mistaken for an aristocrat and must navigate society life at a chateau, where he soon encounters Jeannette MacDonald as a princess who’s trying to guard her heart and her true identity. Myrna Loy is also featured in Love Me Tonight as the wonderfully named Countess Valentine, and MacDonald evidently was worried about being upstaged: Look for the scene in which MacDonald is seen in a white empire-waist gown — as Loy relates in her 1987 autobiography, Being and Becoming, MacDonald thought her co-star looked a little too good in that dress and demanded that she be allowed to wear it herself. Loy graciously relented and went in search of a substitute costume, and evidently devised a black-lace ensemble herself (and not with the assistance of co-costume designers Travis Banton and Edith Head) from garments she found in the costume department. As the scene reveals, MacDonald still may have been upstaged.
In addition to this new 4K restoration of Love Me Tonight, extras on this Blu-ray include a new audio commentary by film historian Miles Kreuger, founder and president of the Institute of the American Musical.