"Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 3" contains several of my personal favorite episodes from Mr. Hitchcock's long-running anthology series from the 1950s and 1960s, such as "The Perfect Crime", "Dip In The Pool", and the classic tale of a housewife scorned (and armed with frozen meat), "Lamb To The Slaughter".
Coincidentally (well, probably not), all three of the above-mentioned episodes were directed by Mr. Hitchcock himself, which tends to make this writer think that when Hitch himself is at the helm, a certain extra "something" is added to that particular program. It's hard to define what it is, though. It seems to be a special "Hitch Quality" that raises the level of the episode a notch or two.
The list of guest stars that put in appearances in this third season of "AHP" is fairly impressive indeed, including one of the "masters of horror", Vincent Price, who (as usual) is very good in "The Perfect Crime".
And what better guest star could there possibly be for an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" than Mr. Price? Vincent's very presence in a TV show or motion picture conjures up in the viewer's mind ample thoughts of suspense, mystery, and murder, which makes him made to order for Mr. Hitchcock's television series.
Other familiar faces that can be found in this third-season collection are:
Joseph Cotten, Jack Klugman, Mildred Natwick, William Shatner, Jeanette Nolan, E.G. Marshall, Herbert Marshall, Vince Edwards, Michael Rennie, Jessica Tandy, Barbara Bel Geddes, Fay Wray, Steve Forrest, Claude Akins, Hume Cronyn, James Gregory, Gary Merrill, Carol Lynley, Joanna Moore, Pat Hingle, Jerry Paris, Keenan Wynn, Jack Albertson, Martin Balsam, plus (like Vincent Price) another one of Hollywood's all-time top kings of fright -- Peter Lorre, who shows up in the episode "The Diplomatic Corpse", which co-stars George Peppard.
We'll also find Lorre popping up in a very intriguing and creepy 5th-season "Hitchcock Presents" episode when Universal releases that boxed box in the future (knock wood) -- which is an episode that definitely makes my "Top 10" list of all-time AHP faves, "Man From The South".
Universal Studios Home Entertainment delivers "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Three" in a 5-Disc DVD set, with single-sided discs, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio, and the appropriate video (screen) shape of 1.33:1 (Full-Frame). The B&W picture and the sound are pretty darn good here too, in my opinion.
Like each of the first two seasons, there are 39 total shows in AHP-3. These episodes, which were originally seen on CBS-TV way back in 1957 and 1958, appear to be full and uncut on these DVDs, with running times that average about 26 minutes per show.
English subtitles are provided....and a "Play All" option is available from either the Main Menu on each DVD or via the "Episode Index" Sub-Menu on each of the five discs. Chapter breaks have been inserted into each episode too (four chapter stops per program). No bonus supplements are included in this set.
The DVD packaging consists of a three-panel "Digipak" inner case that holds the five discs, plus an outer box for the folding Digipak to comfortably slide into.
Each of the disc-holding panels sports a third-season publicity photo (revealed when the DVDs are removed from their respective trays), including a playful pose of a wide-eyed Vincent Price in the process of strangling Mr. Hitchcock.
And just in case anyone is keeping track of such things, I'll add this trivial packaging note: this set's inner case slides out from its outer slipcase box on the left-hand side (when looking at the front of the box, that is), which is the same design as Season #2, and it definitely feels backwards to me. I think the DVD innards should slide out on the right-hand side. But, it's not exactly worth throwing a fit over.
Anyway, just thought I'd mention it, for those keeping a "box" score at home. (BTW, the inner portion of the Season-One "AHP" DVD set slides out from the right-hand side of the case, just the opposite from Seasons 2 and 3. I guess Universal just likes to keep us guessing as to which end will be open on its DVD cases.) ~wink~
Another minor gripe I have with this third-season packaging is the fact that the text written on both of the spines of the box is too dark and totally unreadable when looking at the box from certain angles. I think Universal should have used lighter-colored lettering on the black spines, like they did for the first two Hitchcock season sets.
SOME FINAL "AHP" THOUGHTS:
With Universal's release of this third Hitchcock season on DVD on October 9, 2007, it now means that, up to the date of this review, 117 episodes of this spooky black-and-white television series (which ran for 7 seasons) have been digitally preserved on the DVD format. And a lot of good Hitchcock-flavored stories can be found within those first three full-season collections.
So, I'd positively recommend picking up a copy of "ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: SEASON THREE". And I'd also recommend something else too -- after purchasing this DVD set, I'd strongly suggest that you immediately dispose of any and all legs of lamb that you happen to have in the freezer. (Just so your spouse won't feel tempted, you see. No sense in taking any chances.) ;)
David Von Pein