One of Laserlight's Alfred Hitchcock Special Editions, this DVD of Sabotage and The Lodger shows signs of having been less well thought through than many in the line. Luckily, this does not make much difference in terms of the content -- the main menu is simply rather boring. Tony Curtis is on hand for a particularly bad introduction that suffers from a fair bit of compression noise, as well as sporadic outbreaks of Brooklynese from Curtis. Sabotage is presented full-frame from an excellent print, with very few print artifacts to be found. Black-and-white levels are good, with some deep blacks, though most shade somewhat towards grey. The image is slightly soft, but without graininess, and there are no compression artifacts visible or much in the way of edge enhancement. Audio is unfortunately a somewhat different story. There is some degree of both hum and hiss present throughout, and higher frequencies seem to be completely absent (indicating some attempt at noise reduction), giving the track a somewhat muffled sound (playing with EQ should help a little). Sabotage (based on Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent) is one of Hitchcock's best, and this edition is a good one to see.
The Lodger is a prime example of an Alfred Hitchcock silent movie and a harbinger of his later work, including elements of mistaken identity and voyeurism, not to mention serial murder and stolid but helpless cops. The movie itself was restored, with a new score, during 1999. This release, alas, is not that restoration, but it is fairly decent. The print comes from Vintage Films and is relatively easy to watch, despite blemishes and scratches. There seems to have been some effort to get the speed correct, avoiding jerkiness and epidemic silly-walking, though brightness and contrast tend to fluctuate with regularity. The film itself appears to be complete, and while the title cards are fuzzy and grayish, they are readable. The Lodger is equipped with a serviceable score that complements the action fairly well, though it does tend to degenerate into schmaltz every so often. Laserlight's transfer treats the music respectfully, but without an excess of effort, leaving the body inhabiting a kind of sonic middleground. The DVD also includes a trailer for Foreign Correspondent, which is in fine condition. ~ Steven E. McDonald, All Movie Guide