Steven Spielberg: Director's Collection review

Bumper boxset sees four more Spielberg movies make their long-awaited Blu-ray debut

This eight-film boxset brings together all but one of the films Steven Spielberg has made for Universal to date –  Duel (1971), The Sugarland Express (1974), Jaws (1975), 1941 (1979), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Always (1989), Jurassic Park (1993) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – four of which get their first HD outing here.

Duel was Spielberg's feature debut, albeit directing a TV movie (which was released theatrically abroad with extra footage). As calling cards go, this tale of a lone driver being stalked by a mysterious tanker truck is hard to fault.

The Sugarland Express is a more low-key, but still entertaining, piece of comic-melodrama, playing like a more sympathetic version of Bonnie and Clyde. Meanwhile World War II comedy 1941 may be a misfire, but at least it's a spectacular misfire.

The same cannot be said for Always, Spielberg's remake of Victor Fleming's 1943 romantic drama A Guy Named Joe, which would be reminiscent of Ghost – but only if that film had been stuck with a lopsided plot and a fairly unlikable lead.

Picture: The newly-restored Duel is the undoubted star here. Looking every bit the authentic 35mm production, the 1.85:1-framed image exceeds expectations with its plentiful detail and film grain.

While presumably taken from an older master, the 2.40:1 Full HD presentation of The Sugarland Express does at least maintain the film's slightly hazy visual style. Sadly, both versions of 1941 (see below) have been tarred with the DNR brush, resulting in a rather digital-looking transfer. While the 1.85:1-framed Always also shows some signs of digital tampering, it's not quite as egregious as that on 1941, resulting in an image akin to the quality of Jurassic Park and its sequel.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Duel, 1941 and Always all sport effective DTS-HD MA 5.1 mixes that deliver plenty of dynamic effects. The Sugarland Express receives a more modest DTS-HD MA 2.0 upgrade. Once again, Duel is the pick of the bunch, making great use of the rears whenever the truck bares down on our hero's car.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: While The Sugarland Express and Always can only muster trailers, the other two newcomers fare far better. Duel offers a trio of interviews, plus a photo gallery and trailer, while 1941 gets two versions of the film (each on its own BD platter), a feature-length Making of…, deleted scenes and more.

The other four Blu-ray platters in the boxset (Jaws, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park) are identical to their original standalone Blu-ray releases in all regards – right down to their extra features.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: Well worth a punt if you don't already own any of Spielberg’s films in high-definition

Steven Spielberg: Director’s Collection, Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £80 Approx