Frenzy

Frenzy

4.2 4
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Alfred Hitchcock, Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt

     
 

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Alfred Hitchcock entered the 1970s with his commercial reputation virtually in tatters, a far cry from his stature at the start of the 1960s. Then, he'd been in the middle of the massively successful trio of movies, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds, and was a ubiquitous presence onSee more details below

Overview

Alfred Hitchcock entered the 1970s with his commercial reputation virtually in tatters, a far cry from his stature at the start of the 1960s. Then, he'd been in the middle of the massively successful trio of movies, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds, and was a ubiquitous presence on television thanks to his anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents -- but the series ended, and he'd suffered three expensive box-office failures in a row, Marnie, Torn Curtain, and Topaz, in the second half of the 1960s. He redeemed himself with Frenzy, however, which marked his return not only to England for the first time in 20 years but also to the subject matter with which he'd started his career in thrillers back in 1926 -- murder, and a hunt for a serial killer in London. As the latest female victim of the "Necktie Murderer" is found in the Thames, raped and strangled, we meet Richard Blaney (Jon Finch), a bitter, belligerent ex-Royal Air Force officer who can't seem to find his way in life. He drinks too much and holds grudges too easily, and has an explosive temper, which is very near the surface as he's just lost his job. We also meet his girlfriend, a barmaid (Anna Massey); his ex-wife, a professional matchmaker (Barbara Leigh-Hunt); and his best friend, Covent Garden fruit seller Bob Rusk (Barry Foster). Their connection to the necktie murders will be clear to us in the first 30 minutes of the movie and, not coincidentally, completely misinterpreted by the police, as Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowan) and his men tighten a circle around the wrong man, who rapidly runs out of options and allies. The chase and suspense are classic Hitchcock, favorably recalling a dozen of his earlier movies, from The Lodger and The 39 Steps through Saboteur and Spellbound to Dial M for Murder and North by Northwest, with some new twists and the added energy afforded by the extensive use of actual London locations. There's also a good deal more sex and nudity here than Hitchcock was ever allowed to use in his earlier movies, owing to the relaxation of "decency" standards that had taken place in the years leading up to this production. The suspense derives from multiple interlocking and overlapping layers of uncertainty -- when will each of the two men, suspect and murderer, slip? (And which will slip first?) When and how will the police realize their mistake, and will it be in time to save the innocent man? Amid the straightforward storytelling and thriller elements, Hitchcock manages to slip in a few bravura cinematic moments, the best of them a pullback shot down a flight of stairs into a busy street as the killer invites his next victim into his home, as well as a scene aboard a truck, with a murderer desperately wrestling with a corpse hidden in a sack of potatoes. Frenzy was adapted from Arthur La Bern's novel Goodbye Picadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by mystery aficionado Anthony Shaffer, but for all of that and its decidedly modern trappings of sex and violence, it bears the indelible stylistic stamp of Alfred Hitchcock.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Alfred Hitchcock's penultimate feature Frenzy was not only the master's first British-based production in two decades, but also a return to creepy form after his rocky late '60s period. Mixing black comedy and Hitchcock's most gruesome violence since Psycho, Frenzy's story of a rapist-murderer and the wrong man accused of the crime covers classic Hitchcock territory of violent sexual deviance and the thin line between innocence and guilt. Though the atmosphere is periodically lightened by police inspector Alec McCowen's close encounters with his wife's "gourmet" cuisine, Hitchcock also takes advantage of the loosened strictures on film content to stage a horrific rape and strangulation 15 minutes into the film. This early revelation of the killer only increases the suspense, setting the stage for a macabre struggle in a potato truck between murderer and corpse, and the famous tracking shot that moves away from the killer's door (as he invites his next victim inside), down the apartment house stairs and across the street. Shot in London with a British cast, Frenzy's turn away from Hollywood glamour further emphasizes the horror that lurks beneath bland normality. An international success, Frenzy returned Hitchcock to Hollywood's good graces, but he would complete only one more film before his 1980 death.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/20/2006
UPC:
0025192830624
Original Release:
1972
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:56:00
Sales rank:
31,936

Special Features

The story of Frenzy; Production notes; Production photographs; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jon Finch Richard Blaney
Barry Foster Bob Rusk
Barbara Leigh-Hunt Brenda Blaney
Anna Massey Barbara "Babs" Milligan
Alec McCowen Chief Inspector Oxford
Vivien Merchant Mrs. Oxford
Rita Webb Mrs. Rusk
Gerald Sim Man at Bar
Clive Swift Johnny Porter
Elsie Randolph Gladys
George Tovey Mr. Salt
Madge Ryan Mrs. Davison
Billie Whitelaw Hetty Porter
Bernard Cribbins Forsythe
June C. Ellis The Barmaid
John Boxer Sir George
Michael Bates Sgt. Spearman
Bunny May The Barman
Jean Marsh Monica Baning, Brenda's secretary
Jimmy Gardner Hotel Porter
Robert Keegan Hospital Patient
Noel Johnson Man at Bar

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director,Producer
Colin M. Brewer Asst. Director
Brian Burgess Production Manager
Syd Cain Production Designer
Sidney Cain Production Designer
Harry Frampton Makeup
Ron Goodwin Score Composer
Peter Handford Sound/Sound Designer
John Jympson Editor
Robert Laing Art Director
Bob Laing Art Director
Henry Mancini Score Composer
Anthony Shaffer Screenwriter
Leonard J. South Cinematographer
Gilbert Taylor Cinematographer
Simon Wakefield Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- An Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece: Frenzy
1. Main Titles [1:59]
2. Another Necktie Murder [2:26]
3. Given the Push [12:15]
4. The Exd [8:49]
5. His Type of Woman [10:07]
6. It Was Blaney... [5:40]
7. Suddenly Rich [4:09]
8. The Murderer Upstairs [6:28]
9. The Porters [11:05]
10. Bob Helps Out [7:37]
11. Bagging Babs [3:55]
12. My Only Alibi [9:45]
13. Bob's Duty [4:13]
14. Guilty [5:01]
15. Under Suspicion [2:42]
16. Blaney's Escape [10:20]
17. Caught Without a Tie [4:39]
18. End Titles [3:42]

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