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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 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 ...
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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 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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Special Features

The story of Frenzy; Production notes; Production photographs; Theatrical trailer
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/20/2006
  • UPC: 025192830624
  • Original Release: 1972
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Remastered / Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 8,865

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 Cribbens 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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Disc #1 -- An Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece: Frenzy
   Chapter List
   Bonus Materials
      The Story of Frenzy
      Production Photographs
      Theatrical Trailer
      Production Notes
      Spoken Language: English
      Spoken Language: Français
      Subtitles: English SDH*
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    "You're my type of woman."

    A marvelous suspense film with a taut screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, "Frenzy" turned out to be Hitchcock's best film in years with a flawless cast of non-stars. The wrong man becomes the chief suspect when his ex-wife is murdered--we've seen this plot before but Hitchcock, the master, keeps the pace spinning with humor and invention. It's a Hitchcockian nightmare in which an innocent man is accused and arrested of a murder he did not commit. It has some of the most unbearably suspenseful scenes since "Psycho", with just the right amount of wry, macabre bits of humor to take a bit off the edge of the horror. Hitchcock's Englishness has always had a powerful grip on him. With "Frenzy", we are nearly back in the days of his great English films--"The Man Who Knew Too Much", "The 39 Steps", "Secret Agent", "Sabotage", "Young and Innocent", "The Lady Vanishes". The aging Hitchcock's accomplishment in "Frenzy" is astonishing, coming after the sub par quality of "Torn Curtain" and the financial failure of "Topaz". This sense of nationality always gave his English work a pungency and a warm swiftness. He was lucky to have drawn on Shaffer to do "Frenzy's" sly screenplay, not to speak of a cast of first-rate, well-equated actors pretty much unknown outside of England, so that audiences have no perceptions about which actors are the stars and therefore unkillable. Maybe going back to England revived something of his technical energy and sharpened his famous cutting edge of his sense of family combat. His superb balance of the ordinary and extraordinary again reminded us of how much he still deserved the name of master, and how well a master could entertain. [filmfactsman]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hitchcock is the film guru

    Frenzy is Hitchcock's lost masterpiece. The film is a return to his work that made him a genius in the art of character and camera creativity. The actors respond to his direction with momentum that cannot be slowed. The film is more intense than Psycho and more fluid than Vertigo. Definetly well worth watching over and over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews