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Frenzy [DVD]

Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Alec McCowen, Billie Whitelaw, Anna Massey
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Anthony Shaffer, Arthur La Bern
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, William Hill
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch
  • Dubbed: German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Oct 2005
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005N8BM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,982 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Alfred Hitchcock's first British film since 'Stage Fright' (1950) stars Barry Foster as market trader Robert Rusk, a psychopathic killer who strangles women with ties. Suspicion falls, however, on the innocent Richard Blaney (Jon Finch), after Rusk kills Blaney's ex-wife Brenda (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) and his current girlfriend (Anna Massey). Set-pieces include Rusk's desperate attempt to prise an incriminating tie-pin out of one of his victim's hands (now rigid with rigor mortis) and a leisurely tracking shot up a flight of stairs to alight upon a grisly murder in progress.


By the time Alfred Hitchcock's second-to-last picture came out in 1972, the censorship restrictions under which he had laboured during his long career had eased up. Now he could give full sway to his lurid fantasies, and that may explain why Frenzy is the director's most violent movie by far--outstripping even Psycho for sheer brutality. Adapted by playwright Anthony Shaffer, the story concerns a series of rape-murders committed by suave fruit-merchant Bob Rusk (Barry Foster), who gets his kicks from throttling women with a necktie. This being a Hitchcock thriller, suspicion naturally falls on the wrong man--ill-tempered publican Richard Blaney (Jon Finch). Enter Inspector Oxford from New Scotland Yard (Alex McCowan), who thrashes out the finer points of the case with his wife (Vivian Merchant), whose tireless enthusiasm for indigestible delicacies like quail with grapes supplies a classic running gag.

Frenzy was the first film Hitchcock had shot entirely in his native Britain since Jamaica Inn (1939), and many contemporary critics used that fact to account for what seemed to them a glorious return to form after a string of Hollywood duds (Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz). Hitchcock specialists are often less wild about it, judging the detective plot mechanical and the oh-so-English tone insufferable. But at least three sequences rank among the most skin-crawling the maestro ever put on celluloid. There is an astonishing moment when the camera backs away from a room in which a murder is occurring, down the stairs, through the front door and then across the street to join the crowd milling indifferently on the pavement. There is also the killer's nerve-wracking attempt to retrieve his tiepin from a corpse stuffed into a sack of potatoes. Finally, there is one act of strangulation so prolonged and gruesome it verges on the pornographic. Was the veteran film-maker a rampant misogynist as feminist observers have frequently charged? Sit through this appalling scene if you dare and decide for yourself. --Peter Matthews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 8 Feb 2009
Format: DVD
Hitchcock, one of the most famous British expatriates in the cinema industry, came back for one film in England, in London very exactly and he demonstrated in the early 70s he was able to build a cool thriller, in the traditional English style and rhythm and make it fascinating. The case is of course so quaint, so passé and he enjoys making thinks look the way they looked not in the 70s but in the 60s. He concentrates the film on Covent Garden when it was still a fruit and vegetable market, on their pubs, their dealers, their night life and their busy running hectic at times life. Today all that has disappeared and you can find the London Transport Museum where you used to have banana and orange wholesale dealers. Then he worked hard on finding the particular ways Londoners lived at that time, just after coal was banned around 1962. And of course his killer is well integrated in this extremely regular disorganized precipitation. The fashion is just right, the home furniture and various small equipment are just right, authentic, and yet the sarcastic eye of Alfred Hitchcock cannot forget to show the flaws and the drawbacks of this life that is slowly opening up to continental Europe and the whole world. The gourmet classes for housewives teaching them all kinds of French recipes that are of course deliciously failed by these amateurs while the good old bacon and eggs are getting out of fashion. But then we are in pure Hitchcockian fiction. A serial killer who strangles his victims with his ties and then dispose of them, both the victims and the ties together. An imbroglio that makes a friend of that killer be suspected and then, with a little of effort from the killer, that suspected person becomes the convicted killer who is no killer at all.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert on 29 Sep 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Being the first on here to actually review the Blu-ray, I can say that I compared the opening scene (beside the River Thames) on this Blu-ray to the DVD and the picture quality is a bit sharper here. Throughout the film I didn't see a lot of difference to the DVD but at least it's clear that this Blu-ray is a bit clearer and sound slightly better. The special features are repeated from the DVD. Just worth the upgrade to Blu.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 28 Mar 2007
Format: DVD
This movie was a winner from the outset - it could not fail; having all the necessary ingredients of a super thriller - coupled with a cast that consisted of some of Britain's finest talent of the time. Indeed, we could never view Barry Foster quite the same afterwards! It also included an impeccable supporting cast that starred Jean Marsh, (who had risen to fame at about the same time with the success of the award-winning TV series 'Upstairs, Downstairs') Jimmy Gardner (of 10 Rillington Place fame - playing an effeminate porter!); Clive Swift, Billie Whitelaw, Anna Massey and Michael Bates. But the leads could not have been more well-chosen. Alec McCowen was simply superb as the handsome, and rather 'gentle' chief inspector, who is married to the subservient wife who uses him as her culinary guinea pig! Played by the marvellous Vivien Merchant, she gives us an entertaining performance, and amuses audiences by taking delight in reminding her wonderful husband (who, to use his own words; 'does not knock her about, or make her do degrading things') that it was 'he', that had put the poor Mr. Blaney behind bars - and not she! This film does have its amusing moments, but I think I am correct in saying that this was the very first movie to ever feature the showing of the full length murder of a victim in 'real time' as it were - something viewers today perhaps might not fully appreciate at just how shocking and disturbing this was at the time! Some of the younger viewers might also find some of the acting just a little dated and over-the-top; i.e. Jean Marsh - too 'prim' perhaps as the spinster secretary, and Mr. Blaney too 'angry a young man' as the young fellow down on his luck.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By doctor oz MB,MRCP on 25 Sep 2008
Format: DVD
This is an excellent view of showing how a simple crime can be hideously misinterpreted leading to a gross miscarriage of justice .

The observations of people from their aspects can lead to huge errors is beutifully borne out by the clever script .

The various perspectives sound very logical yet we know the wrong man is being implicated as the serial killer but hitchcock wants us to derive at the final conclusion -is circumstantial evidence ever enough to accuse and convict a person .

He has intelligently answered the query and left us to make our own conclusions regarding the controversial issue.

There is a typically humoresque subplot about the merits of marital life and the culinary delights of french cuisine which the master has delightfully ridiculed here as an english wife introduces her reluctant spouse to continental delights in a hilarious manner.

The crimes are staged with subtlety though there are some graphic scenes involving rape and murder- they are in context and give you a psychological insight into the killer's mind .

The movie is my favourite amongst the latter day productions of the master and is a very witty story as well as a tecnical gem -must see.
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