- Actors: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Anna Massey, Alec McCowen
- 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: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- 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 (122 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00005N8BM
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,182 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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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.
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Top customer reviews
The story stands up as genuine thriller material, some crazy fruit loop is strangling women with neck ties and the police are trailing the wrong man...Sound familiar? Well yes it is, but Hitch being Hitch, he manages to bring dashes of humour to go with the tense taut terror unfolding on the screen.
The cast do fine here, and I do believe that the fact that none of the actors are top draw names actually helps the film bring out an uneasy feel, here the interesting fleshing of the characters is one of Hitchcock's great strengths in this particular piece. The villain of the piece stands up as one of the best because he could easily be your best mate, someone you readily turn to in times of need, yet strip away that facade and you get the savage murdering rapist that Hitchcock takes great delight in assaulting our eyes with.
Although its rating on IMDb hovers around 7.5 I have always been led to believe that Frenzy wasn't all that well thought of, tales of America refusing to embrace the film because of its London sensibility, and tired old arguments about the great man being past his peak etc. I have no idea if any of those statements are true? But what I personally know is that Frenzy is a very good film that has me squirming and laughing in equal measure, so with that it's just shy of being a Hitchcock classic, but still it stands up as better than what most other thriller directors could ever have hoped to have achieved back then. 8/10
Everyone in the film portray their various roles well. The late Alec McCowen (MacCowen?) is particularly exceptional as the police detective. His facial expressions as he has to endure eating (or not!) yet another one of his wife's continental meals is priceless.
The subject matter may not be to everyones taste, but the black humour throughout more than makes it worth watching.