Cast: Jon Finch, Alec McCowen, Barry Foster, Anna Massey and Barbara Leigh-Hunt

Year of release: 1972

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Plot: A serial killer is murdering young women via necktie strangulation. When he kills again, the police hunt down the wrong man.

Adapted from Arthur La Bern's novel- Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square- and shot in the U.K,  this was the second to last final bow of the Master of Suspense as a director before his death in 1980. Hitchcock is forever remembered for his many nail-biting, suspenseful mysteries and thrillers... Psycho, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Rebecca, as well as his first coloured film, Rope. Some viewed him as a bit of a tyrant and obsessed with detail but no one can say he didn't get the work done. Frenzy (which Hitchcock also produced ) was yet another of his successes, nail-biting, with a memorable climax.

The film's opening scene would stun first-time viewers as it showed several people discovering the body of a naked woman in the Thames river with a necktie around her neck; the dialogue revealing she was not his first victim.

We are then introduced to the protagonist, Richard 'Dickie' Blaney (Jon Finch, fresh from his previous lead role in Macbeth at the time). He's ex RAF, from his tone not working class but works at a  Covent Garden pub as a bartender, but does not get along with his rude boss (Bernard Cribbins), who fires him for assumed theft. Blaney is a man sore
with the world, slightly mollified by his girlfriend Babs (Anna Massey), who also works at the pub,  his jovial food merchant friend Bob Rusk and his ex-wife Brenda (Barbara Leigh-Hunt)  he goes to vent to but ends up having dinner with her. He's not exactly a likeable fellow, he has a hot temper, is impulsive and easily gets provoked- those flaws partially contributing to the trouble he later gets in.

The killer- to our surprise- is revealed quite early in the film and we watch as he claims his next victim in rather graphic detail; the infamous shower scene in Pyscho was relatively tame compared to this cringeworthy scene. The killer is a sick, disgusting animal who has no shred of remorse for his actions and he manages to cover his ass well. Because Richard happened to be with the victim before the murder and his volatile personality witnessed by people, he is the main suspect and has to go in hiding, with only a few people as his allies.

The rest of the film shows the police hunting for Richard, the search intensifying when another woman is killed. Leading the investigation is Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McGowen), a very capable man, yet to our frustration pursues Richard via circumstantial evidence; sharing his ideas on the case with his wife- whose experimental cooking provides comic relief. There is a scene where the killer frantically searches for a piece of evidence that could clearly incriminate him and another when Richard's ex-boss  Forsythe- who keeps insisting what a bastard Richard was- fingers him to the police; either he envied him for having Bab's heart or his more elevated background, we never know.  Richard's recurring hot temper does not help him and after his arrest and sentence, still does not go out just like that, he goes out in search of the culprit, even if he is hanged for it. Not a likeable fellow true, but neither did he deserve to be imprisoned for something he didn't do.

Frenzy is a well-told and acted out thriller and while it was more modern in tone, it portrayed London in a simpler time when having  20 pounds in your pocket could keep your head above water. It was also the first time Hitchcock allowed nudity, so it was definitely more daring than his previous works. Hitchock also made use of the clever camera work he was known for, the scene when the killer claimed his second (on-screen) victim, the camera pans back from the apartment the crime occurred- down the staircase to the street outside, people  nonchalantly  walking; but the audience would immediately imagine the horror that was happening upstairs, more suspenseful yet vivid in the mind  since we don't hear her screams.
Hitchcock once again delivered.


Much to Alfred Hitchcock's annoyance, Michael Caine refused to play the killer, as he didn't to be associated with such a 'disgusting character'. (Good choice, Michael)

Dame Helen Mirren turned down the role of Richard's girlfriend, Babs; a decision she forever regretted. In 2012, she played Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, in the biopic Hitchcock.

Hitchcock, known for cameo appearances in his films is seen among the people listening to a speech near the Thames, at the opening scene.

                                                           Video Credit: WatchMojo 


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