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A movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock

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Hitchcock's First "R" Rating

  • Dec 7, 2000
Pros: brilliant cinematography at times; some funny parts

Cons: flat characters; poor cast; disappointing overall

Frenzy is the first Hitchcock film to merit an "R" rating from the censors. After seeing this film in class, it deserved the rating. Granted it was filmed in the 70s and lacks a great deal of Hitchcock suspense (ie- North by Northwest and Strangers On A Train), but the story is as solid as the majority of Hitchcock's other films.

Set in England, this movie tells the tale of the Necktie Killer and the man mistaken to be him. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) is a man down on his luck. He loses his job at the pub where he was working, sleeps at the Salvation Army, then goes to see his ex-wife, Brenda (Barbara Leigh-Hunt). The next day, Brenda is found dead, strangled by a necktie just like the other victims of the serial killings going on throughout the area. Richard doesn't know what to do, as he knows that he is going to be accused of his wife's murder, so he goes into hiding with the help of his girlfriend Babs (Anna Massey). Soon, Richard is caught by the police, but figures out who the real killer is. Richard needs to prove his innocence and seek his revenge.

The main reason I didn't like this film was because I wasn't prepared for it. One of the first scenes is the rape of Brenda Blaney. I didn't know that it was going to happen. Professor Crawford warned that there were some violent and graphic scenes, but I didn't even think about a rape being played out before my very eyes. It was harsh and brutal and inhumane. For a rape victim, it may be too much to watch.

Secondly, it seemed as though Hitchcock was going with the flow of "sex in the 70s" which really disappointed me. I expected something a little more highbrow from Hitch. Then again, we all know that Hitchcock had a little sexual frustrations of his own. (For example, he said that he barely ever had sex with his wife. It was an "Intellectual Marriage.") perhaps we're just seeing his frustrations acted out on the screen.

The characters are flat. Perhaps it's because the actors are unknown and (no offense) British. They just don't seem to possess any sort of dimension, which is quite disappointing.

I don't like the time setting, either. It fits into the seventies well, I suppose, but I think hitch may have been a little ahead of his time with this one. If there were any Hitchcock movie I'd like to see a remake of in current times, I would probably choose Frenzy. It might work better now.

Hitch seems to use shock a lot more than suspense in this film. You can tell that Hitchcock was getting old and tired. I was sorely disappointed with this one. Even the direction is lacking in certain areas.

The cinematography, however, has its moments of brilliance. There's one shot with a camera pulling away from the scene of the crime, ending up on a street where everyday life is going on. Pure cinema, as Hitchcock called it.

There were many moments in Frenzy that were predictable. For example, Dionne and I called exactly when we were going to hear a scream. Other parts revealed Hitchcock's like of sick humor. (I don't want to ruin these parts, in case you'd like to watch the film.)

Overall, I didn't like it. I would never watch it again. I don't recommend it. Watch Psycho instead.


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review by . April 01, 2012
A serial murderer nicknamed the 'necktie killer' is terrorizing women in London, and Richard Blaney (Jon Finch), seen at the wrong place at the wrong time, becomes the chief suspect. How to prove his innocence?      Alfred Hitchcock's next-to-last film has a very English feel to it with an all-British cast and gritty London locations. Void of scares but with grotesque and disturbing moments, the plot never arouses real 'frenzy' (especially among the audience); …
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FRENZY was Alfred Hitchcock's next-to-last film--and the first film he'd made in England in 20 years. It was based on an Arthur La Bern novel and focuses on many of the same motifs that Hitchcock had obsessively examined throughout his life's work: the wrong man theme, the doubling theme (in which one person acts out the repressed violence of another), and the general public's thirst for sex and violence. Hitchcock had made films featuring Jack the Ripper-type killers before, including THE LODGER in 1926, a silent movie about a series of murders in London and a mysterious man who appears to be guilty of the crimes. In FRENZY, Hitchcock goes mod with this blackly comic story about a sex criminal--the Necktie Killer--plaguing post-Carnaby London. An innocent man who is suspected by police as the murderer must fight to nab the real perpetrator and clear his name. Though lesser known, FRENZY marked a striking return to form for the famed director. It was also his first R-rated picture. Anthony Shaffer's scri...
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Cast: Clive Swift
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Release Date: 1972
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Universal Studios Home Video (June 20, 2006)
Runtime: 1hr 56min
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