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Frenzy More at IMDbPro »

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Index 198 reviews in total 

Good film, but not as good as other Hitchcock masterpieces.

Author: NBates1 from Planet Earth
2 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Alfred Hitchcock's FRENZY was released in 1972, notably later than his previous masterpieces of the 50s/60s, so it is much more graphic and sexual than all of them.

The story is quite engaging, but it never does scare someone, because I did not really feel the atmosphere one supposedly feels when watching a Hitchcock thriller (such as Psycho, Rear Window, etc.).

The movie does contain a rape scene (that was graphic considering this was in the 70s), where Rusk sexually assaults his friend Blaney's ex-wife in her office and then strangles her with a neck- tie. There is quite a bit of nudity in this film as well.

The musical score was nothing special, but the camera work was good. The performance were good as well, and Jon Finch did an impressive job as the lead. The others were effective.

However, you never really feel he is a wrong man arrested, as he is extremely casual about it; unlike Cary Grant's character in North by Northwest who tries his best to flee.

Hitchcock's directing was great as usual.

All in all, the film was interesting and the plot was great and engaging (and humorous at times), but I never really felt the atmosphere of a Hitchcock thriller.

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Master Released

Author: Joropukki from Helsinki, Finland
24 January 2016

After seeing this impressive masterpiece for the third time I thought Sir Alfred Hitchcock's active career took place two or three decades too early with reference to his true nature. Here he was free from the constraints of U.S. puritanism of the Forties and Fifties. He was a modern here. He showed how to direct a shockingly macabre story with brilliant flair and impact, but also with a fine balance between slashing and insinuation. Frenzy was Ealing Studio stuff transported into future, as an emancipated variant of Baronets and Good Hearts – so British. Dear John (Carpenter), did you ever see this one? For some strange reason I kept on thinking of Freud all the while I was watching this. 8/10

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Not Hitch at his best!

Author: JohnHowardReid
28 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From its sweeping opening shots taken from a helicopter, we are led to expect something rather stylish and certainly made with ultimate craftsmanship – and we do actually get this occasionally, for example in the long tracking shot through bustling Covent Garden with Barry Foster and Anna Massey. But, unfortunately, there's also a sloppy, slapdash quality we don't expect from a master: Miss Leigh-Hunt's too white make-up in the club dinner scene, the obvious substitution of figure models for both Leigh-Hunt and Massey, and the fact that the movie is burdened with far too many expository passages. A movie is a movie. It needs to move, not stand still like a TV drama. And as for the plot itself? Dear me, it's a familiar old chestnut if ever there was one. True, Hitch has attempted to give it a bit of life by dressing it up with a bit of nudity and sexual sadism. But this attempt to be "modern" only emphasizes the dullness of the basic story and the one-dimensional quality of all the characters. The old-style Hitch used to go about dealing with like problems by directing at such a cracker pace that there no was time for anyone in the audience to suspend disbelief – at least not until the movie was over! An ambivalent attitude as to whether Rusk or Blaney is the central character doesn't help. True, Foster is very competent as Rusk and tends to squeeze Finch out – even though Finch enjoys top billing. The support cast is not great either, though Cribbins and Whitelaw do what can, despite their disappointingly small roles. Perhaps with a bit of trimming, the pace would not be so sluggish?

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Hitchcock's Joke

Author: disinterested_spectator from United States
10 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A man who rapes women and then strangles them with a necktie is terrorizing London. Chief Inspector Oxford is in charge of the case, assisted by Sergeant Spearman. At one point during the movie, Oxford tells Spearman that when they catch up with the necktie strangler, it will probably turn out that he is impotent. Spearman expresses surprise, and rightly so, for this is a bizarre claim. A man who is impotent cannot get an erection, and therefore is incapable of having sexual intercourse. Therefore, if the necktie strangler were impotent, there would be no semen in the vaginas of his victims. Since all of his victims were murdered and thus could not give evidence, why would the police think the women were raped? Inspector Oxford does not address that question, but simply tells Sergeant Spearman that it is not sex that gratifies such rapists, but violence.

Several years prior to the production of this movie, it became fashionable to say that rape was not about sex, and some people maintain that theory to this day. It is said that rape is really about power, about dominating women. Even if it is so that rape has some motive other than sex, there still has to be a rape, and that means that the rapist cannot be impotent, regardless of what his motive might be. If we bend over backwards to make sense of Oxford's claim, we might say that the rapist is able to penetrate, but cannot achieve completion, cannot ejaculate. But that would mean no semen in the vagina, which brings us right back to the question, what would make the police think the women had been raped?

Oxford speaks with an authoritative voice in the movie, and so we know we are supposed to believe him. But aside from squaring impotence with rape, there is the incongruity between his words and the rape that took place in the movie thirty minutes before, when we see Rusk raping Brenda. In the history of mainstream cinema, no movie, made before or since, has depicted sex, consensual or coerced, in which anyone, male or female, experiences greater heights of sexual ecstasy than does that of the necktie strangler in "Frenzy."

What is remarkable about this movie is that, in discussing it with others, I have noticed that a lot of people accept the pronouncements of the detective, notwithstanding their apparent inconsistency with the rape scene. This is in part due to the authoritative voice of the detective, and in part due to the widespread acceptance of the rape-is-not-about-sex theory at that time. I have seen people twist themselves into a pretzel trying to argue that the rapist never really got it up, let alone gratified himself sexually.

I suspect that this was Hitchcock's idea of a joke. He purposely put this contradiction into the movie between the words of the pompous detective and the scene of sexual passion, as his way of making fun of that theory.

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A Slice of Classic Hitchcock

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
13 August 2014

I saw this the first time the year it was released. The friend I was with was not impressed. He kept saying that it was say over the top and contrived, that Hitchcock was throwing images at us as we writhed in our seats. Yes, he probably is the master at making us uncomfortable. He is expert at dramatic irony. He welcome his audience into his world. We know who the killer is but poor Jon Finch is hung out to dry just as Cary Grant and Robert Donat were. It's what he does. He doesn't just give us death; he shows the eyes of the murdered as the life goes out of them. He has us follow a poor young woman as she marches to her death, not knowing what is at the top of those stairs. He is also comedic, with the police detective suffering through his wife's awful experimental cooking. As codes changed, Hitchcock changed with them and was able to be much more graphic. This is not Hitch's last film, but, I believe, it is the last worth seeing. The conclusion is masterful and will have you gasping for breath.

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Hitch at his cheeky and lecherous best

Author: PimpinAinttEasy from India
13 May 2014

With all the new artistic freedom in the 70s, Hitch is at his cheeky and lecherous best in FRENZY. His portrayal of women in this film is close to pornographic.

It is a very British film, with all the scenes of pub life and the understated British humor and elegance. Some of the dialogs and scenes are pretty outrageous but it is all understated. I was not all that impressed by JON FINCH. I remember seeing BARRY FOSTER in TWISTED NERVE and he plays a similar character in this film. The women are beautiful as always.

It was enjoyable but not as thrilling as some of his earlier work. I guess it is closer to films like UNDER CAPRICORN.


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Don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
18 March 2014

I've yet to see all of Hitchcock's films, but Frenzy has surely got to be his most brutal and shocking, a daring psycho-sexual thriller which, to the best of my knowledge, is the only one of his films to be released on DVD in the UK with an 18 certificate.

Unlike 'vintage' Hitchcock movies such as Rear Window, Vertigo and Psycho, this film is far less focused on impressing the viewer with impeccably staged, cleverly edited, edge-of-the seat set-pieces and more concerned with bringing a sense of realism to proceedings. This means that there are no glamorous, big-name Hollywood stars—the relatively unknown British actors he uses look just like 'real' people—and the whole film is staged in the shabby, working-class surroundings of London's Covent Garden market.

Hitch makes matters more gritty by pushing his film as far as possible in terms of sexual violence, with the first murder in particular proving extremely harrowing due to its explicit execution; it's a bold move from a long established director not afraid to change with the times. The director's black sense of humour is also very much in evidence and serves to make the movie an even more uncomfortable experience, the deliberately awkward juxtaposition of the horrific and the comedic making the viewer feel bad for laughing.

This shift in style from Hollywood gloss to British realism might be a step too far for some fans of the director, but I found the change to be rather refreshing, and despite the occasional flaw in the plot (police procedure is particularly shoddy), I reckon that this is one of the director's more accomplished films, a delightfully twisted tale from an undisputed master of the macabre.

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From a filmmaking standpoint it's great. However, I wasn't a real fan.

Author: bobbysoxer97 from Michigan
23 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I give this mediocre review out of my own deeply personal opinion of the film. There are some subjects I cannot handle; a story of a psycho rapist is one of them. Hitchcock's name is synonymous with edgy suspense films and until I had seen the this, I hadn't met one I did not like. From a professional standpoint the film has many, many great points. The long pan from the second murder victim's doom to the busy street outside, the scene that shows just how hard it is to deal with a dead body while bouncing around in the back of a truck, etc. Great filmmaking. However, I couldn't enjoy the film. For some reason, the subject matter struck a horrific chord with me and I couldn't stomach it. The rape scene was all too realistic and as a woman it was like watching a nightmare on screen; the line of a "good scare" had be crossed by yards. Cinematically Hitch is still at the top of his game...however, I will say that this is my least favorite film of his. Not really bad; I just could not enjoy it.

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Lovely...lovely...lovely (Tongue-in-cheek sex murder story from Hitch!) xx Spoilers xx

Author: naseby from London, England
12 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Weirdly humorous in places, for Hitchcock at the same time meant to engage a story of a serious subject about a London serial killer, dubbed naturally by the media as 'The Necktie Killer' - it says it all about the sex killing to boot! A plot involving a disgraced former RAF officer, Blaney (Jon Finch, sadly not seen enough in film)implicated for the murders. After losing his job to the 'bastard' Bernard Cribbins at the pub he'd worked at, his erstwhile pal, 'ladies' man, wide-boy, Bob Rusk (Barry Foster) tries to help him out but, too proud to accept his help for a job, cash and a tip on a horse (that comes in and he failed to back) he then goes to see his ex, played by Barbara Leigh-Hunt. They do get on a little, but Blaney's the 'angry man' who always lets that get the better of him. Helped also by 'Babs' at the pub, the late Anna Massey ... let's just say that the latter two ladies end up wearing a tie, implicating Blaney further - what is it they say, victims are always victims to someone they know!!!

So... in comes Alec McCowen, as the police officer investigating, with a neat touch of a horrible wife who likes to kill too ... by serving McCowen with awful 'experimental exotic recipes'. Whilst lapping up fry-ups when he's away from her, he's hunting for Blaney. But... however it looks, with tip-off after tip-off about Blaney's whereabouts and help from his posh mate Clive Swift, this guy's just so unlucky. Right up until the police finally get somewhere other than promotion in locating ... should I say who? I 'have' got SPOILERS up, so read no further if you don't want to know... yep, it was his chum, right along, Bob Rusk ... some friend!

The end is a nice piece as it looks as if Blaney has caught up with Rusk ... only for the police to finally nab him. This thriller had some good acting from 'angry' Finch as Blaney with a good supporting British cast. Some nice lines ... when a barmaid says to a 'regular' lawyer, 'He rapes them FIRST' ... 'Well, every cloud has a silver lining' replies the lawyer!!! 'We haven't had a good murderer since Christie, it's so good for the tourist trade ... they all think our streets are full of Hansom Cabs and whores with ripped throats!' he goes on! A nice little niche especially as it was Hitchcock's last, set in his own home town, with some neatly played touches of humour as I say. Foster is palatable as the murderer and people who don't like Blaney (the word 'bastard' is often used by him and others about him!) made this watchable. It's probably not lasted the test of time but still is worth your time if you like a thriller.

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brutal Alfred Hitchcock

Author: SnoopyStyle
15 November 2013

There is a serial killer/rapist on the loose in London. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) is a former RAF officer and a wandering unemployed loser. He has a loud argument with his ex-wife Brenda Blaney (Barbara Leigh-Hunt). When the real serial killer claim Brenda as his next victim, Richard Blaney becomes the mistaken target of the police's investigation.

Alfred Hitchcock is evolving. He's foreshadowing a move to more graphic violence in horrors to come. He dispenses with the stylish killing of Psycho with a more brutal realistic portrayal. He's pushing the audience to its limits. The violence isn't the cartoon violence of Texas Chain Saw Massacre which would come 2 years after this or the blood gushing of the Japanese Samurai movies. The serial killer rapes and strangles this girl. The camera pushes right into her face as she dies. It's a disturbing visual.

The weakness is really the directing style and the acting. It has the static feel and extended shots of an earlier era. Although the brutality of the kill is there, the speed and excitement of more modern movies is missing. He is too rooted in his old traditional moves. It would take a new breed of directors to take horror into a new golden age.

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