7.4/10
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Frenzy (1972)

R | | Thriller | 21 June 1972 (USA)
Trailer
2:54 | Trailer
A serial murderer is strangling women with a necktie. The London police have a suspect, but he is the wrong man.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Arthur La Bern (novel), Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,179 ( 516)
Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Finch ... Richard Blaney
Barry Foster ... Robert Rusk
Barbara Leigh-Hunt ... Brenda Blaney
Anna Massey ... Babs Milligan
Alec McCowen ... Chief Inspector Tim Oxford
Vivien Merchant ... Mrs. Oxford
Billie Whitelaw ... Hetty Porter
Clive Swift ... Johnny Porter
Bernard Cribbins ... Felix Forsythe
Michael Bates ... Sergeant Spearman
Jean Marsh ... Monica Barling
Madge Ryan ... Mrs. Davison
Elsie Randolph ... Gladys
Gerald Sim ... Solicitor in Pub
John Boxer John Boxer ... Sir George
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Storyline

London is terrorized by a vicious sex killer known as The Necktie Murderer. Following the brutal slaying of his ex-wife, down-on-his-luck Richard Blaney is suspected by the police of being the killer. He goes on the run, determined to prove his innocence. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A shattering tale of psychological horror See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vanessa Redgrave reportedly turned down the role of Brenda, and David Hemmings (who had co-starred with Redgrave in Blow-Up (1966)) was considered to play Blaney. See more »

Goofs

After the camera goes back down the staircase and out the front door into the market, a man walks past carrying a big sack of potatoes on his shoulder, covering the transition from the studio shot to the exterior shot. Before he passes (the studio shot), the door frame on the right is clean, but afterwards (the exterior), a greasy black stain can be seen on the right of the door frame above the doorbell. The design of the left-hand side of the door frame differs between the two shots and the brass "Duckworth & Co" sign on the frame catches the light in the interior shot, but is dull and tarnished in the outside shot. There is a sudden jump in the positions of the potatoes in the bag between the two shots. Also in the exterior shot, a lampshade and the shadow of the archway over the interior door can be seen reflected in the window over the stairs when no such reflection was seen in the studio shot. See more »

Quotes

[to his wife]
Chief Inspector Oxford: No, discretion is not traditionally the strong suit of the psychopath, dear. Believe me, that's what we're dealing with. You ought to read his wife's divorce petition.
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Crazy Credits

The Universal Pictures logo does not appear on this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

ABC edited 9 minutes from this film for its 1975 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: John Landis (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Poem
(uncredited)
Music by Zdenek Fibich
Arranged by Ron Goodwin
See more »

User Reviews

I've got to tell you - you're my kind of girl...
29 November 2004 | by jay4stein79-1See all my reviews

A month or two ago, I decided to watch as many Hitchcock films as I could. This adventure lasted a paltry two days, but, in that time, I viewed, for the first time, a handful of Hitch films I'd theretofore avoided. I hadn't avoided them because I'd heard they were bad; simply put, Hitchcock, after the brilliance of Vertigo, let me down. Vertigo introduced me to the man and it made such an impression that I promptly went out and watched his other major works. Yet, every new film I watched was a great step down from the previous film (Rear Window was a much lesser film than Vertigo, Psycho a lesser film than Window, and then the Birds and Rope sitting there at the bottom of the barrel). I couldn't believe that the man who had made a masterpiece such as Vertigo could also create the, pardon the pun, lame-duck Birds.

In any event, I ignored my past and dove back into his oeuvre, watching Strangers on a Train (excellent), The Lady Vanishes (absolutely brilliant), Rebecca (fantastic), Notorious (superb) and Spellbound (decent). At the top of my list of Hitch to view, though, was Frenzy which I was unfortunately unable to locate at the local video store.

Well, in the library last week, while trying to decide whether or not I should watch Fanny and Alexander for the third time this year, I saw Frenzy not too far away. I grabbed it, happy with my choice, and left. Of the several films I borrowed from the library that day, I saved Frenzy for last. I'd like to say I saved it because I knew it would be the best film of the bunch; in truth, I had no idea what to expect. Let's say I was more than pleasantly surprised. In my humble estimation, Frenzy may just be Hitchcock's second greatest film. Why? Mostly because its blend of terrifying violence and gallows humor is brilliantly inter-mingled - also because he reveals the murderer within the first 45 minutes.

Your standard mystery/suspense yarn typically waits until the last fifteen minutes to un-mask the murderer/thief/saboteur. Hitchcock, and writer Anthony Shaffer (working from an Arthur La Bern novel), let us in on the secret early. That they keep our interest for the rest of the two-hour film is incredible. That, though, is prime Hitchcock for you because it's not what the man's films are about - it's how they're about them.

In fact, this entire film is prime Hitchcock. It contains beautiful camera technique (the tracking shot that reveals a murder occurring in the hub bub of daily London life is gorgeously chilling) and the steady, but brutal, hand of a master in control. Case in point: the first on-screen murder represents the most uncomfortable, yet terribly engrossing moment in any film I've seen in a long time. (For an interesting counterpoint to this scene - which is absolutely taxing upon the audience - see the rapes in A Clockwork Orange, made a year earlier, which titillate rather than horrify). ( Also see the scenes with Scottie remaking Judy in Madeline's image in Vertigo for another example of this uncomfortable/engrossing quality).

Oh, but did I mention that it's a riot too? Yes, that's right - Frenzy is very funny. The domestic scenes involving a police inspector and his wife's newfound affair with Continental cuisine will make anyone laugh, but the truly brilliant humor is much more subtle and much more dark. Not to give too much away, but rigor mortis has never been so amusing.

I know it's atypical to call Frenzy one of Hitch's greatest works, but my belief in this fact is sincere. The master uses an R-rating to show us what, exactly, he is capable of doing. This is Hitchcock unleashed, letting all his darkness and absurdity flow forth in a sharply satirical, horrifying, and brilliant film. It takes the piss with Psycho, North by Northwest, the Birds - anything post-Vertigo. And, for me, it challenges his brilliant, early career as well. The only film it cannot touch is Vertigo, but to expect that it could is silly. It's a late masterpiece and would have been the brilliant end to a brilliant career (Family Plot is all right; but it's no Frenzy).


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,121
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (uncredited)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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