Viewed this on 23/6/15
This could be the very best film that Hitchcock has ever made or at least in par with Psycho(my favourite). Hitchcock uses never seen before elements into this film like nudity, uncensored violence and most of all real shooting locations and modern camera techniques making the visuals striking and more believable compared to his other close confined films like Rear Window. This film really requires nudity and it shows how good Hitchcock could have done had they allowed him to show the shower scene in Psycho the way he shot it. It's violence and Hitchcock's tread into much darker material is essential because it adds much psychological tension to the film. The score is also great. The most interesting storyline in the film is a comic relief story of the investigating officer and his wife. The story lets us guessing and tightening things even as the film goes to the very near. The performances are also spot on with Barry Foster giving an unforgettable performance and equally good is Alec McCowen who only comes into the latter half of the film. However, if I asked, I would say there's one small problem. The film shows women in a bad light in generally, they are all either nude and killed or they are beings that fail to understand the truth, like the secretary of Ms Blaney or the wife of Blaney's friend or like the investigator's wife.
One of Alfred the greats final films is a real sleazy treat for fans of his more exploitative side. Anyone wanting to know exactly why the likes of Dario Argento is often compared to old Hitch then this needs to be seen. What's best about this little gem is the fact that you can tell the old guy was having a bit of fun with it, he knows it isn't going to be his best or even close, so he fills this with nice touches of black humour, tonnes of bad language, and plenty of suspense. This is very much a middle of the pile addition, but the cast is good, it's very well structured, and it never allows itself to be taken seriously. Overall a good sit that is never boring to watch.
Another reason is how dark this movie is compared to Hitchcock's other films. The restrictions on what could be shown in movies was starting to ease, so you get see Hitchcock show scenes/actions he previously was unable to film. In the movie, Hitchcock shows nudity, he shows rape, he shows violence ...these are elements that were previously only suggested and/or implied. But just like the implications worked in Hitchcock's earlier films, the "in your face" style works too because Hitchcock was an amazing director.
Still another reason, is Barry Foster (Robert Rusk a.k.a. Uncle Bob) is fantastic at playing a truly creepy guy. He's the dapper British gent with a scary twisted freaky side to him that's just makes you want to cringe. Jon Finch is also excellent as playing one of Hitchcock's favorite roles i.e. "the mistaken identity guy". It has become one of my favorite Hitchcock films, and one of my favorite suspenseful films. It's one of those films I can watch over and over. Plus, I'm happy we have a film by Hitchcock where he wasn't so resticted in what he could and couldn't show as in previous years. I gave it 4 stars and not 5 stars because I reserve that for the true masterpieces such as NORTH BY NORTHWEST and REAR WINDOW.
Being a low budget British crime thriller, Frenzy is largely a return to Alfred Hitchcock's roots. The entire film has a distinctively British feel to it due to its locations and its cast, and that evokes the memories of a lot of Alfred Hitchcock's earlier works. The entire film has the charm of a good piece of British cinema, with one of the most distinctive elements being the language of the script. The screenplay is intelligent partially because its story is unpredictable and full of all kinds of twists and turns as well as many strong characters. The film is built on firm material from the ground up, and Alfred Hitchcock gives it an edge and an atmosphere to it. Things in the film are tense in a clever fashion, in an original and unconventional manner which shows Alfred Hitchcock taking a different kind of perspective on his story which is admirable, so it is one of his more creative explorations of cinema from the end of his career. It is certainly a step up following two rather familiar and similar efforts on Torn Curtain and Topaz.
Frenzy is interesting because it takes a different angle to the usual thriller. Usually, films chronicling the hunt for a serial killer with the mystery being the prime driving force behind it all. Frenzy instead diverts cinematic conventions and takes an all new look at its story. It is interesting because the tale is partially a mystery and partially a game of cat and mouse. The story has audiences fully aware of its twists with many of its characters aware of none of them, making it a film with an intriguing narrative structure. This helps to elevate the film above some of its other story flaws such as the slow pace of the feature. Although I will admit that this takes its toll on the movie in the long term because it means that the focus is all over the place and there end up being a lot of characters to keep up with. The non-traditional plot structure of Frenzy makes it both a memorable film and a somewhat confusing one. The general premise of the story is strong with the dynamics surrounding protagonist Richard Ian "Dick" Blaney and serial killer Robert Rusk being interesting, but there are many things standing in the way of it. As there is no mystery in the film, a lot of the plot elements relating to characters trying to figure out the identity of the serial killer really just prove to drag on. The mystery is absent in Frenzy in favour of a different form of intensity which is built on the progressing discovery of the Robert Rusk at the hands of Richard Ian "Dick" Blaney. Frenzy is all about the game of crime and it does so with an atmosphere which is tense but also makes it all seem natural without much forced dramatization, so it is an interesting feature as a whole, for better and for worse
Visaully, Frenzy adheres to a lot of Alfred Hitchcock's signature abilities as a filmmaker. It takes its low budget far and has a lot of powerful scenery and strong production design with no German Expressionism this time around. This makes the story feel very genuine and gives it a strong edge. Everything in the film is captured with firm, atmospheric cinematography which makes the tense mood of the experience very clear. Frenzy is packed with strong imagery which gives it a strong sense of legitimacy and makes it an intriguing experience, even if its style is sometimes superior to the quality of its story. It is a case of style over substance perhaps, but as Alfred Hitchcock is a master of intelligent filmmaking, he is able to give Frenzy an effective and memorable style to it.
And the cast in Frenzy do their part to ensure that the tale succeeds on a human level.
Jon Finch makes a fine lead in Frenzy. Caught up in all the confusion of the murder case, Richard Ian "Dick" Blaney has to incur a lot of unpredictable stressful situations in the plot dynamics. And Jon Finch succeeds at consistently keeping his emotions on par as the tale progresses through its gritty territory. He remains firm constantly throughout and interacts with the surrounding cast members with a strong sense of emotion without going melodramatic. He plays the role of Richard Ian "Dick" Blaney essentially as the everyman that he is which makes him an easily sympathetic figure, so he is a natural talent in the lead role.
But it is Barry Foster who stands out from the cast. Barry Foster does a good job as Robert "Bob" Rusk. In his part, he captures an interesting level of insanity. He hides it very nicely in a manner where he largely plays out the part with multiple personalities. He does it well because he establishes a character that is intense and unpredictable at during some moments of the film and so easily casual in others. The balance he puts into the part is grand and he does it so organically that he fits the profile of the serial killer antagonist easily. Barry Foster's performance in Frenzy is one of the finer aspects of the film, and his efforts make the feature a memorable one.
Alec McCowen puts a sense of determination into his role as Chief Inspector Oxford and he delivers his lines with a sense of wisdom to it and a real dedication to the script. Anna Massey also does her part in a matter of a few scenes.
So Alfred Hitchcock's "last great film" Frenzy is one with scattered focus, a slow pace and an abundance of subplots and extra characters. But it is a stylish film with an interesting plot structure, constant atmosphere and creative visual style to it.
Dispondo do grande senso de humor negro do mestre Hitchcock, o filme igualmente se beneficia da sofisticada direção do cineasta, o qual, no final de sua carreira, ainda compunha passagens absolutamente irrequietas e poderosas - ora por sua explícita violência (como a cena do estrangulamento), ora por seu absoluto silêncio e tensão (ênfase para a grande tomada que se distancia progressivamente dos aposentos do assassino). Destaque, por fim, às finíssimas atuações de todo o elenco.
Em suma, talvez não seja o ápice da filmografia de Hitchcock, mas é sem dúvidas um suspense policial de muita classe.
Before the film was released, film ratings were officially introduced, leaving Hitchcock responsible for an R-rated film instead of one that was just "Approved" for audiences. This allowed Hitchcock to introduce nudity into his film, which he did.
"Frenzy" takes place in London and is about a 30-something year old man, Blaney, who is said to be the infamous Necktie Murder. But he is innocent and his friend, Rusk, is actually the sadistic killer.
This film is racy, intense and a good watch.
Definitely watch if you're a film buff and enjoy Hitchcock films. You'll love to watch as to how Hitchcock got to make his first R-rated film.
Frenzy, I give you an 80%.