Plot: What’s it about?
As a brutal serial killer stalks the streets of London, the police have few leads and no suspects. This means the bodies continue to surface and with no end in sight, as their hard work seems to lead into dead ends each time. This killer preys on women and before he kills them, he rapes them and after that deed, he strangles them to death. As such, he is called the “necktie killer,” and with his list of victims on the rise, the police are desperate for some kind of a break. A break does happen to come their way, but as fate has it, the lead is a bad one and sends them after an innocent man. After his wife was murdered in the typical fashion, Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) was made the number one suspect, even though he was not the responsible man. His luck had been bad to this point, but now he has rock bottom and needs a miracle to overcome this one. Can Richard stay one step ahead of the police and the public eye, all while tracking down the real killer in an effort to clear his name?
This film packs in all the usual elements from Hitchcock’s bag of tricks, which means a lot of suspense and in the end, a terrific overall motion picture. I do like this movie a lot and while it isn’t a great film or Hitchcock’s best, it is a treat to watch and well worth the effort to see. So yes, some flaws can be found in this film and that is obvious, but this is still a fine suspense picture and one that can stand up against most other genre entries, so don’t count Frenzy down for the count. This movie has some excellent shots, such as the tense alley sequence and a couple others that add a lot to film’s atmosphere. Frenzy is darker and more violent than most of Hitchcock’s work, but I don’t think too much so, but some fans tend to disagree. A couple classic lines and a few injections of humor ensure it never gets too dark though, which are welcome touches indeed. In the end, this one is a lock for fans of Hitchcock, but don’t expect his finest work, even though this is a superb suspense picture.
This was to be his second to last motion picture, but Alfred Hitchcock proved he still had the goods here, with a terrific balance of dark humor and suspense. We all know he could conjure up an excellent murder mystery and here he uses all his favorite tools, but it never seems worn, instead fresh and interesting. I suppose some could complain about the all now cliches to be found here, but I think Hitchcock uses them well and never too much, as well as knowing which ones to avoid. A few scenes come to mind there, where he could have went for a cheap brand of tension, but shows he would rather push the viewer to the edge of their seat instead. This one seems to be have a bad reputation, but if you’re a fan of his, then you’ll find a lot to like with Frenzy. Other films directed by Hitchcock include Rebecca, Rich and Strange, The Lodger, Secret Agent, Young and Innocent, and Jamaica Inn. The cast here includes Barbara Leigh-Hunt (Billy Elliot, Longitude), Jon Finch (Sunday Bloody Sunday, Darklands), Alec McCowen (Forever Young, Henry V), and Barry Foster (High Flight, Sea of Sand).
Video: How does it look?
Frenzy is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was surprised at how clean and sharp is transfer is, but I am pleased it has been given such a lush presentation. I saw some flaws with the source print, but nothing serious and much less than I expected. The colors come across rather well here, with bright hues and natural skin tones, while problems remain minimal at worst. I found the contrast to be strong here also, but a few scenes do look on the dark side, which lessens the detail somewhat. Still, this is a terrific presentation and one that exceeded my expectations in all respects, very fine work indeed.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track covers the basics, but as is the norm with the format, it does little else. But it works well here and I think a new mix would be a waste of resources, so kudos to Universal for keeping with the original tracks on these Hitchcock releases. I found this to be a solid experience and aside from some slight hiss, this track never slips up too much. The music seems well mixed here, the sound effects remain clear and distinct, and the main focus, the dialogue, is crisp and shows no flaws in the end. This disc also includes a French mono option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main draw here is The Story of Frenzy, which runs about forty-five minutes and offers a look into the creation of this suspense picture. This piece is a terrific one and includes various interviews, some information on the never released Henry Mancini score, and even some footage taken while the film was in production. If you’re a fan of Hitchcock or just this picture, this documentary is one you won’t want to miss, I assure you. A selection of production photos & promotional materials, some talent files, production notes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.