Reverse Hitchcock #2, Frenzy, 1972 – ★★★★

This is a film which gets better with every viewing. The bombastic opening with Ron Goodwin’s music and a sweeping camera shot through the open Tower Bridge to a discussion on the banks of the Thames about pure water comes to a sudden end when the nude body of a strangled woman washes into view.

We meet Dick Blaney (the sadly missed Jon Finch, whose screen career probably reached its peak with this and his Macbeth, for Polanski, the previous year) a former RAF pilot down on his luck, and Babs, his barmaid girlfriend (Anna Massey). Blaney loses his job through boozing and bumps into an old friend, Robert Rusk, who runs a pitch in the Covent Garden food and vegetable market (Barry Foster, who takes a step away from solving crimes as Van der Valk as the bad guy here).

What makes Frenzy one of the better Hitchcock films is the mix of pure horror (the rape and murder of Blaney’s wife, early on, still causes chills), comedy (Alec McCowen’s delightful detective and his wife (Vivien Merchant) and their food scenes; the couple in the hotel discussing ‘The Cupid Room’), and the sheer detail – London’s unusual streets are photographed with affection in this first film by the Master in England for twenty years; and that track back from Massey’s room is pure genius.

Anyway, the performances are top-notch: Foster is superb, and he got lucky with Michael Caine passing up the part; Finch is also exceptionally good as the innocent who seems guilty through circumstantial evidence. Much has been made of the fact that Foster seems the more sympathetic character, even when we have seen his dark side in gruesome detail, but I’m not convinced that was the intention. He’s something of a Jekyll and Hyde, a dangerous character, but not likeable. It’s the black comedy of some of the situations he is in (such as the potato wagon) which may make him seem likeable, but he is a truly repellent individual.

There’s also a young and stunning Billie Whitelaw in the cast. She was an excellent actress and she is icily brilliant here.

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Loud Alien Noize

Revealing the True Origins of Silence

Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies

Blog titling at its best

Emily Baycroft

Currently a final year English student at the University of Cambridge. Producing Intern for Fuel Theatre July-October 2016. Aspiring Arts Administrator/Theatre Producer, blogging about my projects (mostly).

MTAS

West End Reviews | West End Challenges | Exclusive West End News

A Red Lip And A Nude Shoe

Dior Dreams On A Kmart Budget

is there room for me to sew?

Quilting, Reading and the Movies

The Case for Jeanette and Nelson

"Whaddya gonna do? I love her. I think she loves me." -Nelson Eddy on the Jack Parr Show, 1960

STARDUST AND SHADOWS

Opinions on Classic Hollywood , B Movies, Grindhouse, SF film , Classic Horror, Film Noir, Books, and related subjects by Canadian film guy TERRY SHERWOOD. (This site is not affiliated with author Charles Foster and his book Stardust and Shadows.)

The Wonderful World of Cinema

This blog is all about cinema, movies and stars of every decades. It's wonderful!

Movie classics

Thoughts on older movies, especially those from the 1930s to 1950s.

Hiss and Tell

Featuring Gryff, the angry diabetic cat, and the humans who serve him

TESSA BARRIE'S LOST BLOGS

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO BE NICHE ...

[insert title here]

just one of many things i'm still trying to figure out

buchanblog

A trip down Memorex lane

The Phantom Frame

Information about the creative works of Gareth Preston

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Archive Television Musings

"To waste one second of one's life is a betrayal of one's self! I wonder what's on television?"

Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Loud Alien Noize

Revealing the True Origins of Silence

Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies

Blog titling at its best

Emily Baycroft

Currently a final year English student at the University of Cambridge. Producing Intern for Fuel Theatre July-October 2016. Aspiring Arts Administrator/Theatre Producer, blogging about my projects (mostly).

MTAS

West End Reviews | West End Challenges | Exclusive West End News

A Red Lip And A Nude Shoe

Dior Dreams On A Kmart Budget

is there room for me to sew?

Quilting, Reading and the Movies

The Case for Jeanette and Nelson

"Whaddya gonna do? I love her. I think she loves me." -Nelson Eddy on the Jack Parr Show, 1960

STARDUST AND SHADOWS

Opinions on Classic Hollywood , B Movies, Grindhouse, SF film , Classic Horror, Film Noir, Books, and related subjects by Canadian film guy TERRY SHERWOOD. (This site is not affiliated with author Charles Foster and his book Stardust and Shadows.)

The Wonderful World of Cinema

This blog is all about cinema, movies and stars of every decades. It's wonderful!

Movie classics

Thoughts on older movies, especially those from the 1930s to 1950s.

Hiss and Tell

Featuring Gryff, the angry diabetic cat, and the humans who serve him

TESSA BARRIE'S LOST BLOGS

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO BE NICHE ...

[insert title here]

just one of many things i'm still trying to figure out

buchanblog

A trip down Memorex lane

The Phantom Frame

Information about the creative works of Gareth Preston

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Archive Television Musings

"To waste one second of one's life is a betrayal of one's self! I wonder what's on television?"

%d bloggers like this: