Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Alec McCowen
Tag line: "From the Master of Shock... A Shocking Masterpiece! "
Trivia: Hitchcock's daughter Patricia found this film so disturbing that, for many years, she wouldn't let her children see it
Shot in his native England, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1972 mystery / thriller Frenzy was the director’s last great film, a suspenseful tale of a London serial killer and the innocent man accused of committing his heinous crimes.
A modern-day Jack the Ripper is on the loose, raping pretty young women, then strangling them to death with a necktie. The police, led by Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowen), are baffled, but when Brenda Blaney (Barbara Leigh-Hunt), a professional matchmaker, turns up dead, the authorities begin to suspect her ex-husband, Richard (Jon Finch), is the elusive killer. Before long, Richard, who’s completely innocent, is arrested and charged with murder. Locked behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, Richard soon figures out who the real killer is and makes plans for a daring prison break, hoping to track the maniac down so he can take his revenge.
Hitchcock keeps the tension running high throughout Frenzy, even after he reveals the murderer’s identity. In the film’s most visually impressive scene, we tag along with the killer as he accompanies his next unsuspecting victim up a flight of stairs. When the two reach the top, they disappear behind a closed door, at which point the camera slowly pulls back, making its way down the stairs and coming to a rest outside the building, far enough away so that we can’t hear the girl’s screams. But the suspense doesn’t end there; in the very next scene, the killer, shortly after stuffing his victim’s body into a sack of potatoes sitting in back of a vegetable truck, realizes she’s still holding his monogrammed tiepin in her clenched fist, which, if found, can easily be traced back to him. As the truck makes its way down the dark London streets, the killer feverishly works to pry the girl’s hand open and retrieve his pin before anyone sees him.
Hitchcock’s next to last film (followed only by Family Plot in 1976), Frenzy proved to be the final feather in the old master’s cap, and a reminder that, even at this advanced stage of his career, he could still bring audiences to the edge of their seats.