After a string of flops and in need of a hit, Alfred Hitchcock returned to his native London in 1971 to make Frenzy, his darkest film since Psycho....After Torn Curtain and Topaz performed so poorly, Hitchcock was in a professional slump and desperate for material that excited him. Arthur La Bern’s 1966 novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square, detailing the exploits of a serial killer in London who raped and murdered young woman à la a modern-day Jack the Ripper, was just such a book. Goodbye soon became Frenzy, with a screenplay by playwright Anthony Shaffer. Like many of the best Hitchcock films, Frenzy features a man on the run trying to clear his name, as well as a murder, though the strangulation of Babs Milligan with a necktie is more brutal than most Hitchcock deaths. Shooting in London represented the first time the director had returned for more than a holiday since 1939, and he took full advantage, staging several outdoor scenes. While Foery’s shot-by-shot analysis of the Frenzy shooting schedule does grow tedious, it offers more new insights than the chapters devoted to rehashing Hitchcock’s mastery of montage and mise-en-scene. (Publishers Weekly)
Raymond Foery’s Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy is an almost obsessively detailed history of the movie: its genesis, its casting, its filming, and its cultural impact...If you’re a film buff you’ll probably be delighted with Foery’s microscopic look at the film’s 13-week shooting schedule. This isn’t your typical “making-of” book, but it is a rigorous and enlightening look at the filming of Hitchcock’s neglected masterpiece.
(The Chronicle Herald)
Frenzy (1972) was Hitchcock’s second-to-last film, and his last great one. This ruthlessly detailed book examines the production of the film with a microscopic eye, chronicling the 13-week shoot virtually hour by hour, noting how many times the director filmed a scene, how many takes he printed, how many reshoots he did, how many setups he completed in a day, and what time the crew started work and finished for the day (and, sometimes, what time they broke for lunch). It’s the kind of hyperdetailed analysis that will appeal to Hitchcock completists and rabid film buffs....Frenzy is one of Hitch’s least-written-about films, and students of the director’s oeuvre—and film students in general—should benefit from this comprehensive...look at the film’s genesis, production, and reception. (Booklist)
As a whole, The Last Masterpiece provides an engaging snapshot of Hitchcock’s creative brilliance. The book also offers an absorbing insight into an intriguing – not to mention highly disturbing – film.
(Screening The Past)
“A new book throws fresh light on the director’s darkest work”
“In Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece, Raymond Foery exhaustively charts the production of the film that helped restore his fortunes and flagging spirits”
“Hitchcock, as Foery reminds us, had always been far less interested in the basic textual content of a story than in how that story was to be realised cinematically.”
Professor Foery provides a systematic look at the development, filming, and reception of Hitchcock’s next-to-last film. The book is well-researched, filled with copious notes and references, as well as correspondence and selections from the screenplay and shooting scripts (The Mystery Review)
About the Author
Raymond Foery is professor of communications at Quinnipiac University and founder of their media production program. He also founded and edited a New York arts journal, The Downtown Review.