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Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0810877559
ISBN-10: 0810877554
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Editorial Reviews


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.”
(Irish Times)

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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (May 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810877554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810877559
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,223,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Raymond Foery has written an extensively researched but somewhat passion-less study of "Frenzy", Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 hit. Foery spent much time going through the production files on the film, and that work is evident. But there are several sloppy factual mistakes in this book, which should be a total no-no for a work of this type. Foery also does a poor job of explaining why "Frenzy" was such a compelling film. All in all, a book with much worthwhile information, but somewhat of a dissapointment to me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was glad to find that someone had taken the time to research and write this book. Frenzy is an interesting and important film in the Hitchcock canon. It is organized in the standard "making of" format. It begins with the writing of the film and proceeds through the film's release and marketing campaign. Some of these sections are incredibly in-depth and this fact alone makes this book an amazing resource. As a matter of fact, the information in the book deserves 5 stars. I feel like there is an incredible lack of personality in the writing of this book. One hopes for more quotations from people involved in the shooting of the film. At times the book reads like a list of details. The details are extremely interesting. The scholarly and dry style of writing enticed me to reduce my enjoyment. I am not normally opposed to a scholarly approach. Tony Lee Moral's approach of "Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie" was scholarly, but it also managed to have personality and this made for a more interesting read. It remains an invaluable text for fans of the director and his films.
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By JCN on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If "Frenzy" is one of your favorite Hitchcock films, you will not be disappointed with this book. A definitive history of Hitch's return to London. The only thing I could fault in this volume is the occasional times it gets mired in the minutiae of the production reports. Scene numbers, doctor reports, morning start times and such. Sometimes the information adds to the narrative but often times it's included because it can be. And the author leaves out a great story that Alec McCowen tells about how he played the last line of the film and Hitch's directing style (found in Quentin Falk's "Mr. Hitchcock") On the whole though, a fascinating account of a fantastic film.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book seems like someone's Doctoral Dissertation, complete with footnotes, but in this case this is a good thing! It is very well written, and by luck, I found a single showing of the movie (with NO commercials) recently, which I immediately added to my DVR.
I am planning to spend the next rainy day watching the movie with my Kindle in hand, pondering the author's the author's conclusions and looking for his various observations as I watch the movie!
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