15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The Last Great Hitchcock Thriller,
This review is from: Frenzy [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Think about this.The man was 70 when he directed it---6000 miles away from home.For someone who had enjoyed the comfort and routine of shuttling each day from Universal to Bellagio Road for the last twenty years,this was pretty radical---and it couldn't have been any picnic sitting all day on those wet,chilly London streets either. I never appreciated all of this at the age of 21 when I was running "Frenzy" as a 16mm college rental.At that time,I enjoyed a good,tense---maybe not top drawer,but certainly up to standard---Hitchcock thriller.Having seen it many times in the intervening years, I have modified my opinion---"Frenzy" is a GREAT Hitchcock thriller.I won't say "one of his best",because how much room do we have in a pantheon that includes "Shadow Of A Doubt","Notorious","Strangers On A Train" and so many others?Let's just say that "Frenzy" is utterly different from the rest----another bold stroke from a director who was always ahead of the cutting edge. It's also one of the wittiest pictures ever made---funnier than any one of a hundred celebrated comedies I can think of.Anthony Shaeffer had a lot to do with that---he was the writer---and it's a masterful job he turned in---if only these two could have done a whole series of thrillers together!Besides the well-known set-pieces(the potato truck,the back-tracking shot from Barry Foster's doorway,etc.),there are so many wonderful little throwaway moments to treasure---Jon Finch stepping on the grapes,Foster picking his teeth with the tie pin---so many priceless details.Hitchcock obviously loved being in that Covent Garden---it's teeming with moving crates of fruits and vegetables---people hiding out among the deliveries,casually picking samples and eating---it's all so relaxed and evocative---you feel as though you're right there in the bustle of a typical London day. It's great that Hitchcock was able to share such a vivid and colorful homecoming with us---the fact that it's such a marvellously grisly and twisted ride is like the icing on the cake.Yes,the first rape/murder scene is truly disturbing,and I wish he'd toned it down,but Hitchcock was clearly pushing the limits here---releasing a few of those demons that had been pent-up through so many of the code-compliant pictures he'd made for so many years.It's a lapse in taste,but I've forgiven it.There's so much to love in "Frenzy",it's hard not to---besides,you've all got fast-forward buttons.MCA should release this on DVD---truly a buried treasure among Hitchcock classics.