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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
    English, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery
  • Booklet
  • Documentaries - The Story of Frenzy


Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . M15+ . PAL


Good eeeeeeeeeeeeeevening…

Welcome to London in the early '70s. The Thames is a mess, and as a politician makes his anti-pollution rant, declaring to clean the river up, the body of a woman washes up nearby. The tie around her neck can only signify one thing, the notorious 'necktie murderer' has struck again. The latest in a series of grisly murders that has the town abuzz, with horror, amateur psychoanalysis and also a perverse titillation as it's all ever so "good for the tourist trade".

Meanwhile, Dick Blaney (Jon Finch) has his own problems. A down on his luck former RAF pilot, he's been working in a bar, a job he's asked to leave after accusations that he's been stealing. He visits a mate, fruiterer Bob Rusk (Barry Foster), before knocking back a few stiff ones and dropping in on his former wife, who now runs a successful dating agency for lonely hearts. After a bit of an argument they go for dinner, another argument ensues, and Dick spends the night with the Salvation Army.

A dating agency customer who requires "certain peculiarities" in his partners that cannot be accommodated turns nasty, and when Blaney's ex-wife is found dead (complete with necktie) suspicions turn to the former pilot. Can he prove his innocence, or will the pressure for the police to make an arrest, and unfortunate circumstantial evidence seal his fate and leave the real killer at large?

"When I think of the lusts of men, it makes me want to heave."

After three films that received quite the lukewarm reception, for Frenzy, based on a novel entitled Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern, Alfred Hitchcock returned to filming in his native Britain for the first time since 1950. Perhaps something about his homecoming inspired him, as this film easily ranks amongst his best works. It features everything people have come to expect from the master director - macabre humour, intrigue, his knack of engaging the audience's attention by letting us into things that the on-screen protagonists aren’t aware of yet, red herrings, truly horrific imagery, intimate knowledge of when silence can say so much, a combination of two popular Hitch themes - the innocent man having to prove his lack of guilt AND close-up entanglement in the life of a psychopath - and also that jigsaw puzzle-like minute attention to detail that oozes from every single shot of the film, making proceedings simply riveting. One such mesmerising scene serves up as good an example you could ever find of how understatement can be ever so much more effective than presenting the obvious. Not long after possibly the most grisly and disturbing Hitchcock scene ever, involving a gruesome rape and strangling, the person responsible accompanies another woman to his flat. The camera follows the couple up the stairs as the sounds of a bustling London fade, he mutters the line that has been set up as his 'catch phrase', they enter the flat and the camera commences its slow backing up and descent of the stairs. The sounds from the street fade in, we know all too well what has happened, but life just goes on for those around - all without the need for further and unnecessary graphic violence. Truly inspirational stuff.

The incredibly tight and beautifully orchestrated script is helped no end by the deftly selected cast. Foregoing his penchant for pretty girls and pretty boys, Hitch cast a collection of virtual unknowns (especially so in the USA), who all emit an air of normality that deftly suits the London setting of Frenzy. Finch plays Blaney with a certain distant and passive/aggressive air that often has you wondering just exactly what he is capable of, and Foster has a smarmy charm that works particularly well with his character. Anna Massey as Dick's girlfriend Babs is particularly wonderful, combining a gorgeous down to earth quality with a certain appealing sexiness - and is also deserving of much praise for possibly being the only person to ever utter the magnificent slang term 'jacksie' in a feature film.


With the hit and miss nature of transfers that releases in the Hitchcock collection have received thus far, we never really know what to expect when faced with another. The good news is that this is by far one of the better ones presented to date.

Starting with the basics, this is another anamorphically enhanced, 1.85:1 transfer. It is quite beautifully clear and sharp, and whilst colour isn’t the most vivid (this is, after all, early '70s London - it just wasn't that vibrant, well at least not in the colour department) it certainly authentically embodies things how they indeed were. This isn’t to say there aren't any good representations of the brighter things the spectrum has to offer, a perfect example being Babs' rather flamboyant orange coat.

Unlike many other Hitchcock releases grain isn’t an issue, and whilst shadow detail isn’t the greatest ever witnessed, it certainly doesn't have any problem worth being too concerned about, either. The only real problems are ones we're quite used to by now - a relatively frequent amount of speckles and scratches throughout, the odd outbreak of newsreader-tie effect and another in a series of utterly shockingly placed layer changes, occurring whilst Rusk is in mid-walk.


Another mono soundtrack is all that's on offer here. Whilst many of Hitch's earlier films have been given the remix treatment, sadly it appears nobody was prepared to lavish such things on the bulk of his work. It does the job it needs to - delivering the dialogue clearly - however the opportunity to give it that extra oomph has sadly been passed up, and it's all a little claustrophobic sounding. There is a little hiss evident at times, and occasionally things distort a tad, however in all things really could have been a lot worse.

The soundtrack for Frenzy was composed by Ron Goodwin, and with its employment of often delightfully dramatic strings adds to the effect of proceedings incredibly well. Intriguingly, Henry Pink Panther Mancini was the original choice for composer, and the small example of his work we get in the extras gives an indication as to why he was dumped (Hitchcock apparently berated him with, "if I'd wanted Hermann I would have employed him"), with Goodwin's effort suiting the decidedly British tone of the film infinitely better.


The static menus follow the blueprint of previous releases in this series to the letter, and once again the quite wonderful Funeral March of a Marionette music accompanies proceedings. It must be said that the still used on the main screen contains quite the spoiler for those who have never seen the film, so you may wish to get somebody else to set things in motion for you, as it's kind of hard to ignore. Anyway, delving deeper we get…

Documentary - The Story of Frenzy: At 45 minutes in length, this feature is actually presented by an appropriately tie-less Laurent Bouzereau, the man who made most of the similar features that grace each of these Hitchcock releases from Universal. In keeping with the other documentaries, this isn't the most brilliant visual presentation ever, however in cases such as this content is more important, and on this front it certainly delivers. Hitch's daughter Patricia Hitchcock-O'Connell pops by once more, along with the writer Anthony Shaffer, filmmaker and unashamed Hitchcock fan Peter Bogdanovich, plus actors Finch, Foster and Massey. As hinted earlier, there is an example of Henry Mancini's original score (which really was no great loss), much information from behind the scenes, and some fabulous memories from the actors of what it was like working with the renowned director.

Art gallery: Once again 'art' is used as a synonym for 'photo', however… In all 100 pictures are presented here, the usual stuff featuring on-set and promotional stills, yet surprisingly no poster art at all. Intriguingly there are a number of photos representing three 'mystery' cut scenes, which whilst being quite the tease (we would have loved to have seen the actual footage), are still a welcome, and different, addition.

Theatrical trailer: A just under three-minute affair, much like most of Hitchcock's later films that extra effort went into the trailer. Rather than simply being a collection of scenes from the film, Sir Alfred himself appears, floating in the Thames no less. In all rather amusing, this is only let down by its dreadfully shoddy 'quality', and the fact that it is cropped at the sides.

4-page booklet with production notes: Once again us lowly reviewers appear to be deemed unworthy of receiving this, so unfortunately it can’t be commented on.


Frenzy is a brilliant collage of all those incredible touches that led Hitchcock to receive the respect and adulation of the public, critics and other filmmakers alike. Whilst never receiving the acclaim of earlier, admittedly more groundbreaking works, it certainly ranks highly amongst his great catalogue of cinema classics, almost providing a fitting final example of all that he was renowned for in one neat little package (for as far as this reviewer is concerned, his next, and actual final film Family Plot was somewhat of an anachronism.)

Disc-wise the vision is quite superb, and the accompanying documentary is one of the better entries in a series of wonderful insights into the works of the world's greatest ever auteur. Whilst many of his later films are possibly only the domain of fans of the man, Frenzy is quite an un-hailed masterpiece that deserves a place in the collection of any suspense fan.

Heehee, she said "jacksie"!

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      And I quote...
    "Frenzy is quite an un-hailed masterpiece that deserves a place in the collection of any suspense fan..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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