The Alfred Hitchcock Collection: Frenzy
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted February 19, 2001
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FRENZY

Synopsis:

The streets of London's famous Convent Garden are the scenes of grisly rape and murder. The "Sexual Maniac" as identified by the police rapes his victims and then strangles them with his necktie. The press have since identified him as the "necktie murderer". A trail of evidence turns them onto one man in particular who for all intents and purposes meets the requirements of the equation. He's divorced, full of rage, can't keep a job and has intimately involved with two of the victims. Again, with Hitchcock. You never really know what's actually going on until, he wants you to know the deal. So it is with Frenzy. An innocent man, fighting for his life against a witless police force and a more cunning villain.

Audio/Video:

The audio for the film is presented in a loud Dolby 2.0 mono platform that adequately presents the film's ample aural textures. The dialogue is clean and clear and the resultant audio is on the empty side but enjoyable all the more. The Video for the film is a remarkably clean anamorphic widescreen transfer that has some soft spots throughout but not enough to negatively affect the balance of the transfer. The colors are rich when employed and the balance of the film's video is quite stark and contrasting. In all, the video is well done and a decent viewing experience.

Extras:

The Story of Frenzy This is a 45-minute documentary on the making of Frenzy. Hitchcock's intent was to push the envelope as far as he could in this film, and push it he did. It features interviews with the cast and the screenwriter, as well as providing background information on the behind-the-scenes process used to create the final product. Of interesting note, Hitchcock storyboarded all of his films extensively in order to further explain his intent for the film's visual presentation. Given the extensive mix of black comedy and suspense, it's obvious why this had to be done so extensively. It's also mentioned that this is the first Hitchcock film to garner an "R" rating. No doubt due to the film's salacious content and exposition. Herein it's also stated that Hitchcock's musical ideas for the film had to be realized through a secondary choice for musical direction. Henry Mancini provided the original score for Frenzy. Given the film's topic, he created an eerie and suspenseful score that seemed to fit the film to a "T". However, the theme Hitchcock was looking for was a harkening back to the Glory and Pomp of England of old. As such, Ron Goodman's score is a powerfully majestic entry that delivers the kind of presentation Hitchcock was looking for. He was after all, "back home".

In the documentary, it's established that Hitchcock's father was a wealthy grocer who earned his living in Convent Garden. Here, hitch attempted to invoke the pageantry of England within a tale of sheer horror and debauchery and, he did it quite successfully. Just listening to the film's opening score, you have entirely no idea what's kind of film you are about to experience. I guess that's just another of those "Hitchcockian" elements that made him the master of suspense.

The balance of the special features are the obligatory cast and crew information as well as production notes, stills and publicity material. The film's trailer is also included. It's in pretty poor shape and features Hitchcock's signature humor.

Overall:

Frenzy is a brutal and visceral entry into the Hitchcock lexicon. It's graphic violence is strong even for today's standards. However, it's an incredibly well written and well-directed film that's worthy of your attention. Hitch was never known for being tame and this film is certainly far from being even remotely tame. That being said, there's just something about the film that grabs you and won't let go until the final credits roll. As usual, hitch employs a fair amount of humor to keep the film going and breaks the tension in a way that makes it palatable for most. In any event, Frenzy is an entry that no fan of "The Master" should miss.



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