Frenzy (1972)

Frenzy (1972), produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

After a few limp films (Topaz and Torn Curtain (1966) ; I'll have to see Marnie (1964) again before judging) Hitchcock came back with what his new fans wanted. Psycho (1960) and his TV show had made him famous as Master of the Macabre to a wider audience and they expected suspense, sex and insanity all wrapped up in wicked humor. He delivered something blunter than his best work, but it was a hit anyway.

Since his previous film the censorship standards had collapsed so now we have more lurid dialogue, nudity and explicit rape and murder scenes. I wonder what he would have done with these elements earlier. How much innate restraint did he have?

We're back to the old double-chase and he's pillaged his own work for many of the elements:

We're conflicted at the start. Our innocent hero is irritating and unlikeable, while the murderer is pleasant and dapper, at least until we discover early on that he's the psycho. He seems more sinister thereafter. The rape and murder we see is wrenching and when the victim prays during her ordeal it stops being thrilling entertainment. And we never really warm up to the falsely accused man.

We like Babs and it hurts to see her go up those stairs. We wait and listen while the camera backs down the stairs and out into the street. Nothing but city noises. Then her body is cruelly used in a comic scene with a truckload of potatoes. I remember Anna Massey saying she was ready to do her own nude scene but wasn't allowed.