Hitchcock delivers a number of deft scenes that demonstrate his unmistakable mastery of the genre like the sequence with Barry Foster aboard a truck driving along a highway, trying to find his tie-pin in the hand of the body he has stashed amongst the potatoes. There is a gripping scene where Barry Foster enters Barbara Leigh-Hunts office and strangles her, which finishes on a beautifully droll shot where Hitchcock stays focused on an empty alleyway for a minute in silence after Jean Marshs secretary returns to the office as we wait for the inevitable scream as she finds the body. There is another superb shot where Barry Foster walks up the stairs to his apartment with Anna Massey, saying Youre my kind of woman, and Hitchcocks camera pulls back down the stairs, out the door and into the street, with the sounds there suddenly coming in on the soundtrack just before the shot fades out, leaving everything that is happening inside ominously implied.
There is a tightly woven script from Anthony Shaffer, the author of the same years hit whodunnit parody Sleuth (1972) and next years fascinating The Wicker Man (1973). Shaffers script actually improves on the fairly obscure 1966 book it is based on, filling out characters like Oxford, introducing Rusk as the killer from the start, and adding typically Hitchcockian humour that makes the story and particularly its denouement less downbeat. As always with Hitchcock, there is an undeniably perverse undertow and, as many Hitchcock biographers have noted, a misogyny towards women and Frenzy is one film that allows such feelings vent at their most overt and outrightly sexual.
Although Jon Finch and Barbara Leigh-Hunt are never more than passable, Frenzy has one of Hitchcocks best casts in some time. Barry Foster provides a sharp twist between his friendly mannered demeanour and killer, there is Anna Massey in a Coronation St (1960 )-ish barmaid role, but best of all is Jean Marshs prim and repressed performance as Monica the secretary. Alec MacGowan has some wonderfully sardonic moments as the detective, lecturing on the progress of the case while trying to avoid his wifes cooking. There is a great score from Ron Goodwin. This is classy horror, pulled off with the wit and dry aplomb of a master.
Alfred Hitchcocks other films of genre interest are: The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), Elstree Calling (1930), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Rope (1948), Strangers on a Train (1951), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). Hitchcock also produced, introduced and occasionally directed the anthology tv series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-62). Hitchcocks life is depicted in the films The Girl (2012) and Hitchcock (2012).