It has it all- the familiar, yet still exciting premise, the mix of suspense and black humor so prevalent in his classic films. Yes, it is violent at times, but the remarkable thing is that restraint and taste ARE still excercised here- it may have received an R rating, but do not expect FRENZY to have anywhere near the nudity and violence we see in today's films.
Hitch also chose to use a cast void of big names- he probably felt, after TORN CURTAIN, and considering the grisly subject matter, that having stars may hurt the credibility, and he was probably right. I don't know Jon Finch as anyone BUT his character, and that is a plus here.
What is most impressive is that, even in his 70's, the Master had lost none of his imagination- the film is well-paced, and there are several incredible camera shots (including the long camera pull away from our murderers' apartment, just as he's invited his next victim in).
Mildly underappreciated today, FRENZY is perhaps not in a league with NORTH BY NORTHWEST, but definitely deserves to be ranked with several of his best films: compared alongside FOREGIN CORRESPONDENT, ROPE, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, DIAL M FOR MURDER, THE BIRDS, MARNIE, etc. FRENZY holds up admirably...a different film, but an excellent one all the same...
A sexual physcopath known as the Necktie Murderer has England in a tizy. Raping women and then strangling them with his tie, the police are left clueless with nary a single suspect. Thrown into the mix is Richard "Dicko" Blaney (John Finch), who is not having the greatest day. First, he loses his job at a local job. Next, he has a violent confrontation with his ex - wife, Brenda (Barbara Leigh - Hunt). The only two people who seem to give a damn about him are his good friend Bob Rusk (Barry Foster) and his girlfriend Babs (Ann Massey. Things get worse when he goes to visit Brenda the next day. After she doesn't answer the door, he walks away. What he doesn't know is that she is the Necktie Murderer's latest victim and that her secretary spotted him leaving the scene of the crime. Naturally assuming he did it, the police arrest him. He escapes and goes out on a limb to prove his innocent. What entails is non - stop suspense that only the Master can provide.
"Frenzy" should stand as one of Hitchcock's greatest achievements. It certainly differs from all his other classics, as it seems more intone with the modern thrillers of today (the nudity especially). While his last film was great, this one was truly his last masterpiece.