Tie Guy

If Hitchcock lived and continued to make films, it’s a wonder if Frenzy was indicative of his future output. His lone R-rated film, Frenzy features the Hitchcock hallmarks – murder, crass humor, and a wrongly accused man. The separation comes from the graphic killings, the first with an uncomfortable rape, then a horrifying strangulation. It’s more overt than a Pyscho would allow, and with Hitchcock’s morbid fascinations, whether he chose to show further information on camera will never be known.

As Frenzy stands – and post Topaz – this was a proper return to form, the type of suspense thriller where the audience feels anxiety toward both the killer and the accused. Set in London, the British familiarity recalls Hitchcock’s earliest offerings, a sort of comforting locale that allows Frenzy additional cultural humor.

Frenzy sustains its suspense

Jon Finch as Richard Blarney lacks star power but that’s why the casting works. Downtrodden and frustrated, his simplistic every man performance feels authentic. Hampered by dwindling social status and recently divorced, his character is also a logical suspect. Barry Foster, playing successful potato salesman Robert Rusk, is equally well cast. Minimally affluent and unsuspecting, Frenzy benefits from his eventual sadistic turns, his blonde hair unsightly once his predilections are known.

Frenzy contains a number of memorable and unnerving scenes. In addition, it holds an awkward British charm, including a police chief trying to down his wife’s gourmet cooking, of which the camera does everything it can to make look unappealing. Backed by the crude killings and an intense scene with Foster stumbling around in a moving truck trying to retrieve incriminating evidence from a victim, Frenzy sustains its suspense. The script moves with immediacy, and while not as briskly paced with aggressive scoring as the title may suggest, it’s plausibly sustained.

Ever finding new ways to hook an audience, Hitchcock crafts two exquisite moments of ambiance, one after Blarney leaves an office in which a victim resides. A secretary returns from lunch, and the camera stops streetside. A scream is coming, and Frenzy holds this moment as long as possible. Later, exiting Rusk’s apartment, the camera pulls back, down stairs, out of the front doorway, and into the street in a marvelous technical achievement. This time, there’s no scream. The bustling city drowns out the sounds, images of a society that can’t be bothered. It’s a breeding ground for cruelty and men like Rusk.


Delightfully sharp from a fresh 4K master, Frenzy begins with impressive resolution and improves from there. Frenzy’s textural qualities stand out wonderfully, giving the London-based scenery exceptional detail. In close, facial definition soars, certainly miles ahead of previous releases. Grain varies in intensity, but never overly thick and consistently controlled.

Drier color includes the flesh tones, flat and fairly lifeless. London carries a consistent overcast and it looks as such. That matches the design, tone, and intent; it’s obviously ’70s in aesthetic.

Universal adds punch via the HDR, especially light sources that glow masterfully. Sunlight – what can peak through the clouds anyway – layers the screen with a satisfying brightness. Contrast helps enliven the dreary imagery. Black levels drop to a satisfying density and remain there.


A bit sedate even for mono, DTS-HD does what it can to. The thinly reproduced score sits in a mid-range. Dialog carries with it a dryness typical to the era. Frenzy sounds fine for what it is.


A making of, production stills, and trailers.

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Fitted with the suspense missing from Hitchock’s later American work, Frenzy returns the director to his British roots with great success.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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