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Frenzy (1972) - Alfred Hitchcock
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Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, Great Britain, 1971) (F)

The nude corpse, inundated by potatoes; the murderer, determined and desperate; and dead fingers that must be broken to retrieve the tell-tale clue. Kinky sex and kinky eating are the two constants of this Hitchcock tale.

"Frenzy" exhibits curiously parallel symptoms of professional "mastery" and inner emptiness. This is one of Hitchcock's most successful recent films, a splendid throwback almost to the great works of his earlier, British period. A variation on the Jack-the-Ripper theme, it allows him to take advantage of the new cinematic permissiveness by introducing gory sex murders, nudity, and two Hitchcock "firsts": pubic hair and the fondling of breasts. It is also one of his kinkiest films. The most sensational sequence involves the attempted retrieval by the murderer of the tell-tale clue (his tie clip) from the victim's corpse, hidden under bushels of potatoes in a wildly careering truck; he is finally compelled (with appropriate sound effects) one by one to break the rigid fingers of his delicious corpse. The tension, tempo, editing, and camerawork are superb; but the afterglow induces a deja vu. Perhaps the film can be appreciated only as a highly-mannered, commercial entertainment, a tour de force by a master craftsman whose implicit anti-bourgeois stance -- "nothing is what it seems to be in this most rational of all worlds" -- long ago "mellowed" into bourgeois titillation. --Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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