receiving a knock

Film With Hitchcock’s reputation receiving a knock when both Marnie and Torn Curtain were hit with indifference, the director returned home to a project which had the whiff of someone working for themselves. Frenzy is the rather nasty story of a strangler at work on the then contemporary streets of 60s London, with the usual narrative engine of the wrongly accused man. In the hands of someone like Michael Winner this could have been an atrocity. But Hitch knows that your job is to keep the audience interested and the methodology doesn’t have to be gratuitous.

He runs a food motif runs through the film. The murderer hides a body in a potato van. Some of the action occurs around a vegetable market. When the police detective chats to his wife about the case to aid the audience’s understanding of the plot, the rather staid expositionals over the dinner table that you usually find in thrillers become instead a series of hilarious sequences as she repeated tries her gourmet cooking out on him and we see after meal of being presented with increasingly inedible food which he can’t cut, can’t chew and give him the collywobbles.

There’s also a rather remarkable sequence in which the strangler is invited into a lady’s flat and having already seen his work we know what to expect, we anticipate it. Instead, Hitch cuts away to the corridor outside her door and as she screams, the camera dollies backwards, back down the stairs, and out of the front door into a street, the sound of her death throws submerged in the every day hustle and bustle. Which is fine. Except the flat was on a sound stage and he somehow manages to seamlessly shift (with the help of an cart passing by in both locations) into some location filming, something I’ve seen done in recent film with the aid of green screen and CGI and probably costing a whole lot more.

No comments:

Post a Comment