Friday, March 13, 2009

'Frenzy' Is Worth Seeing

"Frenzy" wasn't the best movie Alfred Hitchcock ever made, but it was far from the worst.

Nor can I say it had a star-studded cast, the way "North by Northwest" or "Vertigo" or "Psycho" — or even "The Birds" — did.

It was nearly the last movie he ever made — almost. "Frenzy" was made in 1972. Hitchcock made one more movie, "Family Plot" in 1976, then he died in 1980.

But "Frenzy" restored Hitchcock's directorial career after three straight flops at the box office in the 1960s.

You might say Hitchcock returned to his roots at the end of his career. The plot of "Frenzy" focuses on the search for a serial killer in London, not unlike the first true "Hitchcock film," a silent movie from the mid-1920s, "The Lodger."

The fact that it had no "household names" in the cast — like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart or Grace Kelly or Janet Leigh — probably worked in the movie's favor. Hitchcock was liberated from any concerns about preconceived notions by the audience regarding individual actors. Thus, he could focus on telling a story, which is where he excelled.

Although a product of the 1970s, "Frenzy" was true to Hitchcock's style and never descended to cheap and/or flashy special effects.

Turner Classic Movies will be showing it at 12:15 a.m. (Central) Monday night.

If you love the Hitchcock classics, "Frenzy" is worth seeing, even if it isn't as well known as his other films.