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us title: Frenzy
italian title:
year: 1972
director: Alfred Hitchcock
composer: Ron Goodwin
full details: IMDB
overall score: 30

Bottom Line: A Worthwhile Deviation
Breaks some important rules and comes out on top as a result.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

The influence of the Giallo on popular Hollywood filmmakers ranges from obvious, in the case of Brian DePalma's Dressed to Kill, to subtle as is the case with Alfred Hitchock's Frenzy. 1971 and 1972 were the pinnacle years for the Giallo and saw the highest number of films released (somewhere around 44 by most accounts). Whether consciously or otherwise, it's obvious that Hitchcock was paying attention to this trend when he created Frenzy.

Frenzy is a classic Hitchcockian  suspense thriller with subtle nods to a Giallo influence. The most obvious of these nods is the eroticized violence against women. Never before had Hitchcock gone to such extremes to depict violence and murder. Add to this the themes of the "killer on the loose" and the mistaken identity along with the urban setting and it's clear that the connections to the Giallo are not coincidental.

The low score of 30 might be misleading, but it seems appropriate when considering that Hitchcock is always considered a trend setter instead of a follower. Frenzy diverts drastically from the classic Giallo formula by revealing the murderer within the first act of the film and then focusing on a wrongly accused protagonist who is merely concerned with proving his innocence and not solving the mystery himself.

But Hitchcock never misses an opportunity to entertain and while the would-be amateur detective simply dashes between hiding places, the viewer is treated to Chief Inspector Oxford and his attempt to solve the murder while navigating his wife's experimental French cooking. 

How ironic that the directors who originally established the Giallo formula and cite Hitchcock as a primary influence (all the way down to Mario Bava's title "The Girl Who Knew Too Much" which is only one word off of Hitchcock's title), would have the favor returned at the height of the genre's popularity by the master himself!

There's no doubt that Giallo fans will enjoy this film. While not as well known as Psycho, Rear Window or Vertigo, Frenzy is still miles ahead of the thrillers from this time period (or any time period really). But more to the point of this discussion, one can't help but wonder what Bava, Argento and Martino could have produced with Hollywood budget at their disposal!

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 15/60
Classic Period (1970 - 1975)5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Standards : 13/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Mistaken Identity2 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 2/10
Odd Clue1 point
Prove Innocence1 point
Total Points : 30/100



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Published: 2014-10-27