After Hitchcock made The Birds he went into a major decline as a director. While his films weren't bad, they tended to lack the intensity,polish and heart of so many of Hitchcock's classics. So it's not surprise that when Hitchcock made Frenzy it was said that it was "the picture of a young man."
Frenzy brings us into a story of mysterious connected neck tie killings. We meet Dick Blaney along the way, who is thought to be the neck tie murderer, but as usual in a Hitchcock film, is wrongly accused. All the evidence points to him as his ex-wife is murdered just minutes after he left her office. After that, his current girlfriend is also murdered. The film follows him on the run, but not getting very far.
The amazing thing that Hitchcock does here is give us a killer we originally grow to like. When we first happen upon Bob Rusk he is helping out Dick. He seems like a helpful and loving guy. He visits his mom, he sells fruit, he gives Dick tips on the races. What's not to like?
Something else that struck me was Hitchcock's visceral shooting style. While normally Hitchcock doesn't show us the gruesome stuff, here he allows us to see a woman be raped and murdered, there are multiple shots of nude woman(normally dead), but oddly enough it works because Hitch isn't exploitative. Hitchcock knows enough not to show too many murders, so he shows us the first one to bring us into just how terrible a thing was being done. After that we get the murderer's struggle. A darkly comical scene where Bob has killed off a main character and tried to throw her in the back of a potato truck, but realizes that something of his was in her hands and would easily incriminate him.
A thought that constantly has crossed my mind after watching Frenzy is; why neck ties? It could have just as easily been rope, belts, any number of things. Could this be Hitchcock's ode to the working class? Is he saying that the working man is somehow killing the working woman? The two woman who are murdered seem to be hard working woman(one has her own business, the other a bar tender). Is it an argument against sexism? One would have to examine more carefully to truly find out, but it is a question I have pondered.
Frenzy is definitely a very hard hitting film, but it does lack some of that Hitchcock quality. While it does have suspense, horror, humor, and many of Hithcock's usual themes and ideals, it doesn't come across as emotionally gripping and thematically deep as some of his earlier classics.
There's much more that could be said about Frenzy though. While it isn't a classic Hitchcock film, it is still far superior to most of the dreck that is released weekly.