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Sight and Sound (2012) - Anatomy of a movie




Review of "Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece" by Raymond Foery



Michael Brooke is absorbed by a comprehensive study of Hitchcock's penultimate work

Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy? The Last Masterpiece By Raymond Foery, Scarecrow Press, 202pp, £24.95, ISBN 9780810877559

In content and style, if not author and publisher, Raymond Foery's book reads like a conscious sequel to Stephen Rebello's 1990 book 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho' (currently being filmed as 'Hitchcock', with Anthony Hopkins in the title role). Despite Foery's academic credentials, it's a pacy, accessible read, covering the production of Hitchcock's penultimate film in similarly exhaustive and often fascinating detail.

Like Rebello's book, this opens with Hitchcock in a professional quandary, in this case having made two flops in a row ('Torn Curtain' and 'Topaz'). As with 'Psycho', he initially had difficulty finding a studio prepared to back 'Frenzy' or anything similar (such as an aborted and unrelated 1967 serial-killer project known as either 'Frenzy' or 'Kaleidoscope') though, as before, it went on to become a big commercial hit.

Although there was little love lost between Hitchcock and source novelist Arthur La Bern (whose blistering letter to The Times challenging the paper's favourable review is quoted in full), the screenwriting collaboration with Anthony Shaffer was one of the director's happiest - they intended to continue it on Hitchcock's next project 'Family Plot' until scheduling conflicts intervened. Who specifically wrote what has largely gone with Hitchcock and Shaffer to their graves, but their corres...

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