Hitchcock Update (w/c 15/Oct/2007)

Over at MacGuffin, Ken Mogg’s latest entry in “The Editor’s Week” (13/Oct/2007) continues his in-depth discussion about “Frenzy“.

“Frenzy” is one of my guilty pleasures — whenever I watch it I always enjoy it more than I feel I should. But then again, most of the characters in the film seem to be indulging in guilty pleasures, greed and excess.

The food motif has been well discussed, but I’d not picked up on the Rusk/breadstick connection before — in the UK, rusks are a sweetened bread (usually fed to infants). Intriguingly, George Tovey‘s character is named “Mr. Salt”.

Jon Finch‘s character is Richard Ian Blaney, and “rib” again ties the film back to the Garden of Eden and “Original Sin”.

In a 1971 interview for “The Times”, Hitchcock said:

It’s not the Ripper story, but it could have been inspired by the Heath case. I hope it won’t be too shocking, although all murder is. I hope to intersperse it with really bright characters. When some people present murder it seems to have a heavy cloud over it. It seems to be a habit to handle it rather heavily. I don’t believe this really happens. In real life everyone seems to discuss it fairly cheerfully. It doesn’t make them metaphorically wear black. The first person to be forgotten is always the victim.”

Finally, a few pieces of “Frenzy” trivia…

1) In 1973, Hitchcock was ordered by a French court to pay damages of 150,000 francs to playwright Charles de Peyret-Chappuis. Peyret-Chappuis argued in court that audiences would get confused between the film and his own play “Frénésie”. The court also ordered that Hitchock could not use the word “Frénésie” to promote his film in France.

2) In the opening speech by Sir George, he talks about brown trout returning to the River Thames. It would be interesting to know if the line originally came from Shaffer or Hitchcock, as “brown trout” is a well-known British euphemism for a turd. In Victorian London, raw sewage was dumped straight into the Thames.

3) Author Arthur La Bern was unhappy with the adaptation of his book (“Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square“) and wrote a letter to the Editor of The Times:

I endured 116 minutes of it at a press showing and it was … a most painful experience. The result on the screen is appalling. The dialogue is a curious amalgam of an old Aldwych farce, “Dixon of Dock Green” and that almost forgotten “No Hiding Place“. I would like to ask Mr Hitchcock and Mr Shaffer what happened between book and script to the authentic London characters I created … I wish to dissociate myself with Mr Shaffer’s grotesque misrepresentation of Scotland Yard offices.

[youtube //www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoBprPGpzA]

This week…

15th October

Actress Elsie Randolph (“Rich and Strange” and “Frenzy“) was born on this day in 1904.

16th October

One of the most frequent Hitchcock collaborators, Leo G Carroll, died 35 years ago today.

17th October

British film producer Michael Balcon, who was highly influencial in the early career of Hitchcock, died on this day 30 years ago.

21st October

Icon of the French film industry, François Truffaut died from a brain tumour on this day in 1984.

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