Many of Alfred Hitchcock's films are well known, but the one Hamden resident Raymond Foery chose for the topic of his recently published book may be best known as his most highly admired final film.
“ Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy: The last masterpiece” is a 187-page examination, complete with more than a dozen photographs and four appendices, of one of the legendary director’s most highly admired films.
After conducting extensive research, including at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Special Collections section of the Margaret Herrick Library in California, Foery recounts the writing, preproduction, casting, shooting, postproduction and promotion of the 1972 film.
“Hitchcock has been a career-long interest of mine,” Foery said. “I’ve taught a course examining his films for many years.”
No other book goes into as much detail about an individual Hitchcock film as this book does about “Frenzy,” Foery said. The book also stands alone in terms of the amount of detail and history of the film’s production process.
The film, which Foery includes in a senior seminar he teaches, holds a special place in Foery’s heart.
“There was generally a feeling that Hitchcock was in decline during this period,” Foery said. “It was thought that he was old and perhaps lost touch with his audiences.”
The film was his opportunity to prove his critics wrong, Foery said.
Unlike the then 72-year-old’s previous blockbusters, “Frenzy” was filmed in London. The distance from executives from Universal Studios and the opportunity to work with talented actors from the London stage helped Hitchcock make the film a success, Foery said.
“With ‘Frenzy,’ everything went well,” Foery said. “By the time it was released in the early summer of 1972, it was a big hit – one of the biggest hits he had in ages.”
Foery examines the reaction to “Frenzy” by critics and scholars while considering the film’s place in history four decades after its release.
“Here was a film made by a man in his early 70s,” Foery said. “He wanted to show he still had it. The film demonstrated that he clearly did.”
Since its release, respect for “Frenzy” has only increased, Foery said.
“At first, it was never listed among his top five or 10 films,” Foery said. “Now, I often see it among the top 10 – and even among his top five films.”
The film covers Hitchcock’s life from his battle with depression when he was in his 60s through the film’s release when he was nearly 73.
The book would be of interest for individuals who wanted to learn more about the back-story of the film – as well as those who are interested in gaining a better understanding of its production.
“ ‘Frenzy’ is a film that shows Hitchcock is the master we all thought he was,” Foery said.