After watching a documentary on Alfred Hitchcock at our club the other week I thought it about time I pop my Hitchcock cherry ....so to speak. you might be surprised to learn I've never actually watched a Hitchcock film ... Not all the way through anyway ... Yes, I've seen parts of what are possibly his two most famous... The Birds and Psycho but never the complete films. So what to watch ? I browsed YouTube for uploads of full length films and came across "Frenzy"
Released in 1972, Frenzy was hitchcocks second to last film. By today's standards the film is quite dated, averagely acted and the plot is pretty much spelled out to you ...on screen ... In HUGE LETTERS.....Columbo style I wasn't particularly bothered about watching the film for the story more to see what all the fuss regarding production and cinematography is about
I wasn't disappointed... There are a number of scenes with unusual use (absence) of sound in the film ... I guess this is to add impact to the scene or following scene ...its certainly very effective. You can watch one of the scenes here at 52.54....
Later there's a long tracking shot where the camera appears to follow the actors up a a stairwell then back down and out onto a busy street ... You can see the (albeit very clever) cut as the camera exits the door onto the street but I can't for the life of me figure out how they do the tracking shot..down the stairs .... I'm not sure hand held stabilising rigs were available in 1972
You can watch the scene Here from 54.25 to 55.34 ....amazing
One thing that strikes me is how the use of drones have dramatically improved ariel cinematography. the opening sequence above the Thames and onto a crowded Thames embankment is great but obviously shot from a helicopter and with the a level of camera shake it would be considered unacceptable today ... If only they'd have used a drone ...
Opening sequence here ....