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As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was shot at Pinewood Studios, London, England. It was also shot at various sites throughout the city, including Covent Garden, the Houses of Parliament, the Old Bailey and several eating and drinking establishments such as the pubs The Globe, Nell of Old Drury and The Woman's Club.
The film opens with producer-director Alfred Hitchcock's signature ironic tone when a Parliamentary official lectures on cleaning up the pollution in the River Thames just as the latest necktie murder victim washes ashore. As noted in the June 25, 1972 Los Angeles Times review, Hitchcock made his customary cameo appearance in this scene as a bystander in the crowd. Later in the film, when "Brenda Blaney," played by actress Barbara Leigh-Hunt, steels herself against "Robert Rusk" as he rapes her, she recites a passage of the 91st Psalm (erroneously listed as the 93rd Psalm in one review).
According to several biographies of Hitchcock, the director worked on a script entitled Frenzy in the early 1960s with screenwriters Benn Levy, Howard Fast and Hugh Wheeler, but was unable to resolve the film's plot. After buying the rights to Arthur J. La Bern's novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square, Hitchcock named the new film project Frenzy, although it did not resemble the early drafts, and hired screenwriter Anthony Shaffer after first considering Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov to write the screenplay. While the Los Angeles Times review stated that Shaffer wrote a "superbly structured" and "richly characterized" screenplay for Hitchcock to work with, according to a June 1, 1972 Variety "International Sound Track" article, La Bern found Shaffer's screenplay "appalling" and a subversion of his novel's characters.
According to a December 14, 1971 Daily Variety article, Henry Mancini was to compose the picture's score. Biographies of the director explain that although Mancini was originally asked to write the score, Hitchcock, who had wanted a pop score, did not approve of Mancini's interpretation for the film and subsequently hired Ron Goodwin. The biographies also note that Hitchcock's wife Alma had a stroke during the shooting of the film and was flown back to Los Angeles. Distracted by her illness, Hitchcock allowed various assistant directors to shoot several scenes near the end of the shooting schedule. A modern source adds the following actors to the cast: Joby Blanshard, Geraldine Cowper, Drewe Henley, Jack Silk and Jeremy Young.
Frenzy marked the first time since the 1951 film Stage Fright (see below) that the British-born filmmaker shot a film entirely in his native country. The 72-year-old Hitchcock made only one additional film, the 1976 picture Family Plot. Frenzy, which received an R rating from the MPAA, was the only Hitchcock film to contain a scene in which the character's bare breasts are visible.
Along with most reviews, the May 26, 1972 Daily Variety lauded Hitchcock, not only for his suspense but also for his use of silent comedy, as in the scenes between "Inspector Oxford" and his wife, who insists on serving gourmet meals that are so eccentric that Oxford, always a gentleman, must hide his distaste with every bite. Most reviews stated that with Frenzy, the master filmmaker, had a made a brilliant film that was comparable to his earlier, more famous works. Vincent Canby praised the director in his New York Times review, for the strange twist of creating a villain that receives occasional "cheering" from the audience. In a July 30, 1972 New York Times article, Victoria Sullivan, angered by Canby's remarks, asserted that the film makes the victims of rape and strangulation less meaningful than the "villain's passion."