Article #1518 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-11-2005
Posting Date: 10-8-2005
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Featuring John Finch, Alec McCowen, Barry Foster
An out-of-work divorced man becomes the prime suspect in a series of sadistic necktie killings when his ex-wife is found murdered.
Alfred Hitchcock was no longer at the top of his form during his final decade of directing, but this is probably his best movie from the period. Despite the fact that, like PSYCHO and THE LODGER, it deals with a psychotic serial killer, it’s not really a horror movie but more of a suspense thriller, though the killer does push the movie into marginalia in that regard. It’s also a little slow out of the gate; despite the fact that it contains the most graphic murder of Hitchcock’s career, the first two-thirds of this two hour movie drags a little bit, but once the murderer discovers that he left an important clue on the body of his last victim, the movie takes off and never lets up until the end. Still, I find it hard to complain; after all, Hitchcock was an expert at setting up the dominoes, and it’s worth it to be patient during this part of the process. And it’s always graced with Hitchcock’s wonderful sense of macabre humor; as horrible as it is, the scene in the potato truck is quite hilarious. Much has also been made about the use of food in this movie, so this connection is obviously not an original observation of mine, but I can’t help but notice that the movie with Hitchcock’s most graphic murder also has some of the most disgusting meals on film; practically ever meal served by the detective’s wife is likely to turn your stomach, and when she trots out the ingredients of a soup recipe in French, I found myself rather glad that I don’t understand the language.