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Roger Davidson

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After his masterpiece Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock spanned out into unfamiliar territory. For 12 years after that classic horror film, he took a look at the cold war (Topaz), the spy genre (Torn Curtain) and fantasy (The Birds). But in 1972, he returned to his familiar genre in style. The plot devices he uses are not much different than the ones he used in any of his other films, save for nudity and mind-jarringly graphic violence. The plot itself involves the typical Hitchcock "Wrong Man" (Jon Finch), an average Joe who is mistaken by the London police to be the infamous neck-tie strangler. The real strangler (Barry Foster) is not just a deranged murderer, but is also a dirty rat who would sell out his best friend Finch in order to get away with the murders.

With some great suspenseful sequences, including one involving Foster, a potato truck and a corpse, and some great uses of the camera for terror, Hitch made a remarkable return to making great thrillers. Besides the two great lead performances by Finch and Foster, we get a touch of some hideously delightful black humor (it wouldn't be a Hitchcock movie without some). Some of the best scenes involve the dinner sequences with Scotland Yard detective Oxford (Alec McCowen) and his wife (Vivien Merchant). Wait till you've seen the dishes she prepares for her husband, and tell me if you don't lose YOUR appetite. If I had a chance to tell what I thought of the film to Hitch himself...

Well, to use the old cliche, "Good Show old boy! Good Show indeed!" Bye for now.

My Rating = Four Stars

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