As this Hitchcock thriller opens a politician is standing by the Thames giving a speech about cleaning up the river
moments later a member of the crowd spots the body of a woman in the river; naked apart from the tie round her neck. She is clearly a victim of the 'Necktie Killer' who has been murdering women in the capital. We then cut to Richard Blaney a former RAF Squadron Leader who is down on his luck; fired from his job in a pub he goes to see his friend Robert Rusk, a Covent Garden vegetable seller before seeing his ex-wife, who runs a match-making agency, they have a meal together then he goes off to sleep in a hostel not realising that she has slipped twenty pounds in to his pocket. The next day Rusk visits Mrs Blaney and viciously murders her. Shortly after Blaney goes to see his wife again but leaves when nobody answers the door. As he leaves her assistant returns and discovers the body. Blaney is soon the number one suspect; all the evidence points to him and the only people who seems to believe him are Babs Milligan the barmaid at the pub he worked at and Rusk of course but he obviously can't be trusted and soon directs the police to Blaney.
The most famous murder in a Hitchcock film is obviously the 'Psycho' shower scene; this manages to be more disturbing though. The murder of Blaney's ex-wife lacks any music and there are no multiple-cuts; instead it feels very real and is difficult to watch. The fact that we've seen this murder means there is no suspicion about who the killer is but that doesn't reduce the tension; because we know Blaney is innocent there is the worry that he will get arrested and the real killer go free. With such a dark subject matter some light relief is required and this is provided by scenes where we see the police officer investigating the case having to endure his wife's 'fancy' cooking. The film does show its age at times, and not just because of the way the London skyline has changed since it was made to say some attitudes expressed by characters aren't PC is an understatement and are likely to shock modern viewers; one just has to accept that these are just character views and they were different times. The cast does a solid job; Jon Finch plays Blaney as a not entirely sympathetic manner so we can understand why people are so likely to believe he is the killer; Barry Foster is delightfully disturbing as Rusk; a sharp-suited man who it is equally easy to believe people wouldn't suspect and Anna Massey is solid as Babs. The content means that this film won't be for everybody but if you are a Hitchcock fan or enjoy gritty thrillers I'd certainly recommend this.
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
London is terrorised by a vicious sex killer known as the neck tie murderer. Following the brutal slaying of his ex-wife, down-on-his-luck Richard Blaney is suspected by the police of being the killer. He goes on the run, determined to prove his innocence.
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October 28, 2012 at 06:08 AM