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|Jon Finch||Richard Ian Blaney|
|Alec McCowen||Chief Inspector Oxford|
|Barry Foster||Robert Rusk|
|Billie Whitelaw||Hetty Porter|
|Anna Massey||Barbara Jane ('Babs') Milligan|
|Barbara Leigh-Hunt||Brenda Margaret Blaney|
|Bernard Cribbins||Felix Forsythe|
|Jean Marsh||Monica Barling|
|Vivien Merchant||Mrs. Oxford|
|Clive Swift||Johnny Porter|
|Gerald Sim||Mr. Usher - Solicitor in Pub|
|John Boxer||Sir George|
|Alfred Hitchcock||Spectator at Opening Rally|
|Arthur La Bern||Author|
|Ron Goodwin||Original Music Composer|
|Gilbert Taylor||Director of Photography|
|Syd Cain||Production Design|
|Robert W. Laing||Art Direction|
|Arthur La Bern||Story Contributor|
"From the Master of Shock! A Shocking Masterpiece!"
"A deadly new twist from the original Hitchcock."
In London, a serial killer is raping women and strangling them with neckties. Most of the film takes place in Covent Garden, which at the time was still the wholesale fruit and vegetable market district. Fairly early in the film, the audience sees that fruit merchant Robert Rusk (Barry Foster) is in fact the murderer. However, circumstantial guilt has already built up around his friend, Richard Blaney (Jon Finch).
Blaney's ex-wife Brenda (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) runs a matchmaking service that Rusk used until he was blacklisted for beating up his dates. One day, Rusk shows up at her office and tries to seduce her; when she spurns his advances, he rapes and strangles her in a fit of rage. Suspicion falls on Blaney who is seen threatening his ex-wife in public; then, the next day, is seen leaving her building shortly after her murder. The subsequent murder of Blaney's girlfriend, Barbara "Babs" Milligan (Anna Massey), occurs off-screen: the audience sees her entering Rusk's apartment with him, but the camera then pulls back down the stairs all the way out to the other side of the street.
The audience next sees Rusk at night carrying a large sack and lifting it into the back of a lorry among sacks of unsold potatoes bound for Lincolnshire. Rusk soon finds that his distinctive jeweled tie pin (with the initial R) is missing, and realises that Babs must have torn it off as he was murdering her. He climbs into the back of the lorry, but it starts off on its journey north. The killer desperately scrabbles through the sack of potatoes to find the dead woman's hand. Rigor mortis has set in, and he has to break her fingers in order to prise the pin from her grasp.
Owing to fake evidence set up by Rusk, Blaney is gaoled while protesting his innocence. Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowen), the detective investigating the murders, reconsiders the previous events and begins to believe that he has arrested the wrong man. He discusses the case with his wife (Vivien Merchant) in several scenes of black humour concerning her ineptitude as a cook.
With the help of his fellow inmates, Blaney escapes from prison. Oxford knows he will head to Rusk's flat for revenge, and immediately goes there. Blaney arrives first, to find that the door to the flat is unlocked. He creeps in and sees what appears to be Rusk asleep in bed, and strikes the body thrice with a metal bar. However, we see that the body is in fact the corpse of another of Rusk's female victims, strangled by a necktie.
Oxford bursts through the door. Blaney is still standing by the corpse holding the metal bar, and begins to protest his innocence, but then they both hear something or someone banging heavily coming up the staircase. The two men wait in the flat and witness Rusk dragging a large trunk inside to cart away the body, only to come face to face with two determined witnesses. The film ends with Oxford's urbane but pointed comment, "Mr. Rusk, you're not wearing your tie."
Theatrical : 1972-06-21 : United States of America
DVD : 2001-03-06