Alfred Hitchcock directs another masterpiece with ‘Dial M For Murder,’ a murder mystery written by Frederick Knott, who also wrote the stageplay for which it is based. It was released by Warner Bros. in 1954.
Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) is a retired pro-tennis player whose beautiful socialite Margot (Grace Kelly) is in love with American crime-fiction writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) after discovering a letter that she kept. He blackmails one of his old schoolmates Charles Alexander Swann (Anthony Dawson), a conman, into murdering his wife. However, things go wrong when she kills Swan in self-defense. Tony decides to set it up to frame his wife for the killing, setting it up for Chief Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) using subtle hits. Mark desperately tries to save her and though Tony plays along, he intends to see his wife hang for the crime that he himself set up.
There is not much a newcomer like me can add that other critics have not said before about this film. It is masterfully crafted by Alfred Hitchcock who uses the original setting of a play as a set up for the screen. Aside from one scene, it virtually takes place in one small apartment. Normally, that would be a weakness, but Hitchcock ramps up the intrigue to a new level as the plot unfolds.
The performances are just as excellent. Milland brings out the cold, calculating husband who wants revenge on his wife for giving up their love. He delivers on every level, even when his plan goes awry, he adapts it with ease. Grace Kelly is, of course, stylish, classy, and stunning as she plays the wife who is completely unaware of the events unfolding before.
My only complaint about the film is that I felt the ending tied together a little too perfectly. I would have liked a little bit more of a push at the end, but Hitchcock’s unwavering sense of justice made sure that he got the ending he desired. Now, it does not ruin the film by any means. It is a cinematic feat no matter how you square it.
Bottom line, Dial M For Murder is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest movies, proving why he is a master of thrillers. Likewise, the talented cast rounds out the film, bringing it to its conclusion with ease.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Frightening images, Violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.
Check out the trailer below:
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