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Dial M for Murder (1954)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 5

Dial M for Murder may be slightly off-peak Hitchcock, but by any other standard, it's a sophisticated, chillingly sinister thriller -- and one that boasts an unforgettable performance from Grace Kelly to boot.

71

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2

Dial M for Murder may be slightly off-peak Hitchcock, but by any other standard, it's a sophisticated, chillingly sinister thriller -- and one that boasts an unforgettable performance from Grace Kelly to boot.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 36,834

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the popular mystery play by Frederick Knott, Dial M For Murder is more talky and stagebound than most Hitchcock films, but no less enjoyable. British tennis pro Ray Milland suspects that his wealthy wife Grace Kelly is fooling around with handsome American Robert Cummings. Milland blackmails a disgraced former army comrade (Anthony Dawson) into murdering Kelly and making it look like the work of a burglar. But Milland's carefully mapped-out scheme does not take into account the notion

PG,

Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Sep 7, 2004

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (5) | DVD (15)

The fun of Dial M lies in its duel of wits...

August 24, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dial M is less a filmed play than a highly cinematic investigation of theatricality.

January 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dial M remains more of a filmed play than a motion picture, unfortunately revealed as a conversation piece about murder which talks up much more suspense than it actually delivers.

January 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (6)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The screenplay tends to constrain rather than liberate Hitchcock's thematic thrust, but there is much of technical value in his geometric survey of the scene and the elaborate strategies employed to transfer audience sympathy among the main characters.

January 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It all moves along in a rather efficient if lifeless fashion, with only John Williams shining as a canny police detective.

January 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (4)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Hitchcock] tried once before, in Rope, to build up a whole continuous drama in one set. He wasn't as successful in that venture. Dial M has all the space it needs.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An exercise made by an enormously talented constructor of thrillers in the most fertile period of his career.

July 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The risk with clever thrillers is always that they will focus on pleasing the intellect at the expense of developing more depth. Dial M For Murder is a different kind of animal.

August 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Rather than let someone else mess with a play that has a formal perfection, Hitchcock did the adaptation himself, his only such credit while in Hollywood.

July 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Milland's sinister sophistication catches the eye, but Kelly's subtly shaded suffering is superb.

July 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Ray Milland is great as cold fish Tony Wendice, a former tennis pro who plans to bump off his adulterous wife. Still, Grace Kelly is mis-cast (or misdirected) as the spouse in question.

July 26, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The depth of focus, framing of characters and objects and use of the claustrophobic sets add extra pleasure to what was already a thoroughly enjoyable "perfect crime" nail-biter.

July 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The set-up is ingenious and the "kill" scene genuinely thrilling.

July 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Grace Kelly reaches out into the audience for murder scissors; foreground tea tables all but clonk your knees; a tell-tale door key - how many Hitchcock revelation moments feature those! - is brandished inches from your nose.

July 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Second tier Hitch perhaps, but no less enjoyable for it, and still a marvel of cinematic technique.

July 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Despite Hitchcock's own reservations this is definitely worth a look. Interesting to his aficionados and darkly funny and depressing in turns.

July 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A tightly wound psychological parlour game, expanded only slightly from its claustrophobic stage roots.

July 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This second-tier Hitchcock is best known for Grace Kelly's star turn and sleek production values, including use of 3D.

January 11, 2013 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Dial M for Murder is often dismissed as lesser Hitchcock, yet its intricate plot and sterling performances thrill me every time I watch it.

October 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Based on a magnificently intricate script ... it benefits immensely from Hitchcock's razor-sharp direction.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

...a completely watchable yet less-than-consistent effort from Hitchcock...

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

In Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, even the innocent have poker faces.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A modest thriller in comparison to Hitchcock's later works, but one that's nonetheless taut and cleverly managed.

August 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Dial M for Murder

Based on a play, so it comes with limitations, but slow and too talky, overall. Not Hitchcock's best work. And while conceptually, I like that the whole story takes place in one room, it's unfortunately stiff to watch.
March 15, 2014
danperry17

Super Reviewer

I find it difficult to gush over these older movies. Sure there is a battle of wits between the Inspector and the husband. But the audience knows who did it from the beginning - we have to make do with watching if the Inspector can figure it out.
October 2, 2013
Redlats

Super Reviewer

Pure edge of seat entertainment. The suspense doesn't stop.
August 25, 2012
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A husband blackmails an old college buddy into murdering his wife.
I think if I hadn't seen A Perfect Murder fourteen years ago, I would have liked this film more. As it is, I saw all of the plot twists coming. The film is exceptionally plotted, each step leading to the next logically with just the right number and type of curveballs.
Because I knew the plot, I was able to gain some entertainment from the direction. Hitchcock is more subtle than Andrew Davis (the director of A Perfect Murder) who lingered on the kitchen knives for an inappropriately long time, while Hitch simply made Tom ask his wife to clip newspapers, a task that implicitly requires scissors. And the way some of the shots are framed reflect Hitch's great eye for color and balance; he can make a film alternately beautiful and frightening in a blink of an eye.
Overall, even though I enjoyed A Perfect Murder, I wish I could have seen this one first; like the book, the original film is so much better than the later, more Hollywood movie.
July 2, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Dial M for Murder

    1. Tom Wendice: People don't commit murder on credit.
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