Dial M for Murder (1954)
Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 5
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 36,578
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
May 29, 1954 Wide
Sep 7, 2004
Warner Bros. Pictures
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Dial M is less a filmed play than a highly cinematic investigation of theatricality.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
Milland's sinister sophistication catches the eye, but Kelly's subtly shaded suffering is superb.
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.
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.
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.
Second tier Hitch perhaps, but no less enjoyable for it, and still a marvel of cinematic technique.
Despite Hitchcock's own reservations this is definitely worth a look. Interesting to his aficionados and darkly funny and depressing in turns.
A tightly wound psychological parlour game, expanded only slightly from its claustrophobic stage roots.
This second-tier Hitchcock is best known for Grace Kelly's star turn and sleek production values, including use of 3D.
Dial M for Murder is often dismissed as lesser Hitchcock, yet its intricate plot and sterling performances thrill me every time I watch it.
Based on a magnificently intricate script ... it benefits immensely from Hitchcock's razor-sharp direction.
...a completely watchable yet less-than-consistent effort from Hitchcock...
In Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, even the innocent have poker faces.
A modest thriller in comparison to Hitchcock's later works, but one that's nonetheless taut and cleverly managed.
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