A Perfect Murder (1998)



Critic Consensus: A slick little thriller that relies a bit too much on surprise events to generate suspense.

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Movie Info

A Perfect Murder is based on Frederick Knott's play Dial M for Murder, filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. Married to commodities trader Stephen Taylor (Michael Douglas), Emily Bradford (Gwyneth Paltrow) is romantically involved with artist David Shaw (Viggo Mortensen). Aware of this affair, Stephen researches David's past, visits his loft studio, and informs David that he knows about his aliases, jail sentences, and various cons and scams directed at rich women. Then Stephen offers David $500,000 to murder Emily, and David agrees. The plan is calculated to make the murder look like an accident, but events soon go on an unscheduled course. Enter Detective Mohamed Karaman (David Suchet). Knott's original play opened June 1952 in London, followed by a New York run that began October 1952. Several books and sources describe how Hitchcock's film was made in 3-D but neglect to mention that, despite trade screenings in 3-D, Dial M for Murder was originally released in 1954 with ordinary, flat 2-D prints. It was finally shown to audiences in 3-D during the mid-'80s. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
R (For violence, sexuality and language)
Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Universal / Warner Bros.

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Michael Douglas
as Steven Taylor
Gwyneth Paltrow
as Emily Bradford Taylor
Viggo Mortensen
as David Shaw
David Suchet
as Det. Mohamed Karaman
Sarita Choudhury
as Raquel Martinez
Constance Towers
as Sandra Bradford
Michael P. Moran
as Det. Bobby Fain
Novella Nelson
as Ambassador Alice Wills
Will Lyman
as Jason Gates
Maeve McGuire
as Ann Gates
Stephen Singer
as Effete Man at Met
Laurinda Barrett
as Met Woman #1
Aideen O'Kelly
as Met Woman #2
Reed Birney
as Merchant Prince #1
Robert Vincent Smith
as Merchant Prince #2
Bill Ambrozy
as Merchant Prince #3
George S. Blumenthal
as Merchant Prince #4
Iris Alten
as Guest at Met
Marion Blumenthal
as Guest at Met
Andrew Sussman
as Guest at Met
Robynn N. Sussman
as Guest at Met
Radney Tucker
as Guest at Met
Beverly Tucker
as Guest at Met
Bradford Billet
as Guest at Met
Robert Bosco Cokljat
as Croatian Delegate
Marat Yusim
as Russian Delegate
Lee Wong
as Japanese Diplomat
Roberta Orlan
as Italian Diplomat
Francis Dumaurier
as French Delegate
Deen Badarou
as African Delegate
Peter Benson
as Hansen
Jean De Baer
as Secretary
Michel Moinot
as Maitre d'
Gerrit Vooren
as Waiter
Monica Parker
as Janice Moran
Scott Dillin
as Detective Scott
Starla Benford
as Police Technician
Bob Bowersox
as Police Photographer
Joanna P. Adler
as Vyczowski
James Georgiades
as Policeman #2
Jose Ramon Rosario
as Policeman #1
Gerry Becker
as Roger Brill
William Bogert
as Harrington
Adrian Martinez
as Young Tough
Dexter Brown
as Porter
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Critic Reviews for A Perfect Murder

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (14)

...a fast-paced thriller that probably will leave Alfred Hitchcock aficionados mourning its shallowness -- but not until after they've enjoyed an adrenaline rush.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

None of the amusement gained in watching the performances, unfortunately, amounts to much, as the script, in a desperate attempt to lend action interest to the original, static, puzzle plot, compounds surprise turn after surprise turn.

April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

What the film lacks is suspense, surprise (the new ending is a dud) and passion.

June 5, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

A Perfect Murder begins better than it ends, and the pleasures it offers turn out to be more of a transitory nature.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

...there's nothing about this thriller to prevent it from soon becoming enmeshed in the memory with others in which Michael Douglas wears a starched collar and grits his teeth.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

...snoozy, slack...

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Perfect Murder


Modern version of Hitchcock movie 'Dial M for Murder'. A rich wife Emily (Gwyneth) has an affair with a shady artist (Viggo). Her husband Steven (Michael) finds out and blackmails his wife's lover into killing her. It would have been the perfect murder but it does not all go to plan. Great cast. Great plot. Viggo actually painted the paintings in the loft.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

A typical mid-90's thriller with the murders and the twists and the mystique and the sexual tension. But hey....I like the mid-90's thrillers...they get the money rolling. Pretty okay movie.

Martin Sahlin
Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer


I really wanted to enjoy this movie. It looks amazing on paper, but it just wasn't anything special. The plot started off quite nice, but became an incredibly cheesy and typical ending. I am extremely sick of movies that have to end with the good guy/girl winning. I think the idea that you can remake Dial M for Murder and make it better or even on par is an utter joke. Even with actors like Michael Douglas and Viggo Mortensen, you can't top Hitchcock.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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