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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. Read critic reviews

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Dial M for Murder Photos

Movie Info

Ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) wants to have his wealthy wife, Margot (Grace Kelly), murdered so he can get his hands on her inheritance. When he discovers her affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), he comes up with the perfect plan to kill her. He blackmails an old acquaintance into carrying out the murder, but the carefully-orchestrated set-up goes awry, and Margot stays alive. Now Wendice must frantically scheme to outwit the police and avoid having his plot detected.

Cast & Crew

Ray Milland
Tony Wendice
Grace Kelly
Margot Mary Wendice
Robert Cummings
Mark Halliday
John Williams
Chief Insp. Hubbard
Anthony Dawson
Charles Alexander Swann, Captain Lesgate
Leo Britt
The Storyteller
Patrick Allen
Det. Pearson
George Leigh
Det. Williams
George Alderson
Detective No. 1
Robin Hughes
Police sergeant
Frederick Knott
Screenwriter
Dimitri Tiomkin
Original Music
Robert Burks
Cinematographer
Rudi Fehr
Film Editor
Edward Carrere
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Dial M for Murder

Critic Reviews for Dial M for Murder

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (5)

  • Ray Milland is sufficiently suave as the misbegotten genius, and Hitchcock has moved about very sure-footedlv on what continues to be for the most part just a stage.

    April 16, 2020 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The set-up is ingenious and the "kill" scene genuinely thrilling.

    July 25, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Second tier Hitch perhaps, but no less enjoyable for it, and still a marvel of cinematic technique.

    July 25, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dial M for Murder

  • Apr 11, 2016
    John Williams and Grace Kelly are surely great, but Ray Milland is fantastic in this sophisticated and intellectually stimulating thriller that fascinates with its witty, impeccably-written dialogue and the intelligent minutiae of everything that can go wrong in a perfect murder.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2014
    To receive further assistance, please call 1-800-MURDER. Well, that's only six digits so if you're looking for a good time, then that girl just gave a wrong and profoundly disturbing number. Oh please, that's not too much cheesier than the actual title here, which I still give a lot of credit for being unique. Well, it was unique in 1954, but now, at a time where "The Simpsons" really did release an episode titled "Dial 'N' for Nerder", I reckon it's safe to say that it's not as much fun anymore, so they may as well bill this as the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train", "When a Stranger Calls". Honestly, phones aren't hugely prominent in this film, although it is probably the first film that made phones scary, which should tell you just how talented Hitchcock was as a suspense filmmaker, because he somehow managed to make phones suspenseful. I don't know about you guys, but Morse Code confuses me to a practically scary point, so if they ever make a horror film involving telegraphs, then I'll either laugh hysterically or scream whenever I hear that Dire Straits song, you know, more than I usually do. Man, "Telegraph Road" is an awesome song, but hey, this film ain't too shabby either, even though it leaves you "hanging on the line" in certain places (No, the "1-800-MURDER" joke was not lame enough for me). At times, it feels as though the drama is making quite the effort to freshen things up, but in too many other places, it falls short, into familiarity, especially as an Alfred Hitchcock film, complete with formulaic dialogue, predictable plotting and even a touch too much ambiguity for characterization's own good. The film doesn't have much new stuff to discuss, nor does it have much to say at all, at least in terms of development, exposing you to problematic character traits that fail to go justified by thoroughly well-rounded exposition which gets you firmly invested in the characters. That being said, the film still takes plenty of time to bloat itself, and not exactly with an excess in colorful or dynamic material, dragging chit-chat and other minimalist happenings on and on, almost to the point of monotony, but decidedly to the point of blandness. I don't know if the film is so much dull, as its writing and direction have enough bite to keep you reasonably interested throughout the final product, yet there's just so much meandering to this almost aimlessly talkative thriller, and the more it meanders, the more difficult it is to disregard that the film was never to have all that much to say. Not simply conventional, or undercooked, or overdrawn, this film's story is minimal, with only so much lively material to beef up potential, no matter how much Frederick Knott's script works to compensate through overblown dramatic theatrics. What might have worked better on the stage on which Knott introduced his vision feels a touch too melodramatic here, just as the story feels even more minimalist, even with you taking out of account the formulaic and unevenly paced scripted execution that secure the final product as underwhelming. The film could have at least come close to rewarding, but before too long, momentum fails to be sustained, and yet, it's hard to not be at least a little driven on by this decent thriller, at least aesthetically. Although "Rope" was Alfred Hitchcock's first colored film, this particular project really kicked off his streak of colored classics, and while Robert Burks' cinematography isn't quite as lush as it was when backed by Technicolor for "Rope", there's still plenty of bounce to Burks' coloration, while lighting balances matters out with a certain bleakness that both attracts uniquely, and fits the gritty tone of this thriller. For the substance value to this style, credit is, of course, due to Hitchcock, whose solid framing joins visual style in drawing you into the environment, and whose atmosphere secures you through a thoughtfulness that, when not so backed with material of limited meat, bites with an audacious attention to subtle intensity. Of course, even when material to meditate upon lapses, the film never quite loses so much momentum that it becomes boring, for although the film is plenty bland in plenty of places, the thoughtfulness at least does a decent job of sustaining some degree of entertainment value by drawing on the story concept's natural intrigue. Again, intrigue is limited by the sheer minimalism of this story of small scale and little dynamicity, and yet, there's still something fairly meaty about this dramatic study on a murderous plot going all kinds of wrong, and it's hard to ignore that when Frederick Knott's scripted interpretation of his own play really works on the screen, with sharp dialogue and moments of melodrama that are effective enough to be bought in their context. Yes, there are solid moments in a generally pretty improvable script by Knott, with even characterization that is mostly lacking having highlights that do, in fact, draw you into the depths of this character-driven drama, though not as much as the consistently strong performances. Driven by more talk than action, this type of thriller really focuses on the performers, and they really do a fine job of holding their own, immersing themselves in each distinguished role, and further securing their convincingness by exchanging solid chemistry that makes the instrumental interactions in this character drama about as effective as the highlights in direction and writing do. Were the storytelling more consistently effective than the performances, the final product would have stood on the brink of rewarding, and if there was more inspiration, the natural shortcomings might have been transcended, yet when it's all said and done, there's enough intrigue throughout this thriller to engage time and again, even if it truly engrosses only every so often. When the line is finally cut, the film is left standing as too familiar for its own good, yet not so familiar that a sense of underdevelopment joins dragging and natural dramatic limitations to make the final product underwhelming, but not so much so that sharp cinematography, highlights in direction and writing, and solid performances don't prove to be enough to make "Dial M for Murder" a decent thriller, with sharp highlights, few and far between they may very much be. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2013
    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.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2012
    I enjoyed Dial M For Murder extremely, it was so beautifully done with minimalistic setting and clever use of props. The acting was fantastic, everything ran smooth and natural. The shots were artistic like every other Hitchcock features, the music was perfect, the twist was clever. It may have been a bit slow in the beginning but nonetheless, it's a great film with suspense. it's those little details like Margot looking for pills in her purse that made the audience jumping out of their seats. Oh, the suspense never dies.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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