Dial M for Murder (1954)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: 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.

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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 that Kelly might fight back and kill her assailant. When the police (represented by John Williams) investigate, Milland improvises quickly, subtly planting the suggestion that his wife has committed first-degree murder. He almost gets away with it; to tell you more would spoil the fun of the film's final thirty minutes. Hitchcock claimed that he chose this single-set play because he was worn out from several earlier, more ambitious projects, and wanted to "recharge his batteries." Compelled by Warner Bros. to film Dial M for Murder in 3-D, Hitchcock perversely refused to throw in the standard in-your-face gimmickry of most stereoscopic films of the era--though watch how he visually emphasizes an important piece of evidence towards the end of the film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating:
PG
Genre:
Classics , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Bros. Pictures

Cast

Ray Milland
as Tony Wendice
Grace Kelly
as Margot Mary Wendice
Robert Cummings
as Mark Halliday
John Williams (II)
as Chief Inspector Hubbard
Anthony Dawson
as Capt. Swan Lesgate
Leo Britt
as The Narrator
Patrick Allen
as Pearson
George Leigh
as William
George Alderson
as The Detective
Robin Hughes
as Police Sergeant
Alfred Hitchcock
as Man in Photo
Guy Doleman
as Detective
Sam Harris
as Man in Phone Booth
Thayer Roberts
as Detective
John Williams
as Chief Inspector Hubbard
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Critic Reviews for Dial M for Murder

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (7)

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

Full Review… | August 23, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 2, 2008
Village Voice
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 2, 2008
Variety
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 2, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 3, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Was by far the most visually compelling of studio stereoscopic movies.

December 31, 1999
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dial M for Murder

½

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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Very slow to start, really found myself quite bored. Picks up a little with the "murder", but still wouldn't call it riveting viewing. Though classic movies are far from my favourite, there are definitely much better ones out there. I was interested to see Grace Kelly act as I have heard a lot about her over the years. I was kind of underwhelmed. She's a nice looking woman, but not the most beautiful ever and not an extremely convincing actress either. This was okay.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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