Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dial M for Murder

Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder opens with Margot Mary Wendice (Grace Kelly) reuniting with her lover Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). She tells him that she's being blackmailed over their affair. In the following scene, it's revealed that her husband Tony (Ray Milland) is the one blackmailing her. And he has something planned for her: murder.

Similar to Hitchcock's Rope several years earlier, Dial M for Murder focuses on the planning and execution of the so-called perfect murder. But as shown in both films, the arrogance and overconfidence of the perpetrators result in them overlooking the most glaring of details. (The true trait of a narcissist: they think they're smarter than everyone else.)

And similar to Hitchcock's Rear Window released that same year, it sees Kelly thrown into the middle of criminal activity. But the roles between both films are completely different. Rear Window has Kelly trying to solve a possible murder; Dial M for Murder has her as the potential victim. (Either way, she's in the role of the Hitchcock blonde in peril.)

But that doesn't mean Dial M for Murder doesn't hold its own among Hitchcock's films. Like several of his other films, it's based on another work (in this instance, Frederick Knott's play of the same name) and Hitchcock makes it into something of his own. Only a few directors are capable of this task; Hitchcock was most certainly one of them.

Dial M for Murder isn't frequently held in the same regard as some of Hitchcock's other films. (Why that is, it's hard to say.) Thanks to the work from Milland and Kelly, it's one of those films that you kind of have to see.

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. Too often this film gets written off. Good to hear you're not one of them, Anna. :-)


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