Dial M for Murder (1954) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Robert Cummings as Mark Halliday, Ray Milland as Tony Wendice and Grace Kelly as Margot Wendice.

Margot: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?
Mark: Mmm. Yes, absolutely. On paper, that is… and I think I could plan one better than most people, but I doubt if I could carry it out.
Tony: Oh? Why not?
Mark: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to and in real life they don’t… always. No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge. I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.

5 Responses to “Dial M for Murder (1954)”

  1. I was fortunate to see this rather underrated Hitchcock film at the Film Forum’s “3D” Festival last year. It’s an engrossing mystery yarn with some well-placed thrills, and Johnny Williams as Chief Inspector Hubbard gives a marvelous performance.

  2. I’ve always been tempted to see this one in 3D even though Hitch could barely be bothered with it. It’s funny though, looking at the film even in 2D, it’s apparent he’s more interested in conveying depth than he is in having things jump out of the screen which is exactly the path taken in the current fad.

    Anyway, I don’t think this is necessarily one of Hitchcock’s classics, but yes it’s underrated. He does a lot to add tension and excitement to what is largely a talky, claustrophobic piece. Smooth Milland is a great bad guy and Kelly is good, but yes Williams is probably the standout. You can tell he’s the character Hitch is most interested in. Cummings is kind of a nothing, but then he isn’t really supposed to be anything more. Anthony Dawson is appropriately slimy as Lesgate/Swann. Sort of a similar character to what he’d later play in Dr. No.

  3. This is another one of those Hitchcock movies that I always forget about until it plays on TCM and I watch it again. It’s actually really good and yes, Williams is absolutely terrific in it. Loved him in To Catch a Thief too.

  4. I love when that happens. You put something on and you’re not really expecting much and then it kicks ass.

  5. I’ve seen this in 3D on the big screen and in 2D many times. I agree that it’s underrated. I always fall for the plot intricacies with the latch key. The Milland role is one I’ve secretly yearned to play myself.

    One favorite bit is when Williams scolds one of his officers over the way he holds Kelly’s handbag (“You’ll get arrested carrying it like THAT”).

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