Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dial M for Murder (1954)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Frederick Knott

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin

Starring: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams, Anthony Dawson, Leo Britt, Patrick Allen, George Leigh, George Alderson, Robin Hughes

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Kiss By Kiss...Supreme Suspense Unfurls!

Plot: After learning that his wife Margot had a brief affair with mystery writer Mark Halliday, Tony Wendice decides he's going to kill her. He wants to provide himself with an ironclad alibi and so blackmail a one-time schoolmate with a shady past, Charles Swann, to do the killing for him. The plan is simple. He will give Swann a key to their flat and while he and Halliday are out at a dinner, Swan can let himself into the flat and strangle her. It all goes as planned but Margot successfully defends herself, killing Swan in the process. She is convicted of his murder - Tony had planted evidence to suggest that he had been blackmailing her - and soon finds herself in prison awaiting execution on the gallows. It's left to Mark Halliday and a sympathetic policeman, Chief Inspector Hubbard, to uncover Wendice's plan and get the evidence to arrest him.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

It's always a lot of years between viewings on this one and I always forget how freakin' good it is.  The performances are solid.  Ray Milland just blows me away.  I would've like to have met him.  He seems like a really cool dude.  Anyway, everything is top shelf in this picture. and Hitchcock once again delivers the goods.  He had a great run for the longest time where just about everything he made was gold.  You don't see that kind of consistent quality in Hollywood, then or now.  There's a lot of exposition and normally that could be death but the actors deliver it with such gracefulness that you don't even realize that you've just been handed 9 pages of information that fly by like a flash.  The ending feels like it's a tad more complicated and super sleuth-y than it needed to be but it's still fun as hell.  This was filmed in 3D.  That version is only on the Blu-ray but I'm not payin' thirty bucks just to see it.  I imagine I'd watch it that way once and go back to the flat version.

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