Dial M for Murder (1954) / Mystery-Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG for violent content
Running Time: 105 min.
Cast: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams, Anthony Dawson
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay: Frederick Knott (adapted from his play)
Review published January 5, 1997
Tony Wendice is a former tennis star whose wealthy wife is having an affair with an old friend of theirs. He plans on murdering her and getting her insurance money, and to facilitate shifting the blame away, he blackmails an former college chum with a checkered past to strangle her. But things don't work out exactly as planned and the cat and mouse game begins in covering up the goings on.
This is a classic Hitchcock film, but credit should go more to the deft script by playwright Frederick Knott with a really smart succession of twists and turns to keep you in suspense. Being written for the stage, this film does very little to venture outside of the living room where most of the action takes place, but the tightly constructed plot is still riveting nonetheless. Hitchcock tosses in a few touches of style, though some were injected due to the fact that it was originally filmed to be shown in 3-D. Remade later in the form of the almost equally entertaining A PERFECT MURDER.
©1997 Vince Leo