Top positive review
Dial M for Masterful!
on January 28, 2004
Dial M for Murder is not one of the all time greats of the Master, but it still has its merits. Based on a play by Friedrich Knott, it features the suave Ray Milland playing Tony Wendice, former tennis star. He's married to Margot (Grace Kelly) who is actually having an affair with Mark (Robert Cummings). Tony hatches a plan to blackmail a former school chum to come to their house and kill Margot when Tony is away. The main part of the plan involves Tony calling Margot to get her to stand by the phone and give the killer his chance. The plan, needless to say, does not go off as planned and some further decisions need to be made.
It's obvious that this was originally a stage play, as the majority of the picture takes place in the Wendice's apartment. It also was released in 3-D when it came out in 1954, something that really didn't help its popularity. The play was perfect for Hitchcock, who showed over and over his ability to do masterful work even when contained in one space for a long period of time (see Lifeboat, and Rear Window, which came out the same year as Dial M). The performances are superb. Milland as the overconfident Brit, Cummings as the uptight American, and Kelly as the clueless beauty who just can't believe her husband could be so cruel. I also loved John Williams as the inspector from Scotland Yard. He also thinks highly of himself and it's great watching him go up against Milland. Watch also for Hitch's cameo in a picture and the neat close ups of the scissors and the telephone number dial. Hitchcock always had the camera telling the story and this film is no exception. Excellent all the way around.