Day 234: Dial M For Murder (1954)

dial M for murderWith only 132 days left in the year and only 18 Sundays left in the calendar year, we are going to try something new here. I am calling it Sunday At The Classics where we review classic cinema and we are starting this week with Alfred Hitchcock’s (Psycho) Dial M For Murder which was released in 1954. Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) plays Tony Wendice, a former tennis pro who discovers that his wife is having an affair with a writer from New York City. What does he do, well he tries to plan the perfect murder by blackmailing an old college friend, but when that backfires he has to come up with one heck of a plan b just to get the job done. The film also stars Grace Kelly (To Catch A Thief) as Margot Wendice, Robert Cummings (Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color) as Mark Halliday, John Williams (Witness For The Prosecution) as Chief Inspector Hubbard, Anthony Dawson (Death Rides A Horse) as Charles Swan, Robin Hughes (The Flame And The Arrow) as Police Sergeant O’Brien, Leo Britt (The Charge Of The Light) as the storyteller, Patrick Allen (The Black Adder) as Detective Pearson, and George Leigh (Champagne For Caesar) as Detective Williams.

dial mThere is one scene that I had always heard about that was revered by many in this film which is why I decided to watch this. It’s the during the beginning of the film when Tony invites Charles Swan to come over to talk about the “car” for sale. He begins to piece Swan’s true identity to Swan as they are talking and then he reveals to him his secret plan. It is then that he let’s us in on how he wants Swan to commit the perfect crime in detail. The conversation goes on for about 15 to 20 minutes and is just masterful as it seems to be one continuous shot. Alfred was a master with his cinematography and how he wanted to see his film unfold. It’s exactly like François Truffaut once said about Hitchcock calling him a true auteur of cinema.  Just like any great Film Noir or crime mystery film, there is always the reveal about how they came to discover the master plan. That is another great sequence that you have to check out from the master of suspense. One of the things I enjoyed about this film was seeing the beautiful Grace Kelly who really was the face of perfection in classic Hollywood. There was just no other like her in those times and she was awesome to watch in this film even though she really wasn’t the star of the film. Ray Milland of course was the star and he absolutely shined as the an who thought he could think on his feet and that he had everyone hook, line, and sinker. If you want to be a fan of cinema then I definitely suggest that you stick this on your list of films to watch. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

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