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Dial M for Murder (a "Better Know Your Hitchcock!" movie review)

I briefly referenced Dial M for Murder when I talked about the remake of this film, A Perfect Murder, way back when. But now, it’s time for the real thing! Today on Better Know Your Hitchcock, take out your phone and hit the 6 button until your victim meets their grisly end! Or keep reading… either way.

I want to get one thing out-of-the-way right off the bat: I love Grace Kelly, but if I had to pick a Hitchcock movie about a tennis pro and a murder, I’d have to go with Strangers on a Train, which is, frankly a much more interesting and stimulating movie, but then, Dial M for Murder is a bit like Rope in the sense that it’s more of a strict adaptation of a play, so it’s not especially fair to compare the two.

(I think it bares repeating that there are two Hitchcock movies about a tennis pro and conspiracy to commit murder. Didn’t see that coming.)

There’s just not enough Grace Kelly (as Margrot) for me in this movie. Everyone else delivers a fine performance (and a very “British” performance at that; it’s all so laid back and casual), but there’s only one Grace Kelly. Ray Milland was especially interesting as Tony; I also enjoyed Anthony Dawson as Charles and John Williams as the inspector, but Robert Cummings was kinda by-the-numbers-American in a “I’m trying to help you!” sort of way. I feel that this sort of role in all movies of this era was written and played in the exact same way, and it’s starting to vex me. Anyway, there’s not much to see here from a visual standpoint as the set is small and the movie is very static, but again, strict adaptation of a play. The Hitchcock cameo comes up early and for some reason, it’s quickly becoming my favorite: he’s in a photograph that gets a close up – the attention is to the other side of the image, so it’s just as easy to catch as it is to miss. For some reason, I find this one very funny.

It’s no Strangers on a Train, but definitely check out Dial M for Murder – a Hitchcock fan’s life is incomplete without it!

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com and BomberBanter.com

Posted on March 10, 2014, in movie reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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