A Movie A Week:

Article from Issue #035

"Dial M for Murder" Movie Review

5.0/5 Stars

[Join your host, John Holliday, in the review column "A Movie A Week" as he shares his spoiler-free thoughts on our collection of DVD / Blu-ray titles.]

The incredibly suspenseful plot of Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder begins with suave and colllected Tony (Ray Milland) cleverly revealing to Charles Swann (Anthony Dawson) that he is blackmailing him. Cutting to the chase, while Hitchcock still manages to leave us on the edge of our seats, Tony lays out his calculated plan for the perfect murder of his wife who is having a comprehensible affair with an old flame. Swann, a petty thief, begins to realize Tony's attention to detail, which is very craftily written, and has no choice but to go along with the plan.

Dial M for Murder poster art

Genre: Mystery
Release: 1954
Runtime: 1hr. 45min.
Studio: Warner Bros.

Feigning knowledge of the extent of his wife Margot's (Grace Kelly) relationship with Mark (Robert Cummings), Tony arranges to attend a party with him. Meanwhile, Swann is to enter the apartment where Margot will be sleeping and wait behind the curtains near the phone for Tony to call. When she is drawn from the bedroom, Swann intends to murder her, leaving no trace of their sophisticated scheme. As with Hitchcock's 'Psycho', the story takes a dramatic turn midway through and, since spoilers begin early on, we'll leave it at that. Never have I seen more tension in the first half of a movie as here and the second half only heightens the cliff that Hitch hangs us over.

Chief Inspector Hubbard, played by John Williams and adding to the already amazing cast, is on the scene and has now turned his suspicion in the wrong direction when he discovers Margot's presumed secret with Mark. Now we're left feeling totally helpless as we watch the investigation dance around the clues we desperately want to point out to prevent a second attempted execution. Mark starts to piece together Tony's elaborate blueprint but there's just too many twists and turns and not enough time. Both sides of the mystery are equally captivating and flawless in every way. Hitchcock's masterful direction, unlike Tony's plot, has no loose ends. That's why I give Dial M for Murder:

5.0/5 Stars

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- John Holliday -
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