Dial M for Murder

Dial M for Murder ★★★★½

This adaptation of Frederick Knott’s play was one of two Alfred Hitchcock films to have been released in 1954, both featuring Grace Kelly and both revolving heavily around a single location. If this one isn’t quite the equal of the other (Rear Window, a title which remains one of Hitchcock’s most revered), it isn’t far off.

Although its stage origins mean that it’s one of the Master’s more talk-heavy thrillers, the fiendishly clever manner in which the whole plot is constructed, coupled with Ray Milland’s almost demonically sly performance, ensure that it remains utterly gripping throughout.

At the same time, there are some great moments of pure cinema here - especially the atmospheric central crime sequence that was surely a heavy inspiration on the whole Italian Giallo cycle, as well as the concise and nightmarishly infernal trial scene.

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