Dial M for Murder

Dial M for Murder ★★★★½

“People don't commit murder on credit.”

They call him the Master of Suspense for a reason. Even if Hitchcock himself isn’t the biggest fan of this movie, that doesn’t make two of us. And even if this is somewhat considered a tier below “prime-Hitch,” that’s just a testament to the strength of the rest of his work because most suspense/thriller filmmakers would kill (*ba dum tss*) to have a film as strong as this in their filmography. 

Not worth talking about the story, because that’s best a mystery, of course. And don’t even read the Letterboxd summary (I’ve been trying to avoid those for most movies — they give too much away). 

It’s less a murder-mystery, and more of a “can they actually get away with this?” type of film. The set-up of the murder itself is ingenious and definitely the film’s best part. I love how they shot the planning of the murder. A slight birds-eye view. Sometimes you can use the expression fly-on-the-wall, but considering the primarily one-room setting for this film, I felt the world close in just a little bit around me during the film’s most tense situations. I was cheekily grinning throughout because I was just really taken by the smoothness of it all. Wonderfully claustrophobic if that makes any sense.

Personally, I really thought the performances were stellar from this small ensemble. I’ve completed the Grace Kelly / Hitchcock trilogy, and boy, do I wish there were more (I can always watch Rear Window again at some point this year for my favorite performance from her). She’s radiant. I also thought Ray Milland was great as the ex-tennis player lead, and that John Williams as Hubbard was a major scene-stealer; both Williams and Anthony Dawson, who played Swann, reprised their roles from the original Broadway play (which Williams won the Tony for). I’m glad they did the film adaptation, both of them were brilliant. 

It works, it really does. Not much more I have to say. If you don’t know much about this film, keep it that way!

“…because in stories, things usually turn out the way the author wants them to. And in real life they don't... always.”

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