Dial M for Murder

Dial M for Murder ★★★★

Hitchcock decides to keep the theatrical aspect of this thriller by focusing the story only in the Wendice’s apartment, and it works perfectly.

All the important moments and what we need to see take place in the same place: murder, interrogations, confessions and revelations go nowhere and stay where the crime scene is.

Ray Milland is brilliant in his role as Tony, an intelligent and meticulous character, who pays attention to the smallest detail and knows how to keep his cool and adapt to any type of scenario. Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings deliver their performances with ease and do much more than is necessary in their acting, but the one that fascinated me the most is Chief Inspector Hubbard, played by John Williams. Hubbard could be the twin brother of Hercules Poirot, a policeman with a moustache, but who conversely plays a clumsy detective, when in reality he is a step forward of the criminal.

Frederick Knott, the screenwriter and the writer of the play, writes unparalleled dialogues. The very beginning of the film when Tony and Swann, the one who will participate in the murder, each give their personalities and their tendencies, is only a foretaste of the style of dialogue that will be delivered.

It is particularly subtle, with sometimes little touches of dark humour. Dimitri Tiomkin's music knows how to add tension to the scenes, but also knows how to stop when necessary.

A very successful aspect is the evolution of the lie. Tony is far from being a stupid man, but even the smartest of men can make a misstep, so when he sees that his proof of guilt is around the corner, he seizes opportunities that show up as soon as he can.

Finally, the idea of justice is the very motive of the film, on the one hand Tony, a man who plans the murder of his wife, but on the other Margot, a woman who cheats on her husband. Each guilt receives its judgment, but the consequences are not the same.

Tony Wendice: It's funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn't seen something that changed my mind.
C.A. Swann: Well? What did you see?
Tony Wendice: I saw you.

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