Sunday Feature-Week 25: Dial M for Murder (1954)

Title: Dial M for Murder

Tone:Hitchcock’s suspenseful murder-mystery gold…in 3-D!

Who:

Director-Alfred Hitchcock

Cast- Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, Robert Cummings

When: 1954

What: A retired tennis-pro discovers that his wife is having an affair and plans the perfect murder, only to have it go awry.

Why:

  • In the 1950’s television was perceived as a threat to cinema, the logic being that people wouldn’t pay to see a movie if they could be entertained in the comfort of their living room. Therefore, Hollywood retaliated by creating cinema-only experiences such as Cinerama (basically super-widescreen movies) and 3-D films. Cut ahead a few years and we find ourselves in the same predicament, except this time film piracy, online streaming, and home theaters are the perceived threat and almost every film is being released in IMAX and 3-D. This week we profile one of the odder 3-D films of the 50’s, Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder.
  • Adapted from the successful stage play Dial M for Murder, written by Frederick Knott who also wrote Wait Until Dark, this is one of Hitchcock’s finest written films. One of the more unique aspects of the story is that although the main character is the antagonist with no real redeeming qualities, you find yourself siding with him, caught up in the suspense of whether his murder-plot will succeed and if he’ll be found out.
  • This is Hitchcock’s only 3-D film and with good reason. Hitchcock is noted as being the master of suspense and pioneering many of the cinematic techniques used in modern suspense films. He is not, however, noted for being a master of 3-D cinema. It’s fun to watch Dial M for Murder because it’s essentially a classic Hitchcock thriller wherein things sporadically jump out at the camera. However, Grace Kelly’s hand reaching out toward the audience while being strangled must’ve had a pretty good punch.
  • I’m a sucker for Hitchcock trailers and the trailer for Dial M for Murder doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy!

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~ by cinematte on June 20, 2010.

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