Dial M for Murder (1954)

Dial M for Murder (1954)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings

Dial M for Murder is pretty much THE classic parlor mystery, and Hitchcock’s version is simple and effective. It still very much has the feeling of a stage play, from which it was adapted, but it’s more because of the lack of locations than the “theater”-like dialogue these things usually have. I don’t know if I’m explaining that well, but eh.

A husband hatches a plan to kill his wife, who has been cheating on him with a writer of detective stories. The plan backfires, and the wife manages to kill her attacker instead. The husband spends the rest of the film trying to keep himself from being blamed for any part of the attempt, but the inspector finally catches him, with some help from the novelist.

I love a well-constructed mystery story, especially when it’s just normal people using their wits against each other, waiting to see who makes the first mistake. Since that’s exactly what this movie is, of course I like it. Putting Hitchcock’s name on it certainly doesn’t hurt anything, either. Dial M for Murder doesn’t really have as much of his signature style to it as many of his other famous films (like Rear Window, which came out later the same year), but the guy really knows how to present a mystery interestingly.

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