Dial M for Murder Reviews
I'm pretty sure I already saw this one but it was really a long time ago so it was really time for a re-watch. And, once again, it was just another great flick by Alfred Hitchcock. What I love about his thrillers is that they are smart and totally make sense. I mean, when the protagonists go further with their actions, take some crucial decisions, you understand why and it makes the whole thing much more compelling to watch. In modern thrillers, they make up the most preposterous plots with some random twists to 'surprise' you but, most of the time, I feel rather bored by those, especially after watching Hitchcock's work. I mean, the directing here is pretty much flawless and the writing is just excellent with some 3 main characters who are not really bad but not really good either but all completely spellbinding to watch. The most amazing thing is that it is actually a rather simple story which takes place mostly in one building (it was a play adaptation, that's probably why). Nowadays, they try to make it all complicated but it ends up being rather preposterous and sometimes even stupid. To conclude, it is a great thriller and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Hitchcok's work.
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Dial M for Murder is a fantastically claustrophobic Hitchcock film. It is aided by taunt suspense and, quite easily, the best performance that Hitchcock managed to bring out of Grace Kelly in the three films that they made together. I actually believe that this might just be her best performance, period. (High Society is a very close runner-up, if not the top.) This has widely been considered a second-rate Hitchcockian thriller, but it’s always been one of my favorites.
Grace Kelly, a movie-star supreme, is impossibly gorgeous and stylish. Her ice-queen exterior conceals something that resembles warmth and sexual heat. She was always the best of the Hitchcock blondes. Kelly, while a great movie star and glamour icon, outside of light-comedies and Hitchcock films was a wooden and limited actress, but here she shines and illuminates the screen. And during the final sequences appears deglammed and gives one hell of a performance. I realize that I have just devoted an entire paragraph to Grace Kelly and her luminous image, but Dial M for Murder’s success rests upon her delicate WASP-y frame. If her essay of the character had failed, so would the film.
Dial M for Murder tells the story of a love triangle, a murder-for-hire, a wrongly convicted innocent and the trials of setting them free and proving their innocence. Ray Milland, so superbly wonderful and empathetic in The Lost Weekend, is a two-faced man composed entirely of toxicity and oil. I’m surprised his character doesn’t leave behind a slime trail. He is deliciously evil in the part. Robert Cummings is unfortunately given little to do but play the American mystery novelist with whom Kelly is having an affair. He does the best with what he is given, but he doesn’t ooze malice like Milland or suffer as chicly as Kelly does. John Williams, however, excels as the Scotland Yard inspector assigned to figure it all out. The interplay between Williams and Milland is a splendid treat. Milland always thinks he’s three steps ahead, and Williams lets him while being an entire floor above him and patiently waiting for his traps to fall into place.
This is an effective, tense and highly claustrophobic thriller. Much like in Rope, the action takes place in one apartment. Very little of the outside world is explored or expanded upon. The scene where Grace Kelly gets attacked alone is enough for me to recommend it highly. Throw in some great performances, and maybe you’ll agree with me that this is more than second-rate Hitchcock.
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