dial m for murder poster
(Image via Get the Chance)

The favorite film:
Dial M for Murder, a 1954 domestic thriller by Alfred Hitchcock

The synopsis:
When Tony Wendice’s plan to have his wife killed goes awry, he decides to instead get rid of her by having her locked up for murder.

The cast:
Ray Milland as Tony Wendice
Grace Kelly as Margot Wendice
Robert Cummings as Mark Halliday
John Williams as Inspector Hubbard
Anthony Dawson as Captain Lesgate (aka C. A. Swann)

Fun facts:

  • Based on a play by Frederick Knott, who also wrote the screenplay
  • Hitchcock’s cameo in this film is in the “class reunion” photo.
  • This was the first of three films Hitchcock made with Grace Kelly.
  • John Williams not only appeared in the stage version of this story, but won a Tony Award for his role!
  • Bosley Crowther of The New York Times gave the film a positive review. He particularly liked John Williams’ performance and said that Hitch had achieved “a technical triumph.”
  • This film was remade for TV in 1981 and remade as A Perfect Murder in 1998. Angie Dickinson and Christopher Plummer starred in the TV adaptation.
  • Dial M for Murder was filmed in 3D, but was only released in 3D for a few days before being replaced with “flat” screenings.
dial m for murder still 1
(Image via Mental Floss)

Favorite things:

  • The simple-but-brilliant opening credits, showing the letter “M” on a rotary phone
  • Grace Kelly’s stunning wardrobe
  • Salacious letters and sneaky affairs!
  • Tony’s calm and calculated explanation of how he contemplated killing his wife
  • Tony describing his stalker-ish behavior as a fascinating hobby
  • The murder-plot negotiation scene between Tony and Swann is so classically Hitch. The matter-of-fact tone, the wordy explanations.
  • Those slanted shots of Swann inside of the apartment at the planned time of the murder (hiding in the curtains!)
  • Margot defending herself with craft scissors! Go, girl!
  • Everything about John Williams as the inspector
dial m for murder still 2
(Image via The Hitchcock Zone)
  • Poor Margot, being spun into a web of suspicion and becoming terribly confused
  • That scene of Margot being found guilty, with its gorgeous colors
  • Mystery writer Mark cracking the case with ease — but by accident! (In the process of trying to craft a defense/convince Tony to take the fall)
  • “Thousands of husbands and wives leave money to each other without murdering each other!”
  • “People don’t commit murder on credit.”
  • “They talk about flat-footed policement. May the saints protect us from the gifted amateur!”
  • “What’s the matter with me, Mark? I don’t seem able to feel anything.”
  • Tony’s face when he realizes he’s been found out