Saturday, May 7, 2022

REVIEW: Alfred Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder" (live action movie)

Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder is a crime thriller based on a play written by Frederick Knott. I checked it out from the library.


Margot Wendice is married to Tony Wendice, a retired English tennis player, and has been having an affair with Mark Halliday, an American crime fiction writer. Neither Margot nor Mark realizes that Tony knows about their affair, and Tony has now set in motion plans to murder Margot for her fortune.

It should be the perfect murder: Tony plans to use Mark himself as his alibi and has blackmailed a former acquaintance of his into agreeing to be Margot's murderer. Things don't go quite as planned, but Tony's a quick thinker and figures out a way to take Margot down regardless. Or so he thinks...

I've seen very little of Alfred Hitchcock's work, that I can recall. Basically just The Lady Vanishes, one older silent work, and this, so it's not really a huge deal for me to say that this wasn't the best Hitchcock film I've ever watched.

The interactions between Margot, Tony, and Mark were weird and has me wondering if Mark actually though Tony might calmly agree to share Margot if he were told about her affair with Mark. While I was interested in seeing how things would turn out, and the very clever police detective delighted me, this didn't really wow me.

I do think that the extras helped me appreciate it more, though. There were two short featurettes, "Hitchcock and Dial M" and "3D: A Brief History." The first one involved interviews with a few people (M. Night Shyamalan and a few additional people - maybe the director of Psycho II and Hitchcock's daughter?) about some "making of" aspects of the movie, Hitchcock's work, and the things that made Dial M for Murder good. 

I didn't know, while watching the movie, that it was filmed to work in 3D, so the featurette talking about 3D movies and some of the things Hitchcock did to make the movie work both as a movie and as a 3D movie was fascinating. It reminded me of when 3D movies were popular a decade or so ago and you'd watch them on a regular screen later and notice the very obvious moments meant to work best in 3D. I don't recall there being a single moment that stood out that way to me in Dial M for Murder, although the moments designed for 3D were obvious when the featurette pointed them out. It was impressive to see how Hitchcock managed that without making it weird and awkward.

One of these days I need to see more of Hitchcock's movies. I don't know that they'll be as impressive to me as they would have been to audiences at the time, but maybe if I can find DVDs with decent extras like the ones included here, I can manage to achieve at least a little of that appreciation.


A theatrical trailer and two featurettes.

No comments:

Post a Comment