Friday, October 15, 2010

Thrillers and Chillers: Dial M for Murder (1954).

Dial M for Murder(1954). Is based on a successful stage play and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings . The supporting cast includes: John Williams and Anthony Dawson .

Having seen the play on Broadway, Cary Grant really wanted to play the role of Tony Wendice, but studio chiefs did not feel the public would accept him as a man who arranges to have his wife murdered.

The story begins when, Tony Wendice a professional tennis player, now retired lives in a London with his wealthy wife, Margot. Who is having an affair with crime-fiction writer, Mark Halliday. Needing money, Tony comes up with what he thinks is the perfect plan to have Margot murdered.

When Mark shows up at the apartment, Margot introduces her "old friend" to Tony. After sending them off to see a play, Tony makes an excuse to stay behind so he can meet with, Swann.

Tony has been following Swann, one of his old college friends and has learned that he has become a small time crook. He uses the information to blackmail him into committing the murder. Tony shows Swann a love letter from Mark to his wife. After tricking Swann into leaving his fingerprints on the letter, Tony offers to pay him £1,000 to kill Margot. If he refuses, Tony will turn him in to the police for trying to blackmail his wife.

After Swann agrees, Tony tells him his plan: First, He will take Mark for the evening, leaving Margot alone at home. Next, he tells him where he will hide her key. Then Swann, is to sneak into the apartment after Margot goes to bed and hide behind the curtains and wait for Tony to telephone. That will be the signal for the plan to go into motion. Swann is to kill her and leave signs of a failed burglary, then exit through the front door, again hiding the key under the staircase carpet. Will Swann complete their perfect plan for murder?

Dial M for Murder, is one of my favorite films. It is a wonderfully fast paced film. The ending, is very entertaining.

After the success of Mogambo, Kelly starred in a TV play The Way of an Eagle, before being cast in the film, Dial M for Murder. Alfred Hitchcock was the director of the film and would become Kelly's mentor. Dial M for Murder, opened in theaters in May 1954, to both positive reviews and box-office triumph.


  1. I do believe Grace was the best actress to work in his films and Dial M is one of their best.

  2. As he did so often, Hitchcock toys with his audience's point of view in this film. Of course, we don't want Grace Kelly to be murdered by Swann and we don't want her to be executed for his "murder"...but there is that moment near the end when we find ourselves hoping Milland won't fall into the trap and give himself away. This isn't one of my Hitchcock favorites, it's so clearly derived from a stage play, but the cat-and-mouse game is entertaining, Milland is good as the charming but cold-blooded schemer (though I'd love to have seen Cary Grant in the role) and Grace Kelly is, as always, gorgeous. And it's Hitchcock...

  3. Eve, Even though Grace Kelly's character, was playing with fire, by having an affair. I never warmed up to Millands character. I always thought he wanted her murdered for her money, not because he was heartbroken and wanted revenge. At the end... I was hoping Milland, the evil blackmailer, would fall into the trap and give himself away. I also would have loved to have seen Cary Grant play in the role. Because, he wanted very much to do it.. He would have been great.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.