Dial M for Murder (1954)

Rated NR 105 minutes 1999

Quintessential cool blonde (and Hitchcock favorite) Grace Kelly stars as a society woman around whom jealous husband Ray Milland arranges the perfect murder. But thanks to a well-placed pair of scissors, the tables are turned and Milland's carefully-laid plans begin to disintegrate. Hitchcock used a rapid 36-day shooting schedule, and was dismissive of 3-D itself ("A nine-day wonder, and I came in on the ninth day"). He refused to open out the hit play by Frederick Knott (author of another masterpiece of unknown terror, Wait Until Dark), confining the action ­ except the determinedly unrealistic trial scene ­ to one set, and setting his cameras in a pit to get low-angle shots designed to emphasize depth and giving the film a theatricality and claustrophobia à la Rope and Rear Window, only on this stage the proscenium doesn't end at the screen, it extends into the audience. 3-D is most effectively used in the murder sequence, which takes on new and greater significance as the viewer is placed in the midst of the struggle: a voyeuristic accomplice to murder as only Hitchcock could have planned.

Film Credits

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Frederick Knott

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings and John Williams

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