|A midnight phone call to Grace Kelly is the signal for murder |
in this classic Hitchcock thriller.
Hitchcock based most of his work off plays, novels, or short stories, and this gem from 1955 is no exception.
Almost all the action in Dial M for Murder takes place in a single set, the apartment of a supposedly happily married couple in Mayfair, London. It's soon revealed, however, that not so long ago the wife (Grace Kelly) was seriously contemplating leaving her husband (Ray Milland) because she was in love with someone else (Robert Cummings). When we meet her husband, we suddenly understand why she would want to leave him, especially when it comes out that he is plotting to murder her for her money. He thinks up the perfect scheme for murder, but you know what the poet Burns said about the "best laid plans of mice and men"...
The man he hires to do the dirty work ends up getting killed himself in the scuffle with the wife. Seemingly never at a loss, the husband then tries to frame her for the hit-man's murder--and does an excellent job. She's a day before the scheduled execution when the detective starts to have second thoughts.
Although the acting is excellent, this movie is really carried by the plot. Ray Milland's character devises such an airtight plot to kill his wife that it holds the audience spellbound as they watch it unfold. Then they naturally watch to see if she can avoid the unjust execution. The Master of Suspense is at the top of his game in this oft-overlooked film.
I rate this movie an 8 out of 10. A solid Hitchcock hit.
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Dial M for Murder