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Dial M for Murder

Dial M For Murder

(Alfred Hitchcock)

"People don't commit murder on credit."

My Hitchcock viewing has been very limited. This marks my fifth film from the master of suspense and it lands near the top. Very meticulous thriller that had me excited to see where it would go and I wonder why it took me so long watch this gem. Then again, I've yet to see a lot of Hitchcock so I'm wondering why it's taking me so long to see others.

Tony discovers that his wife is having an affair and plots to have the perfect murder done. When things don't go according to plan, he somehow manages to come up with a brilliant plan B.

Most of this film, much like Hitchcock's brilliant Rear Window takes place inside an apartment. Despite the lack of varied settings, this did not distract from any of the tension the film brilliantly builds upon. I had myself thinking numerous steps ahead trying to figure out how he could get away with such a thing, or how I would try and catch him. Things get a little convoluted once the issue of apartment keys come into play and I think it distracts from the actual film itself, but despite that, this film was a lot of fun.

Grace Kelly, beautiful as always, plays Margot, the intended victim. Most of her performance is reactionary but serviceable, the real stand out in my opinion is the quick witted Tony Wendice played by the suave Ray Milland. At times I found myself hoping he would get away with it, other times I wanted to see his brilliant plan fall apart. Hitchcock balances the tightrope pretty well here. Each obstacle that gets in Tony's way, he manages to side step. I kept wondering how or if he would eventually get caught.

I do have one issue though and it involves those damn keys. I'll wrap it in spoilers for those interested in seeing this film, but like me, have ignored it for so long.

WARNING: "Dial M For Murder" spoilers below
When the Inspector switches coats with Tony and takes the key to the apartment, simply doesn't make sense.

He has the key to the apartment and hides upstairs, leaving Tony with Swan's apartment key. When Tony leaves, he doesn't bother to lock his apartment door? This is my issue. We know, from numerous shots of the door on the inside that it doesn't automatically lock when people leave. Clearly Tony would have locked the door and when he did, it wouldn't have worked. Thus tipping him off on the switch. But he doesn't bother to lock the door. The detective proceeds to go to the door and unlock it? What? The door shouldn't be locked.

This would completely change the outcome of the ending. Tony trying to lock the door but not being able to would make him know that something was wrong, he wouldn't have gotten caught.

Second, why would Margot know about the key under the stairs? The Inspector is banking on her not knowing about it, but wouldn't she of just let Swan in anyway? She was home, why the need for her to put the key there. That aspect doesn't add up either. If someone has an explanation, I'm glad to hear it.

^^^ Those issues bring the film down a bit in my opinion. What was otherwise a sharp and well written suspense film becomes...well... a lesser well written suspense film. This film could have been a solid 5 popcorns....

I still highly enjoyed it and immediately put more Hitchcock up on my "To Watch List".