Sunday, October 15, 2006

Precision is the Key.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, frequents top lists more than any other. But his other 1954 outing with Grace Kelly, Dial M For Murder, sadly gets shunted into the sidelines. Today, as part of
Squish’s Hitchcock blogathon, I will be looking and one of my favourite films from the master of suspense, with a puzzle at the end for those who've seen the film. :)

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), an ex-tennis player, unhappily married to Margot (Grace Kelly), correctly guesses that she has been cheating, with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). Mark writes crime stories. Unbeknown to Margot and Mark, Tony knows about the affair, and wants to teach Margot a little lesson, by taking away the thing that is her life. But, being too guileful to do it himself, Wendice blackmails one of his old school friends into murdering her, and the essential thing to doing it is his latchkey.

Dial M for Murder succeeds on many levels, and it is largely thanks to some superb dialogue, written from a tricksy-yet-capable script that never gets too deep. The cast are a treat. Ray Milland is an absolute gem, extremely sly and dispassionate, yet a character so full of self-assurance that one almost sides with him. Grace Kelly completes her great year (she gave an Oscar-winning performance in The Country Girl and also starred in Rear Window) by emanating the poised, beautiful being, that is vulnerable, yet oddly unassailable. And it's weird in that even though she's cheating on her husband, you care for her a lot more than him (although that could do with the fact that he's trying to kill her...) And John Williams, as the police detective, is quite wonderful.

Alfred Hitchcock manipulates and enthrals his audience here like the master that he is. Each scene has a sense of direction, great pacing, and is staged realistically. Stunning full colour photography and a haunting, atmospheric score from Dimitri Tiomkin complete this great package. The ending, when it comes, feels a little too nice to be truly realistic, but that is my only major quibble with an otherwise highly entertaining, thrilling movie.

Some stills from the movie, your job to arrange in chronological order.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent review!

Emma said...

No it isn't.

Besty said...

I can see your Spanish dictionary in one of those photos you've just posted

Emma said...

Yep. Orange.

Anonymous said...

Crap overview

Emma said...

It wasn't really meant to be an overview, but OK...

Squish said...

Super Awesome! Yours is the first blog for the thon! I gather you read October 15th and not November 15th. No worries It'll be there in November and I'll reference you in my next Hitch' post!

Juliette said...

Hi, great review and one of my fav Hitchcock movies - the other has to be "Marnie". Looking forward to seeing Anthony Hopkins play Hitchcock in the new movie with Helen Mirren. Nice blog.

Juliette said...

Have just watched this movie again (I now have boxed set of Hitchcock). You notice so much more the second viewing, how Hitchcock really filmed the movie like a theatre set, and all the curtain twitching. I'm sure Hitch had a thing about curtains!

Anthony Hopkins

Sara said...

Interesting - I have not seen any Hitchcock movies, so will look out for Rear Window.


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Joanne said...

Classic- love this great review!



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need help with my homework said...

How many times have re-read it all and always find something new and useful for yourself!! That's why I love your articles

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