Starring: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Running Time: 105 mins
Dial M For Murder is an American film about a man who, after having his plot to murder his wife fail, devises an ingenious backup solution, however he must hide himself against a thorough investigation from the police to see his plan through to success.
It’s not a typically fast-paced and hugely suspenseful thriller as you would expect from Hitchcock, however it takes elements of his trademark style and classic Agatha Christie-esque mysteries to make a hugely intriguing and sinister story.
And the most sinister part of the whole thing is the main character, Tony Whendice. Even the thought of trying to kill your spouse is evil enough, but the frighteningly slick and convoluted way in which he executes his evil plans is the worst part of all.
Although you know that, from the beginning, Whendice is plotting to murder his wife, the development of his character into the main villain is particularly interesting, as at the start, you don’t have that fear or hatred for him that you would expect from a man attempting murder.
However, as the film goes on, and more secrets are revealed about why he’s doing this, and especially how he’s doing this, he becomes a real villain. Ray Milland’s performance even changes dramatically throughout, from being a sort of generic businessman to a silent but deadly mastermind, from whom you genuinely shy away with fear at the sight of him.
Away from the main character, there are so many more brilliant elements to this film. Hitchcock’s classic direction is as fantastic as usual, while the supporting performances bring a great weight and convincing nature to the whole story, meaning you get drawn into the plot all the more quickly.
If there’s one thing that I could say about this film is that the first part involves too much detailed plotting. It is important, but the talking is a little dreary and takes away some of the fear and suspense from the whole thing, but despite that, this film is still hugely intriguing and exciting, so that’s why it gets an 8.1.