Movie House Memories

Dial M for Murder (1954)

Episode #130

Warner Bros released Dial M for Murder to theaters on May 29, 1954. Alfred Hitchcock directed the film which starred Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings.

‘Dial M for Murder’ Movie Summary

Opening with a kiss of husband and wife Tony and Margot Wendice around the breakfast table, Margot spots a story in the morning newspaper that her American friend Mark Haliday is arriving on the Queen Mary, something i believe she already knew as when he disembarks the luxury cruise liner we see him embracing Margot in her apartment.

Unbeknownst to Mark the scheming snake Tony knows of his adulterating wife through a letter he stole and kept from Mark to his wife. Margot is no longer in love with Tony and he plans to do something about it. Libertine Tony devises a plan starting with tricking a person to his house through interest in a used car sale that turns out to be someone he once knew, he has a picture framed on the wall to prove it.

An old college mate Charles Swann also goes by other names because of a sketchy history that is the real reason why two-faced Tony has lured him to the apartment, thus explains a whole elaborate murder scenario laying out a scheme for Swann to enter the house while Tony and Mark are out at a function so Swann will murder Margot in exchange for a cash sum that Swann desperately needs.

A plan for swine Tony to ring home as a indicator when to movie in on his prey goes awry as Tony’s watch stopped and Swann is going to leave until the phone rings late and the homicide becomes reversed when Margot fights back from stangalation to stab Swann in the back.

Tony listens with deplorable glee in down the line knowing Swann had access to a latch key to enter the apartment gracefully rather than an open window. However Swann falls onto the floor jamming the scissors into his spine resulting instantly in death and Margot gets on the phone to an alarmed corrupt Tony who needs to improvise.

Slimeball Tony arrives home pretending to be shocked but on the inside is sad his plan has not come off giving him opportunities to get caught especially after police are called and interest from Chief Inspector Hubbard begins to reveal cracks in despicable Tony’s story.

The inspector quizzes everyone in long beautiful monologues making scandalous Tony nervous, Margot tense and Mark frazzled as the immediate deductions are that Margot is guilty even though it was proclaimed as self defence with no evidence to prove it. Blackmail is mentioned coming back to the aforementioned stolen letter conveniently found on the dead man.

Convicted and sentenced to hang the story moves forward to the day before the event when Mark comes to see brute Tony for last minute stories which may save Margot extending on the lies that Mark is actually unaware that professional fabricator Tony has already told the authorities. Another visit by the Inspector while Mark is also there reveals an attache case full of money further complicating reasoning by the inspector thus helping his hatch his own scenario to secretly catch dirty rotten scoundrel Tony.

Swapping of trencoats, hidden and swapped latch keys and a hand bag are used to dupe Tony who leaves the apartment empty as Inspector Hubbert and his detective colleagues bring in Margot to be with Mark as the truth unfolds in front of them.

Creep Tony does exactly what the Inspector assumed revealing himself to be guilty as sin with no choice to give up while pouring himself a scotch offering a drink to and embracing and upset Margot and Mark as Inspector Hubbert reaches for the phone to call in case closed combing his immaculate moustache. The former professional Tennis player is caught game set and match.

 Fade to Black The End.

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Warner Bros released Dial M for Murder to theaters on June 19, 1987. Alfred Hitchcock directed the film which starred Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings.

User Rating: 2.83 ( 2 votes)
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  1. This just screened in 3D last night in LA. You have the wrong release date in the description. I recall Lori saying she picked shadow of a doubt, is that scheduled for this year?

    1. Did you go see it in 3D? It’s be interesting, but I am not sure if it’s add anything to the film other than her conviction scene…and I fixed the date. I always miss them.

      1. The 3D is pretty good, but really not necessary. It seems like they show it in 3D in LA every year. Jamaica Inn is an interesting choice, when is that podcast? I recall it being listed as one of his worst films in a Hitchcock book I read when I was a kid. Have you seen the doc Hitchcock/Truffaut? It’s a must see for any Hitchcock fan imo. Going back to 3D, I saw a great 3D noir called Inferno(stars Robert Ryan and Rhonda Fleming)at the film noir festival here a few years ago, you should check it out if you get the chance.

  2. I also agree with Matt. The first half is great, the second half suffers from the love triangle with the adulterer (Mark?). The story would work on its own without this secondary plot. Also, Patrick, agreed Grace Kelly is gorgeous. As an actress she makes a far better Princess, which she was and people still mourn her tragic death.

  3. Digressing, one of my favourite Hitchcock movies is Marnie. I just loved the story – however – in my opinion its ruined by Tippi Hedren (beautiful but not a good actress). That said I understand the controversy surrounding particular scenes after Sean Connery marries her and when they’re on their honeymoon. Another discussion to be had about mores from prior decades…..

  4. A fun fact – the scene when the husband calls Margo from his club – Hitch uses an outsized phone and fake finger when dialing home. It was included as part of the 3D effect. Watch again and it’s so obvious.

  5. When will be the next Hitchcock podcast? I think notorious and shadow of a doubt are ripe with symbolism, would be great to see your take on them.

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