Dial M for Murder

 (3,113)
8.21 h 45 min1954X-RayPG
When American writer Mark Halliday visits the very married Margot Wendice in London, he unknowingly sets off a chain of blackmail and murder.
Directors
Alfred Hitchcock
Starring
Ray MillandGrace KellyRobert Cummings
Genres
Suspense
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
John WilliamsAnthony DawsonLeo BrittPatrick AllenGeorge LeighGeorge AldersonRobin Hughes
Producers
Alfred Hitchcock
Studio
WARNER HOME VIDEO
Rating
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

3113 global ratings

  1. 85% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Gary A. HughesReviewed in the United States on November 26, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
The One and Only
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One and only what? A 3D movie by Alfred Hitchcock, that's what.

The deliberate pacing of older movies is worth noting, a refreshing change from pitching to the ADHD of our current audiences. There's something very rich and satisfying in the color schemes of the early fifties, had this same impression for the 3D version of "Kiss Me Kate". Camera work was for the most part gorgeous, although the 3D makes it very evident that all the outdoor scenes were "process" shots, live action in front of a projected background.

A nice little movie, well crafted, and another chance to see and appreciate Grace Kelly. In this she plays the beleaguered victim of a murder plot, only to find herself accused of murder when she unexpectedly kills her attacker. The intensity is there, fairly low-key, but one needs a quiet room and full attention to keep track of the intricate plot twists as everything unwinds.

Nice to finally see this in 3D. While there's nothing spectacular the shots were planned to look their best within the added depth of the format.
A LadyReviewed in the United States on August 19, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Alfred Hitchcock's DIAL M FOR MURDER (2012 Blu-Ray 3D/2D Edition)
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Tony Wendice is a former tennis star who arranges the murder of his wealthy (and adulterous) wife Margot, only to discover that even the best laid plans can go awry...

This was just my second film by Alfred Hitchcock but I can definitely see why he became the legend that he is. I don't think the movie itself was perfect but it did capture and hold my attention from beginning to end. I wasn't quite sure who to really like in this film though as all three of the lead characters had huge personality flaws. And just like in "Rear Window" I found myself enjoying the scenes with a supporting character best of all. In this case that would be Chief Inspector Hubbard.

As a crime thriller goes this story hit all the right spots though. It was full of suspense and intrigue, and I was never once bored while watching it. Please keep in mind that the movie consists of only five recurring characters and the majority of it takes place almost entirely inside the living room/parlor of the Wendice residence. This seemed to work wonderfully however and I didn't even realize that fact until it ended. And while I do think the death scene was overly dramatic, the rest of the movie was great.

I viewed on older edition of this film, the 2012 blu-ray in 2D, since 3D always seems to give me a headache. Some of the scenes - mostly the outdoor ones - were a little fuzzy, but definitely not bad for a movie that is nearing seventy years old. I only wish there were more special features since this version only had a documentary and theatrical trailer.

Below are some facts and information that I compiled from the back of the case and/or gathered from other sources...

Release Year: 1954
Rating: PG - Parental Guidance
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Image: WarnerColor
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Main Cast: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams, Anthony Dawson
One person found this helpful
Rebekah RossReviewed in the United States on November 3, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
I LOVE THIS MOVIE
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This may be my favorite movie of all time! I can watch it over and over with becoming bored. The writing is so clever and always keep me interested. The actors couldn’t be any better and there is the perfect amount of suspense. Highly Recommend -5 Stars!
Joseph TorciviaReviewed in the United States on September 20, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dial "F" for Five Stars!
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Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954)

(Released: 2004 by Warner Home Video)
Another (Not so long, this time!) DVD Review by Joe Torcivia

"When the batteries are running dry, take a hit play and shoot it."

With his typical understatement, director Alfred Hitchcock describes his efforts on another masterpiece, "Dial M for Murder", adapted from a famous stage play by author Fredrick Knott.

In it, husband Ray Milland plots the murder of wife Grace Kelly - who is having an affair with American mystery writer Robert Cummings.

Milland meticulously plans his crime to the finest detail, only to find that the best laid plans of mice and Millands often go astray. No more, lest we venture into "Spoiler Territory".

Despite the "star power" of its leads, the film is stolen by John Williams as Chief Inspector Hubbard, who cracks the case almost in the manner of a "British Columbo". Williams, who made a career of playing "stuffy old Englishmen", was something of a regular on the ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS television program - appearing in 10 episodes of the show!

In an ironic casting twist, Williams went from trapping a "wife murderer", to planning such a murder himself in the HITCHCOCK PRESENTS episode "The Three Dreams of Mr. Findlater" (1957). There, it is WILLIAMS' character who works out every deadly detail and somewhat ineptly attempts to carry out his scheme - with the assistance and urging of an attractive "island girl" who is the product of his daydreams.

Given the involvement of John Williams, and the fact that it was produced a scant three years after "Dial M for Murder", I would strongly suspect that "The Three Dreams of Mr. Findlater" was in some way inspired by the film.

As is our custom in these reviews, we'll break it into CONS and PROS.

The CONS:

If there were a "CON" to list, it would have to be that the Extra Features are adequate, but not plentiful, given this is a famous film by a legendary director.

Most notably, there is NO COMMENTARY TRACK to accompany this film! Surely, there are film historians and Hitchcock scholars capable of providing such a track.

The PROS:

The Film: Story, cast, and direction are all first rate. Print quality seems fine for a film of its age.

Menu Navigation: Menus are attractive and easy to navigate, with the "added fun" of depicting the "cursor", used to select the various options, as a PAIR OF SCISSORS! Those familiar with the film cannot help but smile at this little touch.

Extra Features:

"Hitchcock and Dial M" (Runs 21:33).

A "making of" documentary, that nicely covers the film, given the lack of a true commentary track. Participants include: Peter Bogdonovich, M. Night Shyamalan, Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred's daughter), Robert Osborne, Nat Benchley, Richard Franklin, and Richard Schickel. Oddly, it is the relative "youngster" Shyamalan who makes the most interesting and enthusiastic comments of the group.

"3D: A Brief History" (Runs 7:06).

To compete with the emerging medium of television, the makers and distributors of theatrical features offered color, widescreen/Cinemascope... and for a brief time in the mid-fifties "Three Dimensional Films".

Unbeknownst to me until viewing this feature, "Dial M for Murder" WAS released as a 3D film!

Watching the film WITH this knowledge, it becomes very clear. "Dial M for Murder" is shot in an unusual way (...which I merely attributed to the directorial quirks of "Hitchcock being Hitchcock"), where certain objects and characters exist in the EXTREME FOREGROUND, in comparison with the rest of the frame.

This technique is particularly apparent in the "attempted murder of Grace Kelly" scene. Both Kelly's arm and the aforementioned "pair of scissors" are intentionally "thrown back" toward the audience to maximize the effect. Again, I thought this was just the director's flair. It must have been great fun to see that way!

At the 54:05 point of the film's length of 1:45:16, there occurs an INTERMISSION - punctuated with the on-screen image of a TITLE CARD simply saying "Intermission".

I naturally thought that this was in keeping with "Dial M for Murder's" origins as a STAGE PLAY. In fact, it was because the 3D effect required TWO PROJECTORS, playing two slightly different synched versions of the film - and that both projectors needed to be RELOADED at that point. (Commonly, half a film would play on one projector and the other half would play on a second projector - but this process required both projectors to be "in service" at the same time!)

The 3D fad as a whole, its specific application to "Dial M for Murder", and the public's boredom with, and abandonment of, the craze and its requisite 3D Glasses are examined all in the space of a scant seven-plus minutes.

Participants in this feature include: Film historian: Robert Osborne, and Filmmakers: Joe Alves (Director of "JAWS 3D"), Peter Bogdonovich, and Richard Franklin (Director of "Psycho II").

Theatrical Trailer for "Dial M for Murder"

Golden Age Hollywood Movie Trailers were a unique art form all their own, and Warner Bros. made some of the best! One reason why was the melodramatic "Voice of Warner Bros" Robert C. Bruce. Bruce carries some - but not all - of the load here.

Overall:

This is a great film with a good selection of Extra Features. It is recommended for Hitchcock, murder, and suspense fans, and enthusiasts of the mid-fifties period.
4 people found this helpful
JARELLANOReviewed in the United States on October 20, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent Movie
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A big fan of Hitchcock and from the divine Grace Kelly. I am biased on this one and I will say is a 10 stars movie. I do own the DVD with many special features but this one is sufficient to have a good evening and not having to insert the DVD. Highly recommended.
JesseReviewed in the United States on October 23, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Must See
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Fantastic, taught thriller that keeps your interest every minute.
Anthony ChiappetteReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars
Classic Hitchcock in 3D. 3D is very good, despite many other reviews
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I will not go into the details of the movie, as this has been done countless times already. I am only rating based on picture quality and 3D.

I was a little disappointed in the overall quality of the picture, but for a 60 year old film, I can live with the graininess and lack of sharpness. Overall, the picture quality was acceptable. Nowhere near today's standards, but again, this film is 60 years old.

I had never seen this film before, so was eagerly awaiting it's release, to see it in 3D. The story itself was gripping, in the usual Hitchcock fashion, and supenseful to the end. I was a bit surprised at the story line, as I was confusing this with one of my favorite Barbara Stanwyck films - "Sorry, Wrong Number". I was expecting the plot to be along the lines of that movie. However, the story line was quite enjoyable.

I don't know why so many people complained about ghosting in the 3D version of the film. I have two 3D TV's - a 32" Visio passive (polarized) LCD, and a 42" Panasonic Plasma Active Shutter TV.

I have to say that the film looked much better on the polarized screen. There was really not much ghosting at all, even in the beginning credits which were somewhat out of the screen. On the active shutter plasma, ghosting was much more evident, very much so during the opening credits, and at various points in the film, especially during dark scenes. While it was noticable, it certainly was not to the point of being annoying. But again, I repeat, this film looks much better on a polarized screen, whcih is the way it was originally shown.

As for 3D effect, it was simply brilliant. Those that complain about the film being rather flat do not know the correct usage of 3D. This film uses 3D in a very natural way.

Viewing in 3D is not about things always popping out of the screen. This is part of the effect of 3D, and sometimes used too much in some films. This is what gives 3D a bad rap in some people's opinion because they see it as gimmicky.

3D in the cinema should be used to display the image in a natural manner, where you are aware of the depth of the scene, and the relationship and distance between objects. In this respect, this film handles 3D very nicely. There were really no "gimmicky" popouts, with the exception of the opening credits, and those were comfortably viewed through my polarized TV (not so much with the active Plasma screen).

The only thing that bothered me at times were the outdoor scenes when the front of the building is shown with the street as a backdrop - the buidling and the characters in front of the building were in 3D, but the backdrop was flat. I can forgive this due to the age of the film and not having the advanced effects that are available today, but it did bother me somewhat.

I too also noticed a blue halo effect around the characters at some points, but it was not overly bothersome.

I did also notice the part near the end where the scene switched to 2D. At first I hadn't realized, but then it hit me that the scene was 2D. I don't know if this was intentional or just that that part of the film could nt be restored to 3D. But more than likely it was intentional as they surely would have mentioned this on the packaging if it was a defect of the transfer.

Overall, a very enjoyable film, one which I will watch many times again. I am thrilled that I have finally gotten to see this film in 3D.
52 people found this helpful
Mister FuriousReviewed in the United States on April 30, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
3D Was Amazing!
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A lot has already been said about the film, so I won't bother trying to add my opinion. Instead, I will only describe my experience with the 3D component of this special edition Blu-Ray.

Being new to the world of 3D TV, I struggled with what would be my first acquisition. It goes without saying that I wanted to get a film that had originated in 3D, instead of being back-converted. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the team at Warner Brothers had actually gone back and re-mastered Hitchcock's only 3D film, 1954's "Dial M for Murder" into the Blu-Ray 3D format.

I was intrigued until I started reading some of the reviews, some of which complained of ghosting and image quality. What finally did convince me was a single review that claimed that there were no issues at all with their Vizio TV with passive 3D glasses. Since this was my exact set-up, I took the plunge and bought it.

To say that I was amazed would be an understatement. I was actually fortunate enough to see this film in 3D in a theater about 20 years ago during a retrospective of the format, and although the 3D worked, the print had shown its age. Digital re-mastering has cleaned up a lot of the faded colors, and this version actually looks better than what I saw in that theater. I did notice what looked like a filter over the entire image that made it look grainy, and perhaps this was an attempt to mask inconsistencies in image grain across different scenes. This is borne out by the title sequence, which is so sharp that it looks like it was photographed yesterday. However, the colors and brightness overall are vivid and make for a beautiful visual experience (as does Grace Kelly, whether she's in two or three dimensions).

But I digress. One piece of advice I can give to anyone considering purchasing this Blu-Ray is to be aware that the film was shot during the early days of 3D, so the format had its limitations back then. The re-mastering team has done a fantastic job of restoring critical image registration, but they can't do anything about Hitchcock's penchant for using process shots for exteriors. Don't be surprised when you see an outdoor scene and the background looks flat, because it actually was projected onto a 2D screen behind the actors when it was originally shot. Finally, I strongly advise watching the film at night, with the lights turned out. Any ghosting that I saw was caused by background lighting reflecting off my TV screen. Turning out the lights fixed everything.

The only way this disc could make me happier is if the Warner Brothers team had also included "Lumber Jack Rabbit," the only 3D Merrie Melodies cartoon. Perhaps they are saving this for another release. "House of Wax", perhaps?
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