In London, wealthy Margot Mary Wendice had a brief love affair with the American writer Mark Halliday while her husband and professional tennis player Tony Wendice was on a tennis tour. Tony quits playing to dedicate to his wife and finds a regular job. She decides to give him a second chance for their marriage. When Mark arrives from America to visit the couple, Margot tells him that she had destroyed all his letters but one that was stolen. Subsequently she was blackmailed, but she had never retrieved the stolen letter. Tony arrives home, claims that he needs to work and asks Margot to go with Mark to the theater. Meanwhile Tony calls Captain Lesgate (aka Charles Alexander Swann who studied with him at college) and blackmails him to murder his wife, so that he can inherit her fortune. But there is no perfect crime, and things do not work as planned. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
At their first meeting, the untrustworthy Captain Swann is wearing a tie the colors of a Guards regimental tie. However this is not a genuine tie, as the diagonal stripes run in the American direction, opposite to British style. This is a contemporary detail, used by spivs.* The tie resembles the trustworthy Guards tie well enough to fool most, but gives an excuse if a genuine Guardsman queries one's service record. (*"Spiv" is a Britishism for "a man who lives by his wits without regular employment" [Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition].) See more »
For the homicide charge on Margot, the investigators never consider how a shorter stature Margot was able to overpower a 6' 2" tall, well built man, Swann, to stab him in the back with a peculiar hand motion directed towards the back of his feet, which could not have been achieved by simply sneaking up on him behind his back and stabbing him. See more »
Surprisingly this is a lesser-known Hitchcock film but still stands up today as an exciting thriller full of twists and turns.
Ray Milland is excellent as ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice who decides to commit the perfect murder of his wife (Grace Kelly) when he learns of her affair with Robert Cummings (who isn't given much to do). In fact, Milland's subtle performance has you wanting the murder plot to work! Though it has to be said, Kelly's helpless female turn does not help in this regard either.
Hitchcock's skill here is to totally involve the viewer in the labyrinthine plot involving keys, telephone calls and stockings so that at the end of the film you haven't even noticed that virtually all the scenes are in one room.
If you like clever, wordy films with a touch of humour then I recommend `Dial M For Murder'. 8/10
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