MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 1,096 this week

Dial M for Murder (1954)

 -  Crime | Thriller  -  29 May 1954 (USA)
8.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 77,895 users  
Reviews: 230 user | 111 critic

An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (adapted from his play)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 28 titles
created 10 Feb 2012
 
a list of 32 titles
created 02 Apr 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 40 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 36 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Dial M for Murder (1954)

Dial M for Murder (1954) on IMDb 8.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Dial M for Murder.

User Polls

Top 250 #165 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Murder! (1930)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A juror in a murder trial, after voting to convict, has second thoughts and begins to investigate on his own before the execution.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Herbert Marshall, Norah Baring, Phyllis Konstam
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After a simple jewelery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A murder is committed on a Nile steamer, but Hercule Poirot is on board...

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Peter Ustinov, Mia Farrow, Simon MacCorkindale
Blue Velvet (1986)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of criminals who have kidnapped her child.

Director: David Lynch
Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Peter Ustinov, James Mason, Maggie Smith
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A story between a mole in the police department and an undercover cop. Their objectives are the same: to find out who is the mole, and who is the cop.

Directors: Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak
Stars: Andy Lau, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
Copycat (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An agoraphobic psychologist and a female detective must work together to take down a serial killer who copies serial killers from the past.

Director: Jon Amiel
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Dermot Mulroney
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name.

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Parisian murder detective commissioner Pierre Niemans is called to Gueron, a self-sufficient, prestigious university in a mountain valley, to investigate the murder on 32-year old professor... See full summary »

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Stars: Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Nadia Farès
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Leo Britt ...
Patrick Allen ...
George Leigh ...
George Alderson ...
First Detective
Robin Hughes ...
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | blackmail | writer | evidence | letter | See more »

Taglines:

It Holds You Spellbound with Suspense! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 May 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,562 (USA) (9 April 1999)

Gross:

$12,562 (USA) (9 April 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A very liberal remake of Dial M for Murder was released in 1998 titled A Perfect Murder (1998) See more »

Goofs

The inspector makes a phone call from the flat, supposedly in London. We hear a clearly American-accented voice on the other end say "operator". It should have been an English voice, saying (in the 1950s), "Number, please." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Margot Mary Wendice: let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.
Mark Halliday: Yes, I've been waiting for that.
Margot Mary Wendice: I haven't told him anything about us.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title is shown on a background of a British telephone dial; its MN/6 marking is replaced by a single large M which forms the single M of the title. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Lace (1960) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The perfect film for the perfect murder...
21 February 2007 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

After earning an Academy award nomination for her performance in John Ford's 1953 tale of romance and adventure, "Mogambo", the beautiful actress Grace Kelly proved that she was way more than just a pretty face and that there was real talent behind her image. However, what truly took her career to new levels were three now classic films she made directed by the legendary Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Under his direction, Kelly made an integral part of the Master's films, becoming the perfect embodiment of Hitchcock's idea of a female protagonist. While Kelly debuted two years earlier in the classic Western "High Noon", one could say that it was Hitchcock who really introduced the beauty and talent of Grace Kelly to the world. "Dial M for Murder" was the first of Hitchcock's films with Kelly, and a movie where once again the Master returns to a familiar theme: the perfect murder.

The movie is the story of Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), a former tennis player married to the beautiful and wealthy Margot (Grace Kelly) and living in an nice apartment in London. Life is good for Tony, until he discovers that his wife is cheating on him with an old flame of her, famous crime novel writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). After that discovery, Tony spends a whole years plotting the perfect way to murder his wife in order to inherit her money, carefully planning every detail of the crime. When Mark visits London again, Tony finds the perfect chance to set his plan in motion, and as planned, he recruits Charles Swann (Anthony Dawson) to kill his wife. However, bad luck and a sudden change of events will test Tony's plan's infallibility as, just as Mark points out, human action can originate flaws even in the most perfectly devised plan.

Like most Hitchcock's films, "Dial M for Murder" was an adaptation of another art-form, this time a popular play by Frederick Knott. As Knott was also the writer of the screenplay, the movie remains extremely faithful to the play, although of course, not without its differences. Knott's script is wonderfully constructed, as like in the play, the dialog is witty and simply captivating, with many twists and turns that spiced up the complex plot and keep it from being boring or tiresome. An interesting feature of the movie is that oddly, there are no black and white morality in the characters, and it's easy not only to sympathize with Margot (despite she being cheating on her husband) but also to sympathize with Tony (despite he wanting to kill his wife), as the characters are wonderfully developed with very detailed personalities.

It seems that Hitchcock's knows that the dialog is the highlight of the play, as he deliberately focuses on his actors and uses an elegant camera-work to frame the whole movie inside the apartment. The movie literally is shot entirely in one single room (only two other sets are used, and only briefly), but Hitchcock's classy way of using the camera allow a highly dynamic flow that never lets the movie be tiresome. This is also very helpful as Hitchcock just lets his characters keep speaking, carefully describing actions and events (when other directors would use flashbacks) in a similar way to a what the real play would be. While this approach could easily get boring, Hitchcock's use of colors and overall visual imagery simply creates the perfect medium to allow Knott's dialog to shine.

Without disrespecting John Ford or Fred Zinnemann, I think that it was Hitchcock who finally could allow Kelly's talent to shine beyond her physical beauty. Grace Kelly makes her character shine with her subtle and restrained performance, specially showing her skill in the second half of the film. While often Kelly receives top honors in this movie, it is actually Ray Milland who makes the whole movie work with his suave and charming "villian". Milland's performance is simply terrific, making his character nice enough to win the sympathies of the audience, yet still frighteningly intelligent as the mastermind of the plot. John Williams appears as the Inspector in charge to solve the complex puzzle, and delivers a classic performance as the Enlgish gentleman decided to find the final answer. Only Robert Cummings seems miscast as Mark Halliday, although a lot of his weak performance could be blamed to Milland, Kelly and Williams overshadowing him with their excellent work.

In many ways, "Dial M for Murder" shares many things with "Rope", as not only the two films are based on successful plays, they are also about committing the perfect murder and oddly, they are both "experiments": while "Rope" was conceived as a "movie in one take", "Dial M for Murder" was done as 3-D movie. Sadly, the interest in 3-D was dying when the film was released, so few theaters carried the movie complete with the gimmick; a real shame, as Hitchcock's use of the technology, unlike most 3-D films of its time, was conceived as a way to enhance the claustrophobia of the Wendices' apartment instead of using it to merely shock the audience with "stuff coming out of the screen" (as seen in for example, "House of Wax"). While not too fond of the gimmick, Hitchcock truly gave it a good and intelligent (albeit subtle) use to it.

"Dial M for Murder" is probably less celebrated than the Master's most famous movies, the fact that it came out the same years as "Rear Window" (again with Grace Kelly) may have had something to do with it too. While a subtler and more restrained tale of suspense, this is still the Master at his best, as the movie proves that when he was at the top of his game, no other director was comparable to him. 9/10


58 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I swear I saw this movie in B+W hlippman
Movies About Committing the 'Perfect Crime' JosephASpadaro
Am I the only one... jmobleyj
Why didn't Tony have another key cut? themgt1
Does anybody feel his mind is not adequate for this movie? patrick8828
To me... great film that tv show took. PMAN
Discuss Dial M for Murder (1954) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?