IMDb > Dial M for Murder (1954)
Dial M for Murder
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Dial M for Murder (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   81,393 votes »
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Down 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Frederick Knott (screen play)
Frederick Knott (adapted from his play)
Contact:
View company contact information for Dial M for Murder on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 May 1954 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Kiss By Kiss...Supreme Suspense Unfurls! See more »
Plot:
An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(239 articles)
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 (From Hope for Film. 6 October 2014, 5:15 AM, PDT)

Hitchcock Dials it up
 (From Cineplex. 10 September 2014, 8:00 AM, PDT)

Video of the Day: See Every Alfred Hitchcock Cameo
 (From SoundOnSight. 21 August 2014, 10:01 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The perfect film for the perfect murder... See more (234 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ray Milland ... Tony Wendice

Grace Kelly ... Margot Mary Wendice

Robert Cummings ... Mark Halliday

John Williams ... Chief Inspector Hubbard

Anthony Dawson ... Captain Lesgate (Swann)
Leo Britt ... The Storyteller
Patrick Allen ... Detective Pearson
George Leigh ... Detective Williams
George Alderson ... First Detective
Robin Hughes ... Police Sergeant O'Brien
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Bender ... Banquet Member (uncredited)
Sanders Clark ... Detective (uncredited)
Jack Cunningham ... Bobby (uncredited)
Robert Dobson ... Police Photographer (uncredited)

Guy Doleman ... Detective (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Woman Departing Ship (uncredited)
Robert Garvin ... Banquet Member (uncredited)
Michael Hadlow ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Man in Phone Booth (uncredited)

Alfred Hitchcock ... Man at Tony's Table at the Dinner in Photograph (uncredited)
Harold Miller ... Men's Club Party Member (uncredited)

Martin Milner ... Policeman Outside Wendice Flat (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Judge at Margot's Trial (uncredited)
Ben Pollock ... Banquet Member (uncredited)
Thayer Roberts ... Detective (uncredited)

Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock 
 
Writing credits
Frederick Knott (screen play)

Frederick Knott (adapted from his play)

Produced by
Alfred Hitchcock .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin 
 
Cinematography by
Robert Burks (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Rudi Fehr (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Edward Carrere 
 
Set Decoration by
George James Hopkins 
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup artist
Otis Malcolm .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Gertrude Wheeler .... hairdresser (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mel Dellar .... assistant director
C. Carter Gibson .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Herbert Plews .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Oliver S. Garretson .... sound
Stanley Martin .... sound (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... sound (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Leon Albert .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Wesley Anderson .... camera operator (uncredited)
Pat Clark .... still photographer (uncredited)
Vic Johnson .... gaffer (uncredited)
Dudie Maschmeyer .... grip (uncredited)
William John Ranaldi .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Leonard J. South .... camera technician (uncredited)
Claude Swanner .... best boy (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Moss Mabry .... wardrobe
Jack Delaney .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Lillian House .... wardrobe: ladies (uncredited)
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dimitri Tiomkin .... conductor
 
Other crew
Rita Michaels .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros. Pictures) (A Warner Bros.- First National Picture)
Distributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
105 min | Portugal:88 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (WarnerColor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:16 | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-12 | France:U | Norway:16 | South Korea:12 (DVD rating) (2004) | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (re-rating) (2008) | UK:PG (video rating) (2003) (2004) | UK:PG (video rating: 100m) (1987) | USA:PG | USA:PG (1982 re-release) | USA:Approved (PCA #16708) | West Germany:16 (nf) (original rating) | West Germany:12 (video) (re-rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The characters of Margot and Mark were named Sheila and Max in the original play.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: As Margot is sharing the press clippings with Mark, Tony unlocks the back door and closes the curtains. Later, the curtains are back open and he closes them again.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 »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Does Hitchcock have a cameo in "Dial M for Murder"?
Why did Tony substitute the stockings for the scarf?
How did the letter get on Swann's body?
See more »
60 out of 77 people found the following review useful.
The perfect film for the perfect murder..., 21 February 2007

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

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Dial M for Murder (1954)
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Homophobic moment wmpape
I swear I saw this movie in B+W hlippman
Does anybody feel his mind is not adequate for this movie? patrick8828
Every movie should end like this.. limecat86
Am I the only one... jmobleyj
Why would Margot have known the key was under the carpet? themgt1
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