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Dial M for Murder (1954) Poster

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

From the position in which she was being forced flat on the desk while Swann was strangling her, Margot could not possibly have stabbed him in the back as far down, and at such a deep angle, as she is supposed to have done.
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This goof item contains spoilers. Click to view

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Tony dials the first phone call in the movie, it's clear from the sound and his finger movements that the fourth digit is smaller than the third, perhaps a 4. But from the immediately following dialogue, the number should be HAMpstead 7899, i.e. 426-7899.
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Boom mic visible 

The boom mic is reflected in garden doors above Tony's and Inspector Hubbard's heads during the Inspector's first visit.
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Character error 

During the trial the date of the murder is clearly stated as September 26th, but when looking at Tony's checkbook, Halliday says that March 26th was "the day before all this happened" and that Tony has been living on the cash in the briefcase "since the 27th of March".
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When Swann arrives at Wendice's flat, Wendice tells him they went to the same college but that Swann wouldn't recognize him because he (Wendice) had only arrived in Swann's last year. But immediately afterward Wendice takes the reunion dinner photo from his wall, showing Swann sitting right beside Wendice. Leaving aside the matter of why Swann and Wendice would be attending the same reunion since they had graduated years apart, Swann never contradicts Wendice's assertion that they hadn't seen one another in the 20 years since college.
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[Around 105 minutes] When Inspector Hubbard reaches to open the door after Mark presses the buzzer, the Inspector's hand slips and he briefly has trouble opening the door.
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Chief Inspector Hubbard forgets to show either Tony or Margo his ID when he visits them at their flat for the first time.
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Continuity 

(at around 24 mins) Wendice throws a £100 bundle on a pink armchair. The money falls right at the back of the seat. A few minutes later, Swann takes the money which is now right in front of the armchair.
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The Chief Inspector's view of the street from the bedroom changes between scenes. When Margot arrives, a side street can be seen on the left, and the red telephone box in the distance is to the right of the gate post in the foreground. When Tony arrives just a few minutes later, the side street is no longer visible and the phone box is now to the left of the gate post. The parked vehicles have all changed too. When Tony starts to leave for the second time, the perspective and light conditions change back to that of Margot's arrival, with the same cars parked on the right.
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During the murder scene when Margot is stretched out across the desk with Swann laying on top of her. Margot stretches for the scissors, just as she is a about to plunge them into Swann's back. Just a little bit of the dummy scissors previously positioned in Swann's back can be seen.
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(at around 78 mins) John Williams lights his pipe and puts it in his pocket a couple of minutes later, careless that it is still lit.
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Wendice shows the Inspector the photo of him and Swann at the reunion. You can see the empty spot on the wall where the photo was. After some conversation between the Inspector and Margo, the photo is back on the wall.
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When Swann is outside the apartment he checks his wristwatch and it shows the time is 10:53. The dial is plainly visible and has no brand logo. Once Swann has entered the apartment, he checks his watch again. The dial is visible and shows a time of 10:58. Partially hidden below the minute hand now is a miniature of a European steam locomotive.
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After Tony removes the reunion photograph from the wall to show it to Swann, he re-hangs it tilted relative to the other pictures next to it. In the next shot Tony is returning to his chair and the picture has been straightened.
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In the opening scene, the big trees at the end of the street are completely bare, as in winter. In all other scenes, the same trees are full of leaves, as in summer. Yet the murder occurred on September 26th, so all subsequent scenes ought to show fall colors.
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When Captain Lesgate/Swann arrives and Tony pours two glasses of brandy, they both go and sit down and Tony does not bring the bottle with him. But later, as they are continuing their conversation, Swann refills his glass from a bottle and puts it down on the table.
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Just after Margot had fallen from the desk the telephone cord can be seen hanging over the desk on the right. The receiver is so low down that it is obscured by Margot's prone figure. Seconds later, as Margot recovers and reaches for the receiver, it is now half way up the height of the desk and in full view.
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When Tony tells Swann he married for money, he is holding his walking-stick between his knees. In the next shot Tony is suddenly resting his chin on the handle of the stick.
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When the inspector enters the apartment, he tosses his hat onto the standing umbrellas by the door. He never retrieves his hat when he leaves later.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In a shot of the Queen Mary, a part of the wall holding the backdrop is visible.
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When Chief Inspector Hubbard uses his penlight to illuminate the telephone dial (and later to show the lock on the apartment door) the area of light is shaped and moves like an off-screen spotlight (which it is).
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Errors in geography 

When Tony phones the police 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." (Of course, it could have been an American operator who happened to be working in London.)
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FLOOR PLAN doesn't match script. The kitchen is clearly visible from the camera angle. It would create an L shaped apartment, going under the stairs, yet the officers are told to go out back which would slam them into the kitchen wall. Also there are no bars on the window as the script mentions, assuming they would be on the outside wall (which can be seen).
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Some viewers report that (at around 11 mins) in the film, Margot calls Mark (Robert Cummings) "Bob". Others insist that she is saying "Mark" in a muffled whisper that only sounds like "Bob".
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After the Inspector switches raincoats without Tony's knowledge, as Tony leaves his apartment, he pulled the door shut causing the door latch to lock the door without the need of a key from the outside.
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Plot holes 

[Around 0:44:15] During the scuffle in which Margot managed to stab her attacker, the scissors were initially stabbed with a hand motion in the direction of the back of his feet. Thereafter, he falls to the floor, which drives in the weapon further, which eventually kills him. The peculiar angle of the stab wound- facing the back of his feet, and its deviation at the time of impact on the floor, thus, would have been corroborated by the forensic investigators, which would have validated Margot's statement of killing Swann in defence. Hence, there would have been no murder trial on Margot in the first place.
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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.
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Revealing mistakes 

The photograph of the college class reunion has obviously been doctored. In the (doctored) photograph, it is obvious that the heads of Ray Milland, Anthony Dawson, and Alfred Hitchcock have simply been "cut and pasted" onto the bodies of three other men in the original (undoctored) photograph.
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As Wendice walks out the front door after trying unsuccessfully to get into his flat, Hubbard describes to Margot and Mark what he's doing. Wendice at first gives up on why his key doesn't work and is shown turning away from the entrance and starting to walk off. The camera then cuts to Hubbard, who says, "It's no good, he's going away down the street." But then Hubbard says "Oh, just a minute", and as the camera cuts back to Wendice he's barely moved. Given the time that has elapsed while Hubbard was speaking, Wendice should be several feet away by then.
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Margot's press cuttings are clearly blank on one side; cut out of newspapers, they should have printing on both sides.
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When Margot shows Mark the second blackmail letter, she starts to say her next line before her cue.
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When Inspector Hubbard is looking out the bedroom window at Margot and the policemen walking toward the apartment, their legs suddenly disappear from view, revealing where the projected scene of the street meets the edge of the physical set. Close inspection of faces suggests that a double was used for Grace Kelly in the rear projection. When Margot enters the apartment from the street, the background is an obvious still as the two policemen and pedestrians are motionless.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

(at around 41 mins) Just before Margot is strangled she answers the phone but there is no one speaking. We clearly HEAR that she is hitting the phone button several times with her hidden hand. As we saw previously that this is not an 'operator' call, this should disconnect. However, the husband keeps talking, and can be heard even before he hits the 'connect' button.
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Continuity 

After Margot kills Lesgate, her handbag remains open on the table, making it easy to Tony puts in it the key which he took off the Lesgate's pocket. Then the handbag appears closed between shots.
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When Margot stabs Lesgate with the scissors, the point of contact appear to be between his shoulder blades. When he collapses on the scissors, they are much farther down his back.
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When Margot has her breakdown in Mark's arms nearer the end of the film, the carefully set waves at the front of her hair fall out of place and become loose - yet in the next again scene the waves have been completely re-set and smoothed down, something she neither would have had the time to do without curlers and a brush.
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Factual errors 

A simple inspector would have absolutely no power to have Margot temporarily released from Prison, especially prior to a death sentence. It would have taken several appeals and even if she was released to help with the investigation, she would have been handcuffed and accompanied constantly by police officers to prevent her escape, and definitely not allowed to wander freely under far-away surveillance.
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Revealing mistakes 

As Margot reaches for the scissors, a bright spot can be glimpsed over Lesgate's shoulders: it's one end of what's meant to be the same scissors, already sticking out of his back.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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