As Carl Black gets the opportunity to move his family out of Chicago in hope of a better life, their arrival in Beverly Hills is timed with that city's annual purge, where all crime is legal for twelve hours.
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
Filmed in 3-D, which explains the prevalence of low-angle shots with lamps and other objects between the audience and the cast members. There was only a brief original release in 3-D, followed by a conventional, "flat" release; The New York Times review mentioned it opened with the "flat" release at the Paramount in New York. The 3-D version was re-issued in 1980. See more »
(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. See more »
Six years after Rope, Hitchcock released another adaptation from a play, still behind closed doors, but a lot more conventional than its experimental predecessor. Unfortunately, although Dial M for Murder is a real improvement, it is not free from flaws, of which some are recurrent with the English director.
It's a shame because it started pretty well. One easily gets carried away by the flowing dialogues, and wonders where this story is going to lead to. Granted though it is a bit far-fetched but nonetheless it arouses curiosity. Unfortunately, as soon as we pass the murder (and the intermission), the script struggles a little too much until the final outcome. The second part lacks tension, suspense, but most importantly rhythm which is strongly crippling, let alone for a confined movie.
Once again, and as it happens too often with Hitchcock, this is a lukewarm feature, not a total flop but not fully accomplished either.
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