Dial M for Murder (1954) Poster


John Williams won the 1953 Tony Award (Broadway) for Best Featured Actor in a Play for "Dial M for Murder" as Inspector Hubbard; he recreated the role in the movie version.
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Warner Brothers insisted on shooting the movie in 3-D although the craze was fading and Alfred Hitchcock was sure the movie would be released flat. The director wanted the first shot to be that of a close-up of a finger dialing the letter M on a rotary dial telephone, but the 3-D camera would not be able to focus such a close-up correctly. Hitchcock ordered a giant finger made from wood with a proportionally large dial built in order to achieve the effect.
Alfred Hitchcock had chosen a very expensive robe for Grace Kelly to wear when she answered the phone. The actress balked and said that no woman would put on such a robe, just to answer the ringing telephone while she was asleep alone, but would answer it in her nightgown. Hitchcock agreed to do it her way and liked the way the rushes turned out. The director agreed to allow the actress to make all costume decisions for herself in their subsequent films together, afterwards.
Alfred Hitchcock wanted Cary Grant to star, but Warner Bros felt that he would be miscast as a villain.
Alfred Hitchcock arranged to have Grace Kelly dressed in bright colors at the start of the film and made them progressively darker as time goes on.
DIRECTOR_CAMEO(Alfred Hitchcock): about 13 minutes into the film, Hitchcock can be seen on the left side of the reunion photograph. As he is only seen in a photo, this is the final Hitchcock film in which he does not appear in person.
Alfred Hitchcock made a special effort to shoot scenes indoors, almost exclusively. Only a few brief shots, usually involving Chief Inspector Hubbard, take place outside. Hitchcock believed the decision to shoot most scenes indoors would create a sense of claustrophobia.
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.
Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008.
In a television interview Ray Milland said that he had fluffed his lines in a particular scene in the movie and ruefully apologized to the director. Alfred Hitchcock, he said, stared at him stonily for few seconds and then said: "I wound it up, put it on the floor, and it wouldn't go."
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].)
Adapted from a Broadway play that opened at the Plymouth Theater in New York on Wednesday, October 29th, 1952, and ran for 552 performances. In the original production, Maurice Evans played Tony Wendice. In this film, John Williams and Anthony Dawson re-created their stage roles of Chief Inspector Hubbard and Captain Lesgate. J. Pat O'Malley later replaced Williams as Hubbard.
Filmed and shot in just 36 days: from Wednesday, August 5th, 1953, to Friday, September 25th, 1953, (weekdays only, [Monday to Friday]).
Warner Brothers forced Alfred Hitchcock to make the movie to fulfill his contract - such was his disinterest that he claimed he could have phoned in his direction, and that the action wouldn't have been any less interesting if he'd staged it in a phone booth.
Originally released in a "roadshow" format, with an intermission halfway through the film.
This is the only film that Alfred Hitchcock that was filmed in the 3-D format.
Grace Kelly made three of her eleven films with Alfred Hitchcock, they are Dial M for Murder (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955) & Rear Window (1954).
Alfred Hitchcock not only expressed a great deal of interest in selecting Grace Kelly's wardrobe, he selected nearly all of the props for the Wendice's apartment.
In the scene were Wendice is describing to Swann/Lesgate about a middle-aged woman that Swann was affiliated with in the past having died from a drug overdose, Wendice was to originally say "middle-aged woman found dead due to an overdose of cocaine", which was in the original script and stage play, but due to the Hollywood Hays Code rules of detailing of drug usage on screen, the studio officials insisted to director Hitchcock to replace the word "cocaine" with the word "something".
Alfred Hitchcock offered Deborah Kerr the lead role, but she was acting in another movie, when offered.
A very liberal remake of Dial M for Murder was released in 1998 titled A Perfect Murder (1998)
If one compares the 3D version to the TCM print, the "flat" print is clearly the one intended for the viewer's right eye.
The characters of Margot (Grace Kelly's character role) and Mark (Robert Cummings's character role) were named Sheila and Max in the original play's writing tablet or book.
Olivia de Havilland was offered the role of Margot, but she wanted too much money.
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For shootings of phone the close up constructed big prototypes of a finger and phone as the camera couldn't be focused on normal phone.
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Hitchcock's dream cast for this 1954 film included Deborah Kerr, William Holden, and Cary Grant. Kerr and Holden were busy making other films; Grant refused to play a villain, a role Ray Milland was happy to play.
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The detective TV show "77 Sunset Strip" did an alternative take on the "Dial M For Murder" storyline in an episode aired in 1959 and entitled "The Fifth Step".
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The wing back chair near the fireplace appears excessively worn in comparison to the other furniture in the flat.
Visa d'exploitation en France #15714.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Alfred Hitchcock lost close to twenty pounds due to nervous anxiety when filming the scissors murder scene. He obsessively rehearsed the scene and shot take after take in order to capture the scene the way he had envisioned it.
After several unsuccessful attempts to film the scene where Margot stabs Swan with the scissors, Alfred Hitchcock said, "This is nicely done but there wasn't enough gleam to the scissors, and a murder without gleaming scissors is like asparagus without the hollandaise sauce - tasteless."
Grace Kelly was instructed to behave as if she were in a trance of some type, during her scenes in the final act of the movie to make her seem somewhat detached and distant.

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