Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dial M for Murder

A retired British tennis player (Ray Milland) learns that his gorgeous, wealthy wife (Grace Kelly) is having an affair with an American writer (Robert Cummings) and concocts a perfectly realized blackmail scheme involving a seedy, old college chum (Anthony Dawson) to see her murdered; one that must be rethought after the first plan goes awry. Based on a stage play by Frederick Knott, who also did his own adaptation, Alfred Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder" is sharp and  funny, but longish at times and rehashes its plot more times than it needs to.  Ray Milland is excellent as the shrewd old Brit, Kelly is radiant as ever, and John Williams has a memorable bit as an absentminded inspector assigned to investigate the case. I had the occasion to see the film in 3D (which I didn't know until that time that it was filmed in that medium) and although it has to be one of the last movies you would think would call for it, Hitch handles it with flare, using it mainly for staging instead of hurling projectiles at the audience like many modern movies.