Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder (1954)

Dial M for More

Having once been in love Margot (Grace Kelly) has grown tired oh her husband Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) a former tennis star whose now forced to work for a living. In fact Margot has been having an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) a writer of American crime shows and she is frightened as someone stole one of their love letters from her handbag has been blackmailing her. But Tony is well aware that Margot has been seeing someone else and is planning on calling it a day on their marriage and has a sinister plan. He has blackmailed a crooked acquaintance Swan (Anthony Dawson) to murder Margot and then he can inherit her fortune. But when things don't go as planned Tony's plans turn even more sinister.

Over the years I have watched many of Hitchcock's movies and found that some of those which have been critically acclaimed seem vastly over rated where some of those from early on in his career are over looked. I say this because after having wanted to watch the critically acclaimed "Dial M for Murder" I was not as impressed as I had hoped to be. Don't get me wrong as it is still a very good movie but one which failed to really get me gripped by what was going on.

Grace Kelly in Dial M for Murder (1954)

Now the dark storyline surrounding the perfect murder certainly wasn't a bore, the whole idea of Tony's sinister plans is entertaining. But to me Hitchcock seems to be playing about with ideas when it comes to the camera which ends up distracting from the storyline. For example in the scene where Tony invites Swan around to his and they chat the camera flicks all over the place from switching between characters, panning up from Swan's foot in middle conversation as well as shots of the back of their heads as they talk. In fairness this lengthy scene of talking needed movement but the movement Hitchcock offers feels too experimental.

Then there is the acting and whilst Ray Milland has the choice roll as Tony and plays him with a touch of the Cary Grant about him with that air of confidence as he says his lines. But the rest of the cast are left with thin characters and fail to bring them to life. Yes there is no denying when Grace Kelly delivers lines it is hard not to watch her but there is no depth to her character. It is the same through out

What this all boils down to is that "Dial M for Murder" is an entertaining movie by anyone's standards but being a Hitchcock movie I expected more but only got less. It just feels to me like Hitchcock experimented too much with the camera with some scenes feeling forced because of these camera switches.