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Dial M for Murder

Alfred Hitchcock spoiled moviegoers with smart, clever mysteries that keep you guessing. One of his best plots was served up in 1954's DIAL M FOR MURDER.

Ray Milland plays Tony, a former Tennis star whose now married to wealthy, gorgeous Margot (stunning Grace Kelly).

As the film opens, Margot is meeting her lover, American writer Mark Halliday, well played by 50's star Robert Cummings.

Margot and Mark had broke off their affair a year earlier, but he is back in London for an event.

Margot tells Mark that she can now never leave Tony, that her husband has changed and is completely devoted to her.

Throw in the fact that Mark and Tony are good friends and things get even stickier.

Unbeknownst to Margot and Mark, Tony is very on to their affair and creates a very intricate plan for a murder to end their affair.

You know all of that 15 minutes into the film.

What Hitchcock and his writers and cast do from there plays like a tense stage play, with most of the action taking place in Tony and Margot's flat with building tension.

Anthony Dawson is an old college buddy of Tony's with pockets full of secrets and John Williams nearly steals the film as Chief Inspector Hubbard, the one detective you wouldn't want on the case when trying to pull off the perfect murder.

Milland is menacing, Kelly is beautiful and effective and Cummings has a lot brewing below the surface in every scene.

Warner Bros. insisted that Hitch film this in 3D, even though the theatre 3D craze was fading in 1954. That finger dialing the phone is giant and made of wood as it and the phone had to be oversized for 3D cameras of the day to focus on them during the titles.

Thankfully Hitch didn't give into items popping off the screen throughout, I only noticed one obvious play to the process.

If you're in the mood for an intelligent mystery played out by some very classy folks in fantastic clothes that will keep you guessing until its final frame, ring up DIAL M FOR MURDER. It gets a B.

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