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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful masterpiece
Former tennis pro Tony Wendice found out many months ago that his wife Margot was in love with another man, Mark Halliday, an American author of crime novels. After many weeks of planning, Tony sets in motion the perfect plan to kill his wife. The only problem is, as Halliday unknowningly remarks, there's no such thing as a perfect murder, and when something goes wrong,...
Published on October 25, 2004 by gac1003

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Hitchcock movie with a subtle use of 3D.
Hitchcock agreed to make this movie to finish his Warner Brothers contract and move to Paramount where he would not only retain creative control but own some of his movies ("Rear Window", "The Trouble with Harry", "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "Vertigo). Apparently the director wasn't pleased with shooting in 3D and there were problems with the...
Published 3 months ago by Richard W. Haines

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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful masterpiece, October 25, 2004
This review is from: Dial M for Murder (DVD)
Former tennis pro Tony Wendice found out many months ago that his wife Margot was in love with another man, Mark Halliday, an American author of crime novels. After many weeks of planning, Tony sets in motion the perfect plan to kill his wife. The only problem is, as Halliday unknowningly remarks, there's no such thing as a perfect murder, and when something goes wrong, Tony has to quickly formulate another plan to do away with his wife.

This is a classic of suspense from director Alfred Hitchcock, based upon a very successful stage play. All the actors - Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings and John Williams - all give fine performances, but Milland's as Tony Wendice is a standout. You're instantly won over by his conniving charm, and I admit to following his plan with a tiny bit of satisfaction. He's never over-the-top, remaining perfectly cool and collected even when things go awry. Hitchcock's directorial style also keeps the viewer confined to the apartment, only venturing outside very infrequently. As with the play, much of the action takes place in that small space, and Hitchcock uses it to his advantage with intricate staging and camera angles.

The DVD is wonderfully clear with sharp sound as well. The two featurettes are equally worth watching, especially the one on 3D. I never knew that the film was originally shot as a 3D feature, and this goes into some detail about how Hitchcock set up many of the shots without relying too much on the effects. Even as a flat screen movie, the film works perfectly. This movie is a genuine pleasure to watch and should be part of any movie buff's collection.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hitchcock in 3D. 3D is very good, despite many other reviews, November 15, 2012
Anthony Chiappette "chippe01" (Brooklyn, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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I will not go into the details of the movie, as this has been done countless times already. I am only rating based on picture quality and 3D.

I was a little disappointed in the overall quality of the picture, but for a 60 year old film, I can live with the graininess and lack of sharpness. Overall, the picture quality was acceptable. Nowhere near today's standards, but again, this film is 60 years old.

I had never seen this film before, so was eagerly awaiting it's release, to see it in 3D. The story itself was gripping, in the usual Hitchcock fashion, and supenseful to the end. I was a bit surprised at the story line, as I was confusing this with one of my favorite Barbara Stanwyck films - "Sorry, Wrong Number". I was expecting the plot to be along the lines of that movie. However, the story line was quite enjoyable.

I don't know why so many people complained about ghosting in the 3D version of the film. I have two 3D TV's - a 32" Visio passive (polarized) LCD, and a 42" Panasonic Plasma Active Shutter TV.

I have to say that the film looked much better on the polarized screen. There was really not much ghosting at all, even in the beginning credits which were somewhat out of the screen. On the active shutter plasma, ghosting was much more evident, very much so during the opening credits, and at various points in the film, especially during dark scenes. While it was noticable, it certainly was not to the point of being annoying. But again, I repeat, this film looks much better on a polarized screen, whcih is the way it was originally shown.

As for 3D effect, it was simply brilliant. Those that complain about the film being rather flat do not know the correct usage of 3D. This film uses 3D in a very natural way.

Viewing in 3D is not about things always popping out of the screen. This is part of the effect of 3D, and sometimes used too much in some films. This is what gives 3D a bad rap in some people's opinion because they see it as gimmicky.

3D in the cinema should be used to display the image in a natural manner, where you are aware of the depth of the scene, and the relationship and distance between objects. In this respect, this film handles 3D very nicely. There were really no "gimmicky" popouts, with the exception of the opening credits, and those were comfortably viewed through my polarized TV (not so much with the active Plasma screen).

The only thing that bothered me at times were the outdoor scenes when the front of the building is shown with the street as a backdrop - the buidling and the characters in front of the building were in 3D, but the backdrop was flat. I can forgive this due to the age of the film and not having the advanced effects that are available today, but it did bother me somewhat.

I too also noticed a blue halo effect around the characters at some points, but it was not overly bothersome.

I did also notice the part near the end where the scene switched to 2D. At first I hadn't realized, but then it hit me that the scene was 2D. I don't know if this was intentional or just that that part of the film could nt be restored to 3D. But more than likely it was intentional as they surely would have mentioned this on the packaging if it was a defect of the transfer.

Overall, a very enjoyable film, one which I will watch many times again. I am thrilled that I have finally gotten to see this film in 3D.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Hitchcock with an enchanting Grace Kelly, July 21, 2002
This review is from: Dial M for Murder [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a fine example of the kind of mystery that little old ladies from Pasadena (or Russell Square) adore. Perhaps Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) starring Cary Grant might be comparable in its genteel and bloodless ability to glue us to the screen.
This is certainly one of Hitchcock's best, but most of the credit must go to a devilishly clever play written by Frederick Knott from which he adapted the screenplay. (He also wrote the play upon which Wait Until Dark (1967) starring Audrey Hepburn was based.) Hitchcock does a good job in not tinkering unnecessarily with the material. He also has the exquisitely beautiful Grace Kelly to play the part of Margot Wendice.
Ray Milland plays, with a kind of high-toned Brit panache, her diabolical husband, Tony Wendice, a one-time tennis star who married mostly for security. John Williams is the prim and proper Chief Inspector Hubbard. He lends to the part a bit of Sherlock Holmesian flair. One especially liked his taking a moment to comb his mustache after the case is solved. Robert Cummings, unfortunately plays Margot's American boyfriend as inventively as a sawhorse. For those of you who might have blinked, Hitchcock makes his traditional appearance in the photo on the wall from Tony Wendice's undergraduate days.
The fulcrum of the plot is the latchkey. It is the clue that (literally) unlocks the mystery. There is a modernized redoing of this movie called A Perfect Murder (1998) starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow in which a similar business with latchkeys is employed. I am not very good with clues so it was only after seeing that movie and Dial M for Murder for the second time that I finally understood what happened. Follow the latchkey!
Of course I was too distracted by Grace Kelly to fully appreciate such intricacies. I found myself struck with the ironic notion that anyone, even a cuckolded husband, might want to kill Grace Kelly or that a jury might find her guilty of anything! She remains in my psyche America's fairytale princess who quit Hollywood at the height of her popularity after only five years and eleven movies to become a real princess by marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco. Something was lost there, and something was gained. She was in essence the original Jackie Kennedy Onassis. I think, however, that the old saw about the man who marries for money, earning it, might apply to American princesses as well.
At any rate, Grace Kelly's cool and sublime bearing was on fine display here. Hitchcock cloths her in discreet nightgowns and fitted (but certainly not clinging) dresses that show off her delicate figure and her exquisite arms and hint coyly at her subtle sexuality. She was 25-years-old, stunningly beautiful, and in full confidence of her ability as an actress. She had just finished starring opposite James Stewart in another splendid Hitchcock one-room mystery, Rear Window (1954), and was about to make The Country Girl (1954) with Bing Crosby for which she would win an Oscar for Best Actress.
So see this for Grace Kelly who makes Gwyneth Paltrow (whom I adore) look downright gawky, and for Ray Milland whose urbane scheming seems a layer or two of hell removed from Michael Douglas's evil manipulations.
By the way, the "original theatrical trailer" preceding these Warner Brothers Classic videos is what we used to call the "Coming Attractions"--that is, clips directly from the movie and a promo. You might want to fast forward to the movie itself.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, June 27, 2012
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I've been waiting for "Dial M for Murder" to be release on 3D Blu-ray or for that matter any classic 3D film. It's a good film, although not one of Hitchcock's best, but even mediocre Hitchcock is better than almost anything most director's put out. the word is that "Dial M" is a better film in 3D. I can believe that; look at Avatar which looks mediocre in 2D but sensational in 3D. I'm hearing that "Dial M" will look better on Blu-ray than it ever has looked. Hope this one's followed by "Kiss Me Kate" and "House of Wax". Can't wait.

6/24/2013 - "Dial M" was great in 3D. In fact, I was in awe watching it; I felt like I was looking over Hitchcock's shoulder watching him decide how to film each scene. That is why "Dial M" in 3D is an important film. After seeing it in 3D, you get a glimpse of how the master thinks. I think I'll go watch it again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Dial M For Murder"[Blu-Ray 3D], January 25, 2013
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I had been waiting for the 3D release of this classic 1954 Alfred Hitchcock thriller for such a very long time,and now,finally,here it is in it's ORIGINAL 3D FORMAT at last! It was very long overdue and very highly anticipated and it does not disappoint! The 3D effect is most definitely always there and very much present in every scene,the quality of the Video/Audio transfer is SUPERB,it looks and sounds like a brand-new movie.I am beyond words! The set also includes the standard,regular,flat,2D presentation of the film,but not much else in the way of extra bonus features,which is the ONLY thing that goes against this fine first-rate Blu-Ray release,but,all in all,I still very much recommend it.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plot, precision and no pretension whatsoever, July 10, 2001
Andy Gill (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dial M for Murder [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Halfway between Rope and Rear Window, Dial M For Murder is a masterpiece of dialogue-driven thrills, filled with snappy lines, memorable characters and magnificent twists and intrigues. Blackmail, bribery, burglary, adultery, murder, manipulation and set-ups all slot together into one seamless, flowing crescendo of a roller coaster ride that takes you up and down and in and out of alternating suspense and excitement. Originally written as a play, the writing is so intelligent that this film surpasses the narrow constraints of its genre, avoiding any level of predictability – every time you think you know what’s going to happen, something comes dashing at you from a completely different angle and knocks you into another direction, until you just hold on and see where you end up. The acting, though not outstanding, serves its purpose admirably, and you feel for the characters and do actually care whether they live or die, which is always a bonus in a story revolving around murder. A number of long takes keep the film moving swiftly onwards, and despite its for the most part one-room setting, making it obviously lacking in spectacle, it never becomes stale.
Dial M for Murder is seen as one of Hitchcock’s weaker films because of its complete lack of pretension – I guess it’s just what constitutes your taste in films. A lot of people dislike this film because it is plot-driven and not, dare I say it, arty and high-brow, but don’t think that means it is devoid of creativity. Though it is set almost entirely within one flat, Hitchcock far exceeds the limitations placed upon such a setting. The tension created by the camera circling Grace Kelly when she is on the phone is intense, the frequently astounding camera shots that swoop in from the other side of the room to extreme close-ups of, for example, keys, are ingenious instruments of plot-progression, and the top-down soon-to-die shot as the murder is planned is definitely worthy of note. If you want the camera to tell the story, then this isn’t the film for you, but if you’re okay with the idea of a film that contains – God forbid – dialogue, and intelligent, stirring, rip-roaring, rousing dialogue at that, then Dial M For Murder is the perfect movie.
I would recommend this film to virtually everyone. If you like the theatre or reading books or listening to radio plays, you’ll like this. If you like plot-based movies, you’ll love this one – it could teach today’s films a thing or two about substance. If you like dialogue-based films like anything by Quentin Tarantino, Polanski’s Chinatown or The Usual Suspects, you’ll like Dial M For Murder. If you’ve ever watched more than one episode of Colombo, you will love it. If you like Grace Kelly, you’ll like this. But (and it’s a big but) if you prefer action and explosions to plot, Jean-Luc Goddard to Robert Zemeckis, avant-garde to Hollywood or the second half of Titanic to the first, then you’d probably be best giving this film a miss.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping Scissors At Arm's Reach Seems Very Sensible Indeed!, September 17, 2004
David Von Pein (Mooresville, Indiana; USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dial M for Murder (DVD)
Two Grade-A Alfred Hitchcock motion pictures were released in the year 1954: the spectacular "Rear Window" and this other delicious little number called "Dial M For Murder".

Scissors, latch keys, stockings, telephones, and blackmail notes are all important set-pieces that help drive this movie along.

"Dial M" is heavily dialogue-driven, although the attempted murder scene is very well done -- and quite suspenseful indeed. I'm guessing that when viewers watched this film in movie theaters in '54, there was probably a huge cheer after Grace did what she had to do to stay among the living. Great scene.

But, for me, the very best part of this stylish thriller/drama comes near the beginning of the film. The scene I refer to is a very lengthy one (22 minutes long to be precise). It's the scene in Ray Milland's apartment (flat) where he coaxes Mr. C.A. Swan into taking the grisly job which Milland has to offer.

I love the way this "set up" scene is written and plays out. It has a very realistic (and kind of eerie) feel to it. Tony Wendice (Milland) has certainly done his homework, and that fact is conveyed to us with little doubt. Tony's got everything figured out right down to the exact minute he needs to call the flat to "entice" his wife to the telephone the next evening. And he's very nearly thought of everything. Very nearly....everything except those pesky scissors that Grace left on the desk.

Tony's murder weapon in this fiendish plot is C.A. Swan, played to absolute perfection by Anthony Dawson. Dawson emanates a kind of creepiness and shadiness that fits his character to a tee (similar to an eerie role Dawson played six years later in the Doris Day film, "Midnight Lace", which has Dawson exuding a heightened level of "creepiness" in various scenes in that 1960 thriller).

The moment Swan (Dawson) enters Wendice's dwelling, a subtle feeling of tension and slight uneasiness comes across the screen. You know something is afoot. Hitchcock seems to have had an unparalleled ability to convey this sense of dread, disquiet, and trepidation without having to beat us over the head with it. It's just THERE, slightly beneath the surface. You can feel it somehow.

Veteran character actor John Williams plays Chief Inspector Hubbard, who is working overtime to crack this tricky case. And he does a fine job of it too, as it turns out. Williams, it seems, made a living out of portraying this kind of law-enforcement character. He played the exact same type of role in the aforementioned movie, "Midnight Lace", in addition to a similar recurring role as an "Inspector" in Mr. Hitchcock's very own self-titled TV series.

"Dial M For Murder" plays out kind of like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, Alfred Hitchcock style, with Williams in the part of Sherlock here, as he pieces together the clues to resolve the case. It's a low-key drama that is set in virtually one single location -- an apartment. Very few scenes take place outside Milland's home setting, which is very reminiscent of Hitchcock's other 1954 endeavor, "Rear Window", which also takes place practically in just a single room.

Video quality is excellent on this disc, IMO. The film looks clear, detailed, and rich in color. Some grain and "noise" are evident in some scenes, but it's never distracting in the least. Overall, a darn good-looking digital video transfer. The aspect ratio is Full-Frame (1.33:1), which was the original framing as shown in theaters in 1954. Audio is supplied by a highly-adequate Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono soundtrack.

Menus are simple (and static) in nature. A "scissors" icon guides our way around the menu screens (which seems most appropriate here). :)

Packaging is attractive and colorful, and appears to come from original 1954 artwork for the film. No paper (chapter) insert is included with this DVD release. "Scene Selections" are included on the disc itself (as is the norm, of course, for nearly all movies on DVD). There are 5 separate "Scene" screens on this disc, providing instant access to any of the film's 28 different chapters.

DVD Bonus Features:

Two short featurettes are included on the disc --- "Hitchcock And Dial M" (with a run time of 21:33) and "3D: A Brief History" (7:06). ...............

"Hitchcock And Dial M" is an enjoyable and informative bonus, produced by "DVD Supplemental Materials King" Laurent Bouzereau. Several talking heads, including Peter Bogdanovich, chat about "Dial M" and about Hitchcock's filmmaking techniques. Clips from the film are shown throughout this bonus feature, as are many behind-the-scenes still photographs.

"3D: A Brief History" is another Laurent Bouzereau short, which gives us a cursory overview into how "3-D" movies were made back in the 1950s. "Dial M For Murder" was indeed originally shot by Mr. Hitchcock in the 3-D process -- with the famous scissors literally "leaping" out of the screen at audience members who saw the film in theaters, provided each movie-goer was wearing a pair of those cardboard "3-D glasses". (I can see why 3-D films failed to catch on in a really big fashion. Having to sit through a two-hour film while constantly wearing those ill-fitting, uncomfortable makeshift eyeglasses would get tiresome very quickly, in my opinion. LOL.)

Even though "Dial M" *was* filmed with "3-D" in mind, there is no way to view the movie in 3-D while playing this DVD-Video (even if you happen to have a pair of those colored glasses lying around the house). But that's really a minor point; because "Dial M" doesn't really need any "gimmick" (like 3-D) to be enjoyed. It's a winning Hitchcock effort no matter how it's viewed.

One other bonus resides on this disc -- The Theatrical Trailer for "Dial M" (2:35). For some odd reason, this trailer is shown in Widescreen format here, even though the film itself was photographed in a Full-Frame ratio.

Other disc info ....... Spoken Languages on this DVD are English and French (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono for both). There are Subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

This movie is one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock flicks, being firmly anchored by two highly-rewatchable moments/scenes --- that very intriguing lengthy early act in the picture featuring Milland and Dawson .... and those very handy scissors!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hitchcock thriller with first rate cast and good plot, June 3, 2001
C. Roberts "movie buff" (Halifax, Yorkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dial M for Murder [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Dial M For Murder" is one of Hitchcock's lesser known movies from the fifties. It was taken from Frederick Knott's successful stage play and he also wrote the screenplay. The film had a strong cast which included Ray Milland, Robert Cummings, and, in her first film for Hitchcock, Grace Kelly. The supporting cast included John Williams and Anthony Dawson. The film was made in 3-D but never released in this form here in the U.K.
Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) is aware that his wife Margot (Grace Kelly) is having an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). Margot is hoping for a divorce but her husband has other plans - Tony is alarmed about the thought of having to live without his wife's money so he decides to have her murdered. By chance he runs into an old college acquaintance called C. A. Swann (Anthony Dawson) who is known to have a criminal past and has in fact been in prison. Tony decides that Swann would be the ideal man to do the murder as he has no connection with Margot and offers him £1,000 to do the deed. Swann is reluctant at first so Tony has to resort to blackmail threatening Swann with exposure of some of his past criminal activities to persuade him to become involved. On the night of the planned murder Tony is dining out at a restaurant with Mark and some others (which is to be his alibi). He has left a key under the stair carpet for Swann to enter the apartment and at 11.0 p.m. Tony will phone Margot from the restaurant - Swann will be hiding behind the curtains and when Margot answers the phone he will strangle her from behind. The perfect crime - or is it? Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances things don't quite work out as planned and there are many twists and turns before the police inspector (John Williams) has got it all figured out.
Some favourite lines from the film:
Robert Cummings (to Grace Kelly): "I can see this is going to be a rough evening. All of us saying nice things to each other".
Ray Milland (to Anthony Dawson): "I thought of three different ways of killing him. I even thought of killing her - and that seemed a far more sensible idea".
Kelly (to Cummings): "Do you really believe in the perfect murder?".
John Williams (to Cummings): "They talk about flat footed policemen. May the saints preserve us from the gifted amateur".
Hitchcock's cameo appearance in this film is a little different as he doesn't actually appear "in person". He is seen in the school reunion dinner photograph that Ray Milland shows to Anthony Dawson early in the film. Robert Cummings had starred in a previous Hitchcock film called "Saboteur" (1942). Grace Kelly went on to make two more films for Hitchcock - "Rear Window" and "To Catch a Thief" (both in 1954). Talented character actor John Williams was also in Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief". "Dial M For Murder" was remade in 1998 as "A Perfect Murder" with Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen (the last named was also in the remake of "Psycho"). Another of Frederick Knott's plays made into a film was the excellent thriller "Wait Until Dark" starring Audrey Hepburn.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Hitch, June 20, 2000
This review is from: Dial M for Murder [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although reviews tend to vary on this movie, I think it is one of Hitchcocks 10 best. Although the movie does not have as much mystery, suspense, or action as many of Hitch's other films, it does feature terrific acting, a good plot, and great direction, editing, and cinematography. Ray Milland and Grace Kelly put in terrific performances. Milland puts in such a good performance that you almost find yourself rooting for him to get away with his crime. I thought Robert Cummings was just average, but the role of the Inspector is one of the better supporting characters in any Hitch film. The ending, while not as famous as those in North by Northwest or Strangers on a Train, is so casual that I think it ranks as one of the best, if not the best, of all Hitch endings.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this not issued in 3-D?, August 23, 2004
This review is from: Dial M for Murder (DVD)
I think it is unfair to review this as a "flat" film when it is Hithcock's (and Grace Kelly's) only 3-D film. The product info doesn't even say whether or not the release is the "left eye" or

"right eye" version.

Home 3-D technology is readily available (see, for example, the ultimate 3-D collection or IMAX 3-D releases to home dvd)and costs less than $100. The producers of the dvd could easily include the 3-D version as a bonus feature; once the encoding is done, the additional production costs would be next to nil, and the public could finally see this masterpiece as originally filmed. (With seeing Grace Kelly in 3-D as a very significant added bonus!)

I'd pay triple for that feature alone.
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Dial M for Murder [VHS]
Dial M for Murder [VHS] by Alfred Hitchcock (VHS Tape - 1996)
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