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Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder
Warning: Color by WARNERCOLOR
Short plot summary

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), an ex-Tennis pro, schemes to kill his wife, Margot Mary Wendice (Grace Kelly), by getting a no good cheating robbing scallywag college friend (C.A. Swan aka Capt. Lesgate (played by Anthony Dawson)) to sneak in at night to kill her.

But it all goes wrong when she fights back. She kills her attacker with a, wait for it, .... a pair of scissors! Yes, you read that right folks, straight in the spine - good shot Grace!

How is our evil Tennis pro going to extricate himself from swinging from his neck until he is dead?

What our panel of critics thought

"I am terribly forgetful and can never remember where I left my keys, I feel sure my silly old forgetfulness would have doomed dear Grace to behangment. Silly Billy me! A joy from start to finish!"

"Grace, please could you not gibber so. When your husband returns, after the murder, all I could hear was 'mmffghwwaa wwagfga affghe oorrii mmee'. Now, what was that supposed to mean posh girl? Didn't they teach you elocution? Early on you said Bank (baynk) in precisely the correct manner for a poshie, you even got the neck movement right! I want my money back."

"This is a piece of police propaganda! The police arrive within 2 minutes of being told of the murder, and then actually do something before the woman gets hanged at the end? Has this police force got enough work to do, or should they immediately announce layoffs to save us tax payers some money?"

"I was expecting Mary Poppins to jump down the chimney at any moment!"

"Saved by exquisite just in the nick of time police work. Just like today, except the police have a backlog of about 5 years."

"I don't get it, if he used the key in her purse then he didn't have his key? Where was it? And then he remembered the key under the carpet? It makes no sense to me at all. Pass me my valium and a glass of stiff brandy, by gorra!"

"Ray, I had a watch like that once, it'll be the death of you!"

Please tell me the ending

Tony (Ray Milland's character) returns from the stag party on hearing of his wife's predicament.

Margot is having a secret affair with American, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). But one of their love letters has been stolen by Tony. Tony knows everything, and is determined to ensure his wife is killed. The secrecy surrounding their affair puts Margot in a poor light and she is soon prosecuted for murder as she is clearly a tramp.

She is sentenced to be hanged. However, Chief Insp. Hubbard (John Williams) comes to her aid. Yes folks, the Home Secretary (the only man in England who can stop the hanging which is due tomorrow!) is standing by, and there is just enough time for the key problem to be resolved - if Tony can open the door with a key then we have the man, and her date with the noose is off!

The purse Tony gets from the police has got the wrong key in it (placed by the detective in shot) Tony attempts to open the door with it, fails, and is about to go away again when he remembers the key under the carpet on the stairs which Tony had left for the the attempted murderer to get into the apartment... Tony enters the room, thus proving his guilt to soft focus and weepy eyes throughout.

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

Oh! how this movie grabs one by the lapels and sucks one, head first with all limbs splayed, into the drama. Regretfully, the version I saw was not in 3D, but one had my 3D glasses on hand, perchance to knock ones nose on that ruddy big telephone, or feel flapped in the face by those newspaper cuttings... Delicious!

Only the most desperate of toilet calls could possibly have pulled me away from this spectacle! A triumph of story telling, even if it does all seem highly unlikely in hindsight.

Still, the poshness is the thing that sticks out. Grace has got her elocution up to the highest order, apart from that moment of gibbering madness when she starts talking into Ray's shoulder, something they should have stopped her doing at finishing school!

That apart, a triumph of mystery which repays sticking with it to the very end.

Quotable quotes (Real)

"Darling, come home quickly."

"Remember the letters you sent to me? After I read them I burned them, except for one."

"No you mustn't tell Tony. Tony's strange."

Other comments

A truly engrossing effort, one that holds your attention until the very end. From a play by Frederick Knott.

Other Hitchcock movies spoof reviewed: The Birds, Marnie, Psycho, North By Northwest.

Date of review

July 13, 2003

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