Dial M for MurderPosted: November 8, 2010
Sometimes, I can’t stand watching old movies. I remember one time in particular when Roni and I were staying in a bed a breakfast that only had old VHS movies, and we tried watching one. It was horrendous. Terrible sound, terrible acting, and terrible story. Really horrible stuff. Much to my chagrin, I have even found that there are some “classic” movies that I just don’t like (I’m looking at you, Soylent Green).
But every now and then, I come across a older film that has truly earned the title of classic. Alfred Hitcock’s Dial M for Murder is such a film. The film is as intense and suspenseful today as it was in 1954. Hitchcock did a wonderful job with this film adaptation of a play; everything from the casting, dialogue, to the pacing is spot on. In short, Dial M for Murder is the perfect suspense film.
The actors play their roles with such perfect execution that it is easy to forget you are watching a movie. Grace Kelly plays Margot Wendice, the wealthy wife of a famous tennis player. She plays the part with such, well, grace that it isn’t hard to feel sorry for her predicament. When she’s fighting for her life, you want her to live.
Ray Milland also has a standout performance as Tony Wendice. He plays Margot’s husband with such cold, methodical, calculation that you cannot help but be unnerved. This is a man who has spent years figuring out how to kill his wife and avoid all suspicion. As the audience behind the fourth wall, you are the only ones aware of his double-faced act. As such, when he acts suavely with such faux-concern around Grace Kelly, your skin crawls. When he details his plan to his accomplice, you cannot help but shudder at the fact that there are such people in the world; he plays his part with such sincerity you cannot doubt that such people exist. He is one part Christopher Walken, one part James Bond, and three parts terrifying.
The plan put forth by the husband seems so flawless, that you spend the first half the film worrying that the plan will work, and the second half of the film – well, I suppose you will just have to watch to find out.
tl;dr: amazing example of classic cinema. Must watch.