Alfred Hitchcock

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        Dial M for Murder (1954)
        D V D

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        • Dvd Release Date: 01-08-2008
        • Region: 2 (UK & Europe)
        • Number of Discs: 1

        • Catalogue Number: D011156
        • Studio: Warner Bros

          Filmed in Hollywood, it has a definate Hollywood feel to its Maida Vale setting - the colours are just too sumptious to be anywhere in London.

        Alfred Hitchcock only took on this version of Frederick Knott's play to fulfil his Warner's contract, and such was his lack of interest in the project that he claimed he could have phoned in his direction and that the action wouldn't have been any less interesting if he had staged it in a phone box. But as Ray Milland plots to bump off wife Grace Kelly there are plenty of deft touches that loudly proclaim "genius at work".

        Milland's sinister sophistication catches the eye, but Kelly's subtly shaded suffering is superb. Cummings, who was "Mr Wooden" through much of his career, is, er, wooden in this as Kelly's lover, and has a rather fruitless part in the resolution of the melodramatics.

        Hitch holds our attention throughout, a feat even more remarkable when you consider that much of the film is filmed in the one room. It has the feel of the stage play but Hitch makes it work to his advantage on the big screen. If I suggest that there are very few directors before or after him who could have done the same then I don't think I would get many arguments..

        Filmed in Hollywood, it has a definate Hollywood feel to its Maida Vale setting - the colours are just too sumptious to be anywhere in London, but that adds to the charm of the piece.

        Remade with Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998 as A Perfect Murder.


        Dial M for Murder was filmed and briefly released in 3-D and if you look carefully, you will notice that the finger dialling 'M' in the murder sequence is actually a huge wooden replica. It seems that the 3-D process didn't work when the camera focused in on small details, so Hitch had a massive telephone and finger built (similar to the hand he constructed for Spellbound) to ensure that this important shot worked as effectively as possible. The movie was quickly released in a conventional, 'flat' version as the fad for 3-D ran its course. Dial M was reissued in 3-D in 1980 during a resurgence of interest in the gimmick, and fans can still see the attempted murder sequence in 3-D today, at the Alfred Hitchcock attraction at Universal Studios' Theme Park in Florida.

        The 'M' that Tony dials refers to Maida Vale in North London, where the Wendices' apartment is located: in the '50s, different parts of London could be telephoned by prefixing the individual number with a code letter - in this case, 'M'.

          Filmed at Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard Burbank California USA

        Patrick Allen (Pearson) is best known as a voice-over artist, most notably for the famous Barratt Homes adverts that saw him swooping into housing estates in a helicopter. Guy Doleman (a detective) was the first of many Number 2s in the classic '60s TV show The Prisoners.

        Grace Kelly felt that her working relationship with the costume designer, Edith Head, was a particularly successful partnership.

        Once again, Hitch decided to make a film of a play, in this case Frederick Knott's highly successful Dial M for Murder, which had been a massive hit in both London and New York in 1952.

        Kelly as the wife was over 20 years younger than both her on-screen husband (Milland) and lover (Cummings).

        Ages at the time of the release of the movie were:

      • Ray Milland: 47 years old
      • Grace Kelly: 25 years old
      • Robert Cummings: 46 years old

        The age gap was even more between Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow in the remake A Perfect Murder in 1998. Douglas was about 104 at the time so it must have been nearly 80s years! Joke. It was actually 28 years; something Paltrow commented on during the promotion of the movie and something which did not go down too well with Michael 'The Ego Has Landed' Douglas.

        In real life, Kelly and Milland were having an affair at the time. You know the story: boy pursues girl, boy promises girl his wife doesn't understand him and that the marriage is over, boy lies, girl realises, affair over.

      • Actors:

      • Dir/Prod:
      • Scr:
          Frederick Knott, from his play
      • Ph:
          Robert Burks
      • Ed:
          Rudi Fehr
      • Mus:
          Dimitri Tiomkin
      • Art Dir:
          Edward Carrere


        Dvd Features

          Original theatrical trailer
          'Hitchcock And Dial M' - 20 minute featurette
          '3D: A Brief History' - 7 minutes

        Technical Details

          Languages: English (French and Italian dubbed audio-tracks on the disc too)
          Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch and Arabic
          Format: PAL, Colour, Widescreen, Mono
          Region: Region 2 (UK & Europe)
          Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1

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      • Price: 11.99 (UK Sterling)
        (Shipped from UK. Still sealed) (Price includes UK postage & packaging. Outside UK please e-mail here with country ordering from for postage quote)

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