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Dial M for Murder (1954)

PG | | Crime, Thriller | 29 May 1954 (USA)
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A tennis player frames his unfaithful wife for first-degree murder after she inadvertently hinders his plan to kill her.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Frederick Knott (screen play), Frederick Knott (adapted from his play)
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Popularity
1,637 ( 2,730)
Top Rated Movies #157 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ray Milland ... Tony Wendice
Grace Kelly ... Margot Wendice
Robert Cummings ... Mark Halliday
John Williams ... Chief Inspector Hubbard
Anthony Dawson ... Charles Swann
Leo Britt Leo Britt ... The Storyteller
Patrick Allen ... Detective Pearson
George Leigh George Leigh ... Detective Williams
George Alderson George Alderson ... First Detective
Robin Hughes ... Police Sergeant O'Brien
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Storyline

In London, wealthy Margot Mary Wendice had a brief love affair with the American writer Mark Halliday while her husband and professional tennis player Tony Wendice was on a tennis tour. Tony quits playing to dedicate to his wife and finds a regular job. She decides to give him a second chance for their marriage. When Mark arrives from America to visit the couple, Margot tells him that she had destroyed all his letters but one that was stolen. Subsequently she was blackmailed, but she had never retrieved the stolen letter. Tony arrives home, claims that he needs to work and asks Margot to go with Mark to the theater. Meanwhile Tony calls Captain Lesgate (aka Charles Alexander Swann who studied with him at college) and blackmails him to murder his wife, so that he can inherit her fortune. But there is no perfect crime, and things do not work as planned. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If a woman answers...hang on for dear life! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 May 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dial 'M' for Murder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,562, 11 April 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,562, 11 April 1999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,080,000, 31 December 1954
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Brothers forced Sir Alfred Hitchcock to make the movie to fulfill his contract. Such was his disinterest, that he claimed he could have phoned in his direction, and that the action wouldn't have been any less interesting if he'd staged it in a phone booth. See more »

Goofs

When Tony and Mark are getting ready to go out, Tony pulls the curtains behind the desk closed after a second or two look outside. He asks Margo to borrow her key and Mark says he will go out to get them a cab. Tony steps behind the desk and pulls the now open (that he pulled shut a minute ago) curtains closed again. He also takes another 1 or 2 second look outside. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Margot Mary Wendice: let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.
Mark Halliday: Yes, I've been waiting for that.
Margot Mary Wendice: I haven't told him anything about us.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title is shown on a background of a British telephone dial; its MN/6 marking is replaced by a single large M which forms the single M of the title. See more »

Alternate Versions

Released in Japan in the short-lived VHS format in 3-D. This disc has been widely copied to make VHS bootleg tapes, DVDs and blue-ray discs. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Tense and exciting.
15 October 2006 | by PizzicatoFishCrouchSee all my reviews

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), an ex-tennis player, unhappily married to Margot (Grace Kelly), correctly guesses that she has been cheating, with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). Mark writes crime stories. Unbeknown to Margot and Mark, Tony knows about the affair, and wants to teach Margot a little lesson, by taking away the thing that is her life. But, being too guileful to do it himself, Wendice blackmails one of his old school friends into murdering her, and the essential thing to doing it is his latchkey.

Dial M for Murder succeeds on many levels, and it is largely thanks to some superb dialogue, written from a tricksy-yet-capable script that never gets too deep. The cast are a treat. Ray Milland is an absolute gem, extremely sly and dispassionate, yet a character so full of self-assurance that one almost sides with him. Grace Kelly completes her great year (she gave an Oscar-winning performance in The Country Girl and also starred in Rear Window) by emanating the poised, beautiful being, that is vulnerable, yet oddly unassailable. And it's weird in that even though she's cheating on her husband, you care for her a lot more than him (although that could do with the fact that he's trying to kill her...) And John Williams, as the police detective, is quite wonderful.

Alfred Hitchcock manipulates and enthrals his audience here like the master that he is. Each scene has a sense of direction, great pacing, and is staged realistically. Stunning full colour photography and a haunting, atmospheric score from Dimitri Tiomkin complete this great package. The ending, when it comes, feels a little too nice to be truly realistic, but that is my only major quibble with an otherwise highly entertaining, thrilling movie.


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