Monday, 6 December 2010

Dail M For Murder ~ Another Hitchcock Classic

Well, my piano exam went Ok. I think. It's hard to tell with them. There always seems to be some sort of trouble with something when the exam starts. We shall see, we shall see. A-N-Y-W-A-Y. I am really happy with this blog at the moment, I seem to be getting lots of positive feedback. Thanks to all those bloggers who did my survey, I am not particularly good at rounding up answers, but it looks like lots of people would have liked to see Erroll Flynn fight a dragon.... Hmmmmm. Here is a review about one of the best Hitchcock films (in my opinion) evah, Dial M For Murder.

Dial M For Murder

Tony Wendis and his Wife Margot are the perfect stereotypical British couple. So it seems. Tony used to be a professional tennis player but retired on Margot's request after she complained about his busy schedule. Bored by Tony's dull personality, Margot starts an affair with friend and crime writer Mark Halliday. Tony secretly follows them one night and discovers their affair. Instead of confronting his unfaithful wife, he spends years plotting her murder. One night when Mark is with them on a friendly visit, Tony tells them to go to the theatre alone on account of his "bad headache". He calls up a man about a used car he wants to buy and asks him to come over to talk money £. Upon arriving it becomes obvious that he has no intention of buying a car, and Tony starts to explain about how he found his wife and another man, and how he feels undermined by his wife's beauty and social skills. The stranger's name is Charles Alexander Swan, and after the long lecture Tony concludes with "I was going to go back and kill them both but I saw something that changed my mind." Bored by this tedious war and peace speech, Charles replies with "What did you see?" *Pause* "I saw you." Tony takes a photo off the wall and points a college version of Charles out to the aging present version (Hitchcock is sat next to him in the photo). Tony starts to interrogate him about several shady incidents that he has been a part of, and ends with asking him to kill his wife for him - as you do. Tony has a letter from Mark to Margot in his coat, and if Charles refuses to kill her, he will turn him in as the blackmailer. He tells him that tomorrow he and Mark will be at a party and she will be home, he is to take the latchkey from under the stair carpet.
Grace Reading The Times
He will then go in and hide behind the curtains until the phone rings and she stands behind the table (as she always does). He is then to murder her from behind. The plan goes wrong when the phone call is late because Tony's watch stopped, and Charles is about to leave but the phone rings and he jumps behind the curtain.
He tries to strangle her with a stocking but she finds some scissors and stabs him in the back. After Tony finds out that Margot couldn't be murdered, he does everything he can to get her beheaded for murder herself...

This is one of my favourite Hitchcock films, (not as great as rear window, but...) and he does a great job with Grace Kelly. I sometimes find her slightly superficial, but whenever she is directed by Hitch, there are few other actresses I would rather watch. This was originally a play, and Alfred Hitchcock - being the genius that he was - said "We don't need to change a thing. Someone has written the script for us already. Lets play with it and make it a success." Or something like that. The film was filmed in 3D as you can see with the arm shot earlier, but by the time it came out the fad was over and the film was somewhat of a flop. Ray Milland is enchanting as Tony, his cold and calculating attitude (trying to big up my drama keywords) remind me a bit of the way Bette Davis plays Leslie Crosby in The Letter. The calmness building up to madness (Milland never gets quite that far, but you can see it in his eyes). Just another great thriller from the master! Is there anything he can do wrong? (Except The Trouble With Harry, but I've forgiven him now.) Do you find it disturbing that a twelve year old watches these movies? Yeah, me too.

Just come home from a rehearsal for the Christmas show, and my throat hurts even more than it did before (hardly possible) and I am very tired. She liked my monologue, so that it a positive.On the subject of shows, my family were having this conversation while watching All About Eve the other day, about when Anne Baxter (Eve) says "So little, so little did you say. Well if there's nothing else there's applause. I've listened backstage to people applaude. It's like waves of love coming over the footlights and wrapping you up. That alone is worth everything." It went like this:
Dad: So is that the main reason you act?
Mum: No, it's more the whole experience, and the feeling. Of course every actor likes to be appreciated.
Me: Yeah. For me it's also about being that other person, and... stuff. I think it's just because Eve has an elephantine ego.
My sister: Are we all agreed she is just and ego maniac?
All: Agreed.
As a performer myself, and from a family of them, I find it interesting to see how people feel about being on stage or acting. Must be the psychoanalyst deep... deep... deep... deep down in me.


P.S. Found this picture of the lobby card for The Little Foxes, and I rarely see ones that say "Not suitable for general exhibition." It must be that murder scene. MUAHAHAHAHAHA...


Jean Howard said...

Hi! You have a really great blog here! :) I enjoyed your review of Dial M For Murder; it is a really great Hitchcock film. I need to re-watch it soon!

Jump_Raven said...

"Do you find it disturbing that a twelve year old watches these movies?" Nah, if you review...probably shouldn't tell you, but if you do then I will be disturbed.

Good Review and you have my vote for CMBA.

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