|Fig 1 - Dial M for Murder Poster|
In typical Hitchcockian style, the film is largely based in one setting (being the apartment of Margot and Tony) which ordinarily might become somewhat claustrophobic to the viewer. However, the space is used to the fullest extent with an array of compositions that fit with the narrative at any given point, also taking advantage of a plethora of lighting techniques which allow the home to transform our perspective based on the tone of each scene. An interesting shot that I noted takes place as Tony explains the precise details of the plan to his college friend. We are almost directly above the two characters as Tony makes his way around the lounge, as if watching a general pushing pawns around the map of a war room. The shot caught my eye as it naturally demonstrated a sense of strategy to Tony's meticulous plan and subsequently gave the space a new dimension in the process.
|Fig 2 - Margot meets her fate|
In terms of performances, I found Ray Millard to be utterly compelling as the sociopath husband. It is undoubtedly in no small part due to Knott's fantastic screenplay, but something about Millard's smooth delivery, which even by the final scene doesn't descend into panic, rather that Tony had been thwarted in a dastardly game of chess. Robert Cummings, as the crime fiction novelist Mark, also gives a great performance in his near-perfect deducing of Tony's plan in a monologue that, unbeknownst to him, almost unravels the entire truth of the mystery.
Overall, I found Dial M for Murder to be a very enjoyable watch despite ever so slightly declining at the three-quarter mark. Not only does the film keep you guessing throughout, it allows you to make assumptions from the gestures and physicality of it's leads, ultimately making you question exactly who you're rooting for.
Fig. 1 Dial M for Murder Poster (1954) From: Dial M for Murder - Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Fig. 2 Dial M for Murder Screenshot (1954) From: Dial M for Murder - Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock