Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Dial M For Murder (1954)

dial m for murder

SYNOPSIS: An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B. – via IMDB

Hello all! Thank you for returning, time and time again, for some more Hitchcock films and the reviews. Today I have another one that I have always heard about and have been meaning to check out: Dial M For Murder. This blogathon showed that it was time, so I finally got to cross another movie off of my list.

hitchcock dialling m

Dial M For Murder holds your attention for the duration of it. It starts off rather suddenly, but precisely where it needs to. Bear in mind, this was adapted from a play, so it means that the set is not huge, and it is something that Hitchcock pulls off exceptionally well. I was happy to see cutie Robert Cummings featuring again, and I must say that he impressed me again. Grace Kelly was such a stunner, and I thought that her and Cummings made a beautiful couple.

So when the movie kicks off, we learn that Margot Wendice (Grace Kelly) was cheating on her ex-tennis star husband Tony (Ray Milland) with mystery writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), though the two had called it off a year ago. However, with his return, it seems that the feelings are not dead, and the two are in love, though she is unwilling to leave her husband. Tony seems much in love with his wife, who appreciates that he finally made her front and centre of his life, and Tony and Mark seem to get along relatively well too, all things considered.

dial m for murder chilling together

Tony befriends Mark, and before one can get too indignant about a cheater befriending the husband of the woman he loves, Tony sends Mark and Margot off to the theatre, and then meets with a crook named Captain Lesgate (Anthony Dawson), a man he convinces to murder his wife for a thousand pounds so that he, Tony, can receive her sizable estate when all is said and done. He also thinks he has the perfect murder thought out, and ensures that he is at a stag party with Mark when it all goes down, giving him the perfect alibi. Naturally, things go wrong, and Margot survives, and Tony needs to change things around quickly, changing the nature of the evening, and Margot is painted a murderer and sentenced to death, though Mark refuses to accept that.

dial m for murder strangle

It was very interesting for me to see how Tony went about his planning, and how perfect it all was in his mind, but it honestly did not really account for anything changing. There were reasonable explanations for all the whys, but there was not contingency plan so much for any other wrinkle, and goodness, were there wrinkles when this plan got underway. Never mind the fact that Margot was unfaithful, it seemed evident that Tony had never put her first in his life until it was apparent to him that he very well may lose his meal ticket, and then he went for drastic measures.

dial m for murder group

The acting was pretty good for this, and everyone did their bit to convey their part. I liked Chief Inspector Hubbard (John Williams), he was sharp and certainly thought outside the box, even though he was doing everything by the book. I definitely thought this to be one of the  better Hitchcock films I have watched throughout the course of this blogathon, I certainly got a handful of less than stellar outings. Alfred Hitchcock certainly improved over time, and this was another film to showcase that.

The plot was pretty good, nothing revolutionary per se, but gripping enough to hold your attention, and the movie did not feel very long, though it comes in at 105 minutes. The plot is simple yet commanding, interesting without being too complex, and even though everything goes down in one room, that never becomes a drag or an issue, or something I really paid attention to at all. The cast carried this film incredibly well, and should be commended for that.

I could recommend Dial M For Murder as a pretty good mystery thriller, it came together well, was well constructed, and interesting at the very least, if not only to see how Tony’s perfect plan A suffered, and how he desperately needs plan B to work without a hitch.

Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Saboteur (1942)

saboteur movie poster

SYNOPSIS: Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend. – via IMDB

So check me out. Another Hitchcock film. Surely that should surprise none of you, and those who are surprised, where have you been?! Just kidding. At any rate, I thought I would tackle another Hitchcock creation, hoping for it to be something better.

Boy, was I rewarded! Saboteur was a really neat little spy thriller, black and white, and it was shot beautifully! Tension was built up just correctly, and the movie contained some absolutely excellent performances. Robert Cummings was gorgeous, and he had talent to back the looks, too. He was not wooden and boring, and Priscilla Lane was also a beauty, truly complementing Cummings.

saboteur the beginning

The story starts simply enough, and soon Barry Kane (Robert Cummings – and no, not Zombie) loses his best friend in a fire at the airplane factory where they work in a terrible fire. While visiting the deceased’s grieving mother, he learns that detectives are looking for him, convinced he murdered his friend, who was passed a fire extinguisher that was filled with gas. Barry knows this is not true, and goes on the run. On the way, he is arrested, manages a narrow escape, and comes across a small home with a blind resident, Phillip Martin (Vaughan Glaser). Barry relaxes as the old man cannot see his handcuffs, and begins to plot the next few things on his agenda. However, things are complicated with Barry’s niece, a billboard model named Patricia “Pat” Martin (Priscilla Lane) arrives home, and panics. Phillip intends to help Barry, sending Pat with him to the blacksmith to have the manacles removed, but instead she insists she is taking him to the police.

saboteur1

Barry wishes that Pat wold believe him, and the two argue incessantly. Coming across some circus buses, Pat makes some realisations about Barry. He needs help, and she decides that she might need to give it to him. Barry wants his name cleared of the murder of his friend, but is pretty low on society’s food chain, and Charles Tobin (Otto Kruger) is well respected. How will he convince anyone that Tobin is a saboteur? The two start their cross country investigation, which takes them down strange and twisted paths, and they make many unpleasant discoveries. Barry is still on the run, and this hinders them from time to time, but he is intent on proving his innocence.

saboteur investigating

I thought the film was shot beautifully, and the score complemented it every step of the way. As I mentioned, the performances were wonderful, and it was fun to see this all come together. There was also some humour in here, which I liked. But nothing too in your face. Nice and subtle. The plot wasn’t too complicated, and you never missed what was going on. The leads worked so well together, and were both hotties to keep an eye on. This is definitely a Hitchcock film that came together wonderfully and that I will certainly watch again in future. I would highly recommend watching this one if you have not already. I was interested the whole way through, and liked everything save maybe the way the film ended. Truly my favourite of the Hitchcock films I have watched so far!

saboteur entrance