Dial M for Murder – Lovely Suspense Thriller

We first heard about this Alfred Hitchcock movie in our childhood from a parent who had the habit of watching English movies.

But we never got a chance of seeing this movie because that was an age when VCRs and DVDs were still well into the future.

And to expect a theater in Tamil Nadu to screen a 1954 English movie was pretty unrealistic.

As time went by, we completely forgot about this movie.

After coming to the U.S. too, we never once thought of seeing this legendary movie until some SI readers suggested it recently.

Fortunately, Netflix has this movie in its Instant Collection (which means you can watch it directly on your TV via a Roku, Xbox or TiVo device through a broadband connection).

It’s one of the many mysteries of life as to why desis don’t sign up to the $9/month Netflix plan that gives them access to a cornucopia of 100,000 DVD titles and another 12,000 titles in its Instant Play section.

Hailed as one of the all-time great thrillers, Dial M for Murder features the ethereally beautiful Grace Kelly, Ray Milland and Robert Cummings.

We’ll update this post later tonight after watching the movie.


Is there such a thing as a perfect murder?

Or does it exist only on paper?

If you’re seeking answers to the above questions, expect no help from us – All we’re going to tell you is to watch Dial M for Murder.

A lovely suspense thriller in color, Dial M for Murder is our second Hitchcock film (the first was To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant).

The tight narrative, the solid acting, the suspense as we near the end and Hitchcock’s masterful direction all come together in a brilliant ensemble to ensure that Dial M for Murder’s reputation as a Hollywood classic will endure for a long time to come.

No, we did not read the Wiki plot on the movie before watching it. And if you have any sense at all, you won’t either.

Much of the movie is filmed inside the principal protagonists’ house in London. Come to think of it, there are very, very few shots outside the main room of the house.

If you ask us, the movie is really owned by Oscar winner and actor extraordinaire Ray Milland and director par excellence Alfred Hitchcock.

The screenplay was by Frederick Knott and adapted from his play.

Would we rate Dial M for Murder higher than some of our other old favorites like Casablanca, On the Waterfront, High Noon, For Whom the Bell Tolls or Once Upon a Time in the West.

No. But that’s just a matter of our preference.

If we have any regrets at all about the movie, it’s that beautiful Grace Kelly really doesn’t have that big a role here. But she’s so charming in the time allotted to her.

Some nice lines from the movie:

Police Inspector: They talk about flat-footed policemen. May the saints protect us from the gifted amateur.


Margot: Shouldn’t I break down or something?

Mark: It’s delayed action….In a couple of days, you’re going to have the most wonderful breakdown.

21 Responses to "Dial M for Murder – Lovely Suspense Thriller"

  1. guruprasad.s   August 1, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Good that you didnt do your customary Wiki check.
    That applies to all Hitchcock’s movies.

    Dial M for Murder is a bona fide classic and a thoroughly engaging movie.
    What a simple and uncluttered line of thinking by the investigator who unravels the mystery !!
    I felt that the conversation b/w Wendis and Swan was the highlight of the movie, apart from the ending of course.
    (remember: What is all this about Fischer ? What is it about Lesgitt ?)

    Hitchcock shows that good old and plain commonsense is the most important ingredient for a thriller, not some special effects or ‘advanced technology’.

    Hitchcock is said to have remarked (something like):
    Murder is back to where it belongs: in the living room.

    You must check out his quotes. Good ones indeed.

    I never said that actors are cattle, I merely said that they should be treated like cattle.

    Another one:
    One, a hotshot female actor asker her:
    Alfred, from which profile do I look the best, left side or the right side ?
    Hitchcock remarked: My dear, you are sitting on your best profile.

    I have always felt that his Psycho is a bit overrated.
    I felt that Rear Window and Rope were great movies.
    If you havent already, watch the following:

    Rear window
    Strangers on a train
    North by northwest

    You can have it in a Hitchcock festival.

    The term “Hitchcockian suspense / suspense of “Hitchcockian proportions” has entered into the lingo alongside phrases such as “a blunder of Himalayan proportions”, “Pavlovian delight”, and “shakespearean tragedy”.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yes, the conversation between Wendis and Swan was most interesting.

    Nice bit of surprise from what’s first discussed on the phone between the two, driving a hard bargain and all that, and what really transpires after Swan arrives.

    • sganeshkumar1989   April 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm

      M for Masterpiece.
      //Would we rate Dial M for Murder higher than some of our other old favorites like Casablanca, On the Waterfront, High Noon, For Whom the Bell Tolls or Once Upon a Time in the West.

      I certainly found this film more engaging and interesting than High Noon, haven’t seen For Whom the Bell Tolls.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      You write: I…haven’t seen For Whom the Bell Tolls.

      Have you seen “We’ll always have Paris” Casablanca?

      Ingrid Bergman is our ideal of beauty!

      • sganeshkumar1989   April 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

        //Have you seen “We’ll always have Paris” Casablanca?//
        We’ll always love it! 😉 😀
        Fell short(Very slightly,thought it would be better than my current all-time favorites-Forrest Gump and Life is Beautiful) of my Everest range expectations,but will still settle for a Kanchenjunga. 😛

        My favorite B&W movie(Apart from Citizen Kane,Great Dictator,City Lights,well Raging Bull too was shot in B&W.) and perhaps the greatest romantic drama ever.

        • sganeshkumar1989   April 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

          // Ingrid Bergman is our ideal of beauty!//
          No second thoughts about it. 🙂

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          Ingrid is your Babi. 😉

        • sganeshkumar1989   May 1, 2010 at 12:00 am

          You didn’t respond to the above comment? :O 😛

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          Didn’t we? We thought we did during the Housefull interval yesterday.

          Maybe, we were distracted with Jiah Khan’s ‘Kanchenjungas.’ 😉

          Our abiding fondness for Casablanca is also partly because we like Bogie and Ingrid a lot. We’ve seen Ingrid in other movies to like For whom the bell tolls and Bogie in films like Sabrina et al.

          BTW, we meant Ingrid is your Baabi (the Hindi version) not Babi as we typed hastily in the theater yesterday.

    • sganeshkumar1989   June 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      Rope is another good suspense film directed by Hitchcock.
      I wasn’t impressed by Rebecca,Strangers on A Train and Rear Window.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      We’re planning to stop all comments for a while and watch a bunch of old movies – Hindi, English, Tamil and if we’re in a really, really masochistic whip me, please whip the hell out of me mood, maybe some ol’ Telugu films too.

      What say?

      • முனிAndy   June 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

        noooooo… not covering(or uncovering) Nikki Haley?

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Can’t stand that Female Bobby Jindal. You know, the Right-to-Life supporting, found-Jesus Christ, Indian American Republican whackos.

        In mourning because of the sick (ex)Sikh’s victory.

  2. Asha Tampa   August 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Watched the movie today; loved it!

    Amazing, that a murder mystery could have been filmed almost entirely in just a single room.

    I bet murder mysteries these days span entire continents, and yet fail to make an impact. Gonna watch Rebecca tomorrow. Watched Hangover today, too; was hilarious.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Amazing, that a murder mystery could have been filmed almost entirely in just a single room.

    As Cassius says to Brutus in Julius Caesar (Act 1):

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

    As long as we (the underlings) are willing to applaud mediocre performances from our stars and directors, Bollywood will continue to deliver garbage.

    From the Hitchcock portfolio, we plan to watch Vertigo and Psycho next.

  3. Asha Tampa   August 2, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    See u tomorrow, gnyt 🙂
    Maybe you cud suggest some name for my new blog.. please read my latest post, when you hav time 🙁

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Guten Nacht.

    We’ll look at your blog this evening.

  4. guruji   August 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    “It’s one of the many mysteries of life as to why desis don’t sign up to the $9/month Netflix plan that gives them access to a cornucopia of 100,000 DVD titles and another 12,000 titles in its Instant Play section.”

    It eej bretty jimble, my friend. Why pay anything at all, when you can download illegaly at home for free on your work laptop, using your neighbor’s open-for-all WiFi connection :)? We are CHEAP…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We have a desi friend in Philly who’s in bad shape now after the neighbor from whom he was leeching free WiFi moved to DE.

    It’s been about three or four months but our desi friend stubbornly refuses to sign up for paid Internet access.

    Most likely, he’s waiting to see if someone else will move in with unsecured WiFi.

    The ‘freetermination’ of our desis here is without parallel. 🙁

  5. 13ghosts   August 4, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Watch North by Northwest. It is an even better thriller. Among Hitchcock’s best

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


  6. 13ghosts   August 4, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Add Vertigo to that list. A really awesome psycho thriller

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will do.

  7. sanjaaay12   August 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Would like to see your review of ‘The Usual Suspects’ ‘Match point’ ‘Munich’

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Usual Suspects is in our list…we’ve promised SI reader kurf we’d do it. And we’ll, soon.

    Seen Munich in a Philly theatre some three years ago. First row, not a pleasant experience.

  8. boopalanj   August 11, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Psycho was a nice movie. It was unpredictable (for me, at least)..

    Go for it..!!

    [Or you have already watched?]

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    and Psycho are on our list.

    Will watch shortly.

  9. vjcool   October 26, 2009 at 8:02 am

    watched ‘Dial M for Murder’ when DD telecast it as a late night movie… them watched ‘Aitbaar’ a remake, it has the gazal ‘Kisi Nazar Ko Tera’. It was also in the late night movie slot.

    Later watched ‘A Perfect Murder’ at the Sathyam Cinemas.. that makes three servings of ‘Dial M for Murder’.. Dont know if DD telecasts these saturday late night movies….

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    In your above list, we’ve watched Dial M for Murder. Liked it.

    The thought of a Bollywood remake (Aitbaar) with ghazals is blood-curdling.

  10. vjcool   November 9, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Aitbaar is a decent remake, one of the characters play a ghazal singer, so the ghazals

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Is no Hollywood classic safe from the hands of the Bollywood marauders.

    Can’t remember if Titanic or the Aliens series has been remade by our people.

    If not, Chiranjeevi, Ajith and Abhishek Bachchan would be appropriate, i.e. for the role of the ship or the alien. 😉

    2. BTW, there’s the similar sounding Bollywood movie Aetbaar that we unfortunately watched a few years back.

  11. sganeshkumar1989   July 26, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Watch Vertigo.It’s a real complete classic-apart from the twists,I appreciate it more for the wonderful visual and editing techniques employed by Hitchcock to engage the audience.
    It is a thriller with a wonderful romance,with some really funny lines exchanged between Scottie and Midge during 1st 10 minutes.
    I feel the movie deserves a multiple viewing not for the depth in its theme,rather for the depth in Hitchcock’s direction-as Scorsese said in the documentary ‘Obsessed with Vertigo’,it’s one of the most personal films.
    I would rank it slightly above Dial M for Murder and Maltese Falcon,among my favorite thrillers.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will do soon.

  12. sganeshkumar1989   December 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Last month,I watched the film,which fetched Ray Milland his Best Actor Oscar (The Lost Weekend); it’s a good film, directed by Billy Wilder. Will you watch it?

    The DVD version didn’t have any Special features,like director’s or actor’s commentaries or interviews.:(

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Last month,I watched the film,which fetched Ray Milland his Best Actor Oscar (The Lost Weekend);it’s a good film, directed by Billy Wilder. Will you watch it?

    Yes. Added to our Netflix queue.

    • sganeshkumar1989   December 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      Good! Add Vertigo and North by Northwest too, you won’t be disappointed.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Will do.

      Offtopic: Bad snowstorm on East Coast. Manmadhan Ambu & Tees Maar Khan shows must be taking a beating here.

  13. Hari Jr   February 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Watched this masterclass today and was bowled over by the script, screenplay, acting, direction and of course dialogues 🙂

    Besides, watched another wonderful Hitchcock thriller – The Man Who Knew Too Much.

    Have you seen it ?? If not , can you please watch it and give me your opinion ??

    Hitchcock just simply amazing.

    Only if we had a director like him in India 🙁

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will do.

  14. Hari Jr   February 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    What happened no news of Khosla ka Ghosla ??

    Waiting for your opinion as I am eager to see your response

    Pls do watch and review

    Good night and take care SI

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


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