Dial M for Murder ★★★★

A whodunit in reverse, DIal M for Murder gives us the WHO at the outset, a poor, jealous husband whose wife is rich and in love with another man. We see him set up the perfect crime, a slow rollercoaster roll up the first hill, before Alfred Hitchcock launches us through the event itself, what goes wrong, and the scramble of the police to patch together what happened.

It still feels the world like an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, despite the absence of any real mystery. The tension comes not from trying to find the murderer, but from trying to urge the police to find the right clues.

Yet this becomes much more than a murder mystery. The high points are watching Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) manipulate the people around him with a staggering series of lies and improvisations. They provide more than enough tension in a mystery where there is no mystery.

The performances are all good, although I have to admit that these characters seem like the type that Hitchcock would want to use a James Stewart/Cary Grant type for. These characters don't hold up quite as well with Milland and Robert Cummings at the helm. They feel like they took their role cues from watching prior Hitchcock films. They're not distracting performances, but they are left a bit wanting.

Still, it's rarely a mistake to watch a Hitchcock film and Dial M for Murder is no different.

Jacob liked these reviews