Dial M for Murder

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Dial M for Murder is a 1954 American thriller film adapted from a successful stage play and directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released by Warner Bros. It stars Ray Milland as a retired tennis pro who wishes to have his wife killed, Grace Kelly as the wife, and Robert Cummings as her paramour. The supporting cast includes John Williams as the police detective who investigates the matter and Anthony Dawson as the man hired to do the killing.

The screenplay and the stage play on which it was based were both written by English playwright Frederick Knott (1916–2002), whose work tends to focus on women who innocently become the potential victims of sinister plots. The original play premiered in 1952 on BBC television, before being performed on the stage in the same year (West End in June, and then Broadway in October).

There is just one setting in the stage play: the living-room of the Wendices' flat in London (61A Charrington Gardens, Maida Vale). Hitchcock's film adds a second setting in a gentleman's club, a few views of the street outside and a stylized courtroom montage. Having seen the play on Broadway, Cary Grant was keen to play the role of Tony Wendice, but studio chiefs did not feel the public would accept him as a man who arranges to have his wife murdered.

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Dial M for Murder was ranked the ninth best film in the mystery genre in the list.[1]

Contents

Plot

Tony Wendice (Milland) is an ex-professional tennis player who lives in a London flat with his wealthy wife, Margot (Kelly). Tony retired after Margot complained about his busy schedule, and she began an affair, which he secretly discovered, with American crime-fiction writer Mark Halliday (Cummings). Motivated by resentment, jealousy, and greed, Tony has devised a plan to have Margot murdered.

When Mark visits England, Margot introduces him to Tony as a casual acquaintance. After sending the two lovers out for the evening, Tony makes an excuse to meet at the flat with C.A. Swann (Dawson), a disreputable fellow Cambridge alumnus who also lives in London. Tony has been investigating Swann in order to blackmail him into committing the murder. Tony tells Swann of Margot's affair, including a love letter from Mark which she once kept in her handbag. Six months ago, Tony stole the handbag and anonymously blackmailed her. After tricking Swann into leaving his fingerprints on the letter, Tony offers to pay him £1,000 to kill Margot. If he refuses, Tony will turn him in to the police as the blackmailer.

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