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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> July 1998 >> Dial M for Murder

Dial M for Murder

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
July 1998
IMDB Name:
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Alfred Hitchcock
mystery, suspense
MPAA Rating:


Most 3D movies suffer a bit from attempts to give the audience grossly exaggerated depth effects. Hitchcock is, of course, smarter than the average bear, so he passes on the opportunities for the gratuitous. The action never seems to have been created just for the depth change. The movie is in 3D, but that's not the movie's only reason for existing. Indeed, the movie was released in 2D at first because the studio was afraid it would tank by association with the 3D garbage that had preceded it. So don't feel bad if you haven't seen it in 3D. It'll still be Hitchcock!

Close Quarters

With few exceptions, the movie takes place within the confines of two rooms in an apartment. The precise placement of objects in the room becomes of great concern, and so the natural 3D really enhances the reality of the space. The audience is successfully made to feel cramped while watching, heightening the tension. Since tension is the primary emotion of the movie, it's a great approach.

The actors must fill the space with intrigue, which they have little difficulty doing. Ray Milland must show the barely concealed fear of discovery while still trying to achieve his ultimate goal. He does so with aplomb. Grace Kelly has a similarly challenging role, as she strongly suspects her husband's intent, but mustn't let him know that.

Excellent, of course

I don't have to gush too much about the movie because it's Hitchcock, and you know it'll be good. This was my first Hitchcock movie, and I was not disappointed. I cringed, my heart raced, and I wasn't intellectually deprived for the experience. Hurrah!

Copyright 1998-2000 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.