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Kamal Polyakov
Kamal Polyakov

Subtitle Dial M For Murder

Tony is aware that Charles Swann, an old acquaintance from Cambridge University, has become a small-time con man with a criminal record. Tony invites Swann to his Maida Vale flat on a pretext, and tells him of Margot's affair. Tony also confides that six months previously, he stole Margot's handbag, which contained a love letter from Mark, and anonymously blackmailed her. After tricking Swann into leaving his fingerprints on the letter, Tony entraps him, threatening to turn him in as Margot's blackmailer unless he kills Margot. With the added inducement of 1,000 in cash, Swann agrees to the murder and Tony explains his plan. Tony and Mark will attend a party while Margot stays home alone. At a specific time when Margot is certain to be in bed, Swann will enter the flat using Margot's latchkey, which Tony will stash under the foyer carpet, and hide. Minutes later, Tony will telephone the flat from the party and Swann will kill Margot when she answers the call. Swann will then whistle over the phone to signal the job is done, leave signs of a burglary gone wrong, and replace the key under the foyer carpet when he departs.

subtitle Dial M for Murder

The next day Tony persuades Margot to hide the fact that he told her not to call the police. Chief Inspector Hubbard arrives and questions the Wendices and Margot makes several conflicting statements. When Hubbard says the evidence indicates that Swann entered through the front door, Tony claims that Swann must have been responsible for stealing Margot's handbag, and made a copy of her key. As Tony intends, Hubbard does not believe the story and arrests Margot after concluding that she killed Swann for blackmailing her. Margot is found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.

The television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents premiered in the United States the year after Dial M for Murder was released. The main character in an episode from the series's first season, "Portrait of Jocelyn", is named Mark Halliday. In the episode, Halliday's wife, Jocelyn, has disappeared several years earlier, and at the conclusion, it is revealed that he murdered her.[citation needed]

In London, wealthy Margot Mary Wendice had a brief love affair with the American writer Mark Halliday while her husband and professional tennis player Tony Wendice was on a tennis tour. Tony quits playing to dedicate to his wife and finds a regular job. She decides to give him a second chance for their marriage. When Mark arrives from America to visit the couple, Margot tells him that she had destroyed all his letters but one that was stolen. Subsequently she was blackmailed, but she had never retrieved the stolen letter. Tony arrives home, claims that he needs to work and asks Margot to go with Mark to the theater. Meanwhile Tony calls Captain Lesgate (aka Charles Alexander Swann who studied with him at college) and blackmails him to murder his wife, so that he can inherit her fortune. But there is no perfect crime, and things do not work as planned.

DRAMA 367 Drama ALEXANDER LEGGATT One of the most familar devices in recent drama - particularly the drama of the Toronto underground theatres - is to take two or three characters (four if the playwright feels ambitious), put them into a room, and let them fight it out. The results are generally predictable: the room becomes their world; whatever reality there is outside the room is shifting and confused. Within the room the characters play games of sex and power with each other. They spin fantasies (at least one member of the cast has seen a lot of old movies), they tell lies, they contradict each other and themselves. There is at some point a bedding, a beating, or a murder. Carol Bolt's One Night Stalld (Playwrights Co-op, 52, $3.50) both exemplifies this tradition and in some important ways goes beyond it. Rale has picked up Daisy (or Daisy has picked up Rafe-since it happened outside the room we're never sure) and they have come back to her apartment. Their relationship develops more or less as expected: they lie to each other, spin fantasies, drink, and go to bed. There is some sourly funny dialogue: 'What I try to tell my sister is there's more to life than sex.' 'In Kapuskasing?' Part way through the second act, the tone alters sharply from bitchy comedy to horror: the telephone wires are cut, a body is discovered. What gives Bolt's play an edge over others of its type is her willingness to use not just the tradition I have outlined but the older, more commercial tradition of the cat-and-mouse thriller- Dial M for Murder, Wait Until Dark. Her intention is declared in the subtitle, 'A Comedy Thriller;' and is effectively carried out in the play itself. The turn towards violence is not merely a Serious Comment on Life; it is a fine theatrical surprise, one that has been prepared in the honest, oldfashioned way. The final stage direction for Act One includes the following : 'There is something frightening about the way he holds her neck. DAISY decides it's an accident.' Such moments have the authentic Hitchcock touch. At the same time the thriller format carries, easily and naturally, a commentary on the characters and their world. The emptiness of Daisy's life leads her to seek out Rafe, or anybody; she has been stood up on the night of her birthday, and there is an untouched birthday cake in the refrigerator. She is representative of the urban apartment-dweller: essentially alone, she is surrounded by the noises of other people. Though there are only two speaking parts, the cast seems much larger: the neighbciurs are noisy, the telephone and tape recorder are in constant use. In one characteristic moment DaiSY is alone on stage: but she is talking to her friend Sharon on the telephone, the tape recorder is playing 368 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 the giggles of a girl being seduced, and Riva next door is laughing. All this noise only emphasizes Daisy's ultimate isolation, as Rafe insists: 'Why aren't your neighbours beating down the door? You're screaming like I killed you and nothing happens. (There is a shriek from the apartment next door) You don't care about Riva next door and she doesn't care about you.' Social commentary and suspense are neatly combined. In the same sequence Rafe shouts at the neighbours, 'Where are all you people? Daisy was screaming! She could have been dying in here and you all want to pretend it's a K-Tel commercial.' We feel throughout the play the dead weight of contemporary pop culture. When Daisy's friend Sharon broke into show business 'It was just like you read about in the movie magazines except that she didn't get into the movies. She danced the part of Dewey Duck for eighteen months with a big papier mache head on her head .. .' (That is the eeriest image of broken dreams I have encountered for a long time.) Pop culture images also convey the emptiness of the characters' relationships: Daisy claims that the basis for her friendship with Sharon was 'I...

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Audio: Warner's Blu-ray release features a lovingly restored DTS-HD MA mono soundtrack. While it's unlikely to get audiophiles' blood pumping too hard, others will rejoice in the track's clarity when it comes to dialogue and the tonality of Dimitri Tiomkin's score.Audio rating: 4/5

Tony Wendice has married his wife, Shelia, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He blackmails a scoundrel (Captain Lesgate) he used to know into strangling her for a fee of 1,000 and arranges a brilliant alibi for himself.

Stewart, along with Cary Grant, was one of Hitchcock's favorite leading men (they made four films together), but the director reportedly blamed Vertigo's box office failure on the actor's advanced age, which Hitchcock believed diminished the story's sexual tension. Hogwash, I say. Sure, the May-December romance between the 49-year-old Stewart and 24-year-old Novak is a bit jarring at first, but we quickly warm to it, and Stewart's age adds an extra - and essential - note of desperation to his highly charged and effective portrayal. (Interestingly, Hitchcock apparently had no qualms about casting 55-year-old Cary Grant opposite 34-year-old Eva Marie Saint in his next film, North by Northwest.) Just as they do in Rear Window, Stewart's facial expressions and reaction shots speak volumes, and Vertigo, which features long stretches of storytelling without any dialogue, benefits immeasurably from his nuanced work. Like the film, Stewart's performance builds and builds until it reaches a fever pitch at the climax.

Sonic accents like screams and subtleties like footsteps are crisp and distinct, all the dialogue is well prioritized and easy to comprehend, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackle break the hypnotic spell. Though a greater degree of surround activity would give Vertigo a few more bells and whistles, the film is practically perfect just the way it is, and this superior rendering of the audio shows us why Hitchcock's masterwork received an Oscar nod for Best Sound.

Dial M for Murder (Tsel Nomer Odin, 2012): This lesser-known Hitchcock mystery thriller centers around a London flat where a husband (Ray Milland) plans the perfect murder of his wife (Grace Kelly).

Sightseers (Raz! Dva! Tri! Umri!, 2012): British black comedy about a couple whose erotic odyssey on their holiday through Yorkshire's historic sites turns into a road trip punctuated with murders. Directed by Ben Wheatley, starring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Eileen Davies.

A treat for the eyes and exercise for the brain, "Dial M For Murder" is Hitchcock's second "drawing-room perfect murder" movie, after "Rope", the latter a darker and more sinister affair altogether. Hitchcock himself in interviews played down the quality of this movie, amongst other other things indicating that it was treated almost as a warm-up for the more ambitious "Rear Window" which immediately followed it in his career.However. it actually has a lot going for it, being beautifully shot in luminous colour, extremely well acted in almost every role and peppered throughout with those eye-catching and brain-satisfying flourishes which so distinguished the director from the rest.Yes, it is very set-bound, betraying its stage origins and likewise very talky, especially on exposition, but it keeps the viewer alert throughout and delivers a neatly satisfying conclusion. I do wish Hitchcock could have done better with his back-projection unit (an old-fashioned, jarring trait he still hadn't grown out of by "Marnie" some 10 years later) and I occasionally found the constant too frivolous background music an intrusion, but it's well paced throughout, helped considerably by an on-form cast.Ray Milland is excellent in a kind of darker Cary Grant type persona, Grace Kelly (who'd want to murder her?) goes convincingly from loveliness to wretchedness while it's pleasing to see Robert Cumming to the fore, recalled by Hitch for the first time in over a decade (since "Saboteur" in 1942). The actors playing the would be murderer and nosey police inspector are just fine too.About those flourishes..., perhaps the most famous being the changing spotlight on Grace Kelly's doomed face as her trial is condensed into just a few terse minutes and of course the murder scene itself, even if one can't imagine her extended stabbing gesture being strong enough to cut through Swann's jacket far less kill him stone dead, but I also enjoyed the raised tracking shot looking down on Milland as he explains his plot to Swann and particularly the parting shadows of lovers Cumming and Kelly at Milland's unexpected approach.Yes, it's old fashioned Hollywood movie-making, but it's old-fashioned Hollywood movie-making at its best and in my opinion an unjustly overlooked effort from the Master. 041b061a72


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