Quick-Thoughts: Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954)

Hitchcock is a star when it comes to four act structures. The first half of Dial M for Murder works as an in-depth audience witnessing of a crime in the making and being committed, while in the second half we get to see this crime attempting to be solved from the ground up, as we smugly act as if we know all that’s occurred for which some of our characters don’t. But, Hitchcock is a smart guy; he knows that this is a lucrative opportunity to double-cross us, knowing well that most audiences wouldn’t pay FULL attention to the crime despite him showing it all to us and using it to prove that maybe some characters knew more than we may have led to believe based on our own confidences. 

This is a thriller with simple details and simple reveals, but it fits so in line with the statement Hitchcock gets across here in this deconstruction on the line between murder mystery genre and murder mystery reality which declares that all it takes for a perfect murder to go wrong is if someone overlooks one eency-weency loophole so simplistic that any perpetrator could easily forget about it. Hmm… just like how most viewers will miss these minute details that’ll continue to milk paradoxically striking surprises from us along the way as the film’s characters pick and choose these mini clues when they discover them to mind-game battle one another into either figuring out a murder or possibly covering one up.

Verdict: B+

Alfred Hitchcock Ranked

“Dial M for Muder” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

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