The rains of Renton are upon us, and the gray drizzle of another Northwest early Spring hammers at our roof. What better thing to do with ourselves during such weather than to go out to a TFC screening. Join us this Friday, April 6, 2012 for a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954). This film is often referred to as one of his best, most stylized films. He made it in color between I CONFESS (1953) and REAR WINDOW (1954). He filmed it in 36 days, in 3-D, but it was given limited release in that format. Hitchcock made his cameo 13 minutes into the film on the left side of the reunion photograph. The film was shot entirely on Stage 20 at Warner Brothers Studio.
Hitchcock said, “When you run out of ideas, film a hit play.”
The screenplay was written by Frederick Knott as an adaptation from his hit Broadway play, which opened in 1952, and ran for 552 performances. Maurice Evans played Tony in the play. John Williams played Inspector Hubbord, winning a 1953 Tony Award for it, and repeating it in the film.
The Village Voice printed: “DIAL M is less a filmed play than a highly cinematic examination of theatricality.”
Hitchcock said, “Film your murders like love scenes, and your love scenes like murders.”
Hitchcock was quoted once, “Blondes make the best victims.” Grace Kelly did fine work in this film, then went on to appear in REAR WINDOW and TO CATCH A THIEF (1955). Grace Kelly insisted on answering the phone in her nightgown; the script called for her to wear a robe.
Trivia: Many critics felt that Ray Milland, long considered a road show Cary Grant, has given his most sophisticated and charming performance ever in this film. Hitchcock did series of movies that intensely investigate enclosed spaces–films like LIFEBOAT, ROPE, and REAR WINDOW.
Hitchcock wrote: Even my failures make money, and become classics the year after I make them.
DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock @ 105 minutes.
The film stars Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, Anthony Dawson, and John Williams.
Synopsis: A wonderfully twisted tale of illicit love, blackmail, and murder as a wealthy woman finds herself victimized by her own unfaithfulness.
Taglines: “Kiss by kiss, supreme suspense unfolds.”
Is this the man she was waiting for…or the man who was waiting for her?”
The film’s musical score was written by Dimitri Tiomkin, who wrote scores for 122 films from 1930-1975, which include DUEL IN THE SUN (1946), CHAMPION (1949), HIGH NOON (1952), GIANT (1956), and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (1958).
The cinematography was done by Robert Burks, one of Hitchcocks favorite cameramen to work with. He was his veteran studio cameraman who knew how to cut corners and bring in movies under budget. He lensed 46 films from 1944-1975, including I CONFESS (1953), REAR WINDOW (1954), TO CATCH A THIEF (1955), THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955), THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956), THE WRONG MAN (1956), VERTIGO (1958), NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959), THE BIRDS (1963), and MARNIE (1964).
Mark Halliday: In stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to–but in real life they don’t…always.
B. Kite wrote: “This film is major Hitchcock–it remains a fascinating investigation of a still born process from one of cinema’s most dedicated inquisitors of structure.”
So mark your calendars and make room for a Hitchcock evening on Friday, April 6, 2012 when the TFC proudly screens DIAL M FOR MURDER. It will be screened at 924 Broadway in the Pythian Temple, street level, across from the Theater in the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s Theatre District. The film will screen at 7:15 p.m. and it runs 105 minutes, so it will be over before 9:30 p.m. Remember that bringing finger food snacks and beverages is permitted and encouraged for those of us who arrive early for the fellowship. See Barbara Madsen, or myself, if you want to purchase a TFC 2012 membership, just $20.00 for the year. See you at the movies!