Dial M for Murder (1954)
Dial M for Murder, director Alfred Hitchcock’s second color film, is sandwiched between the frankly forgettable I Confess and his first true masterpiece, Rear Window. Originally filmed for 3D (the viewer will notice some unusual perspective choices), it was shown “flat” after just a few screenings. It was his first movie with Grace Kelly, one of Hitch’s muses. So Dial M is transitional in a lot of senses, standing between his early and smaller-in-scope noir work and his later, more grandiose and technically experimental catalog. Although Hitchcock often said he had no real personal interest in Dial M for Murder and just considered it a standard contract job, he nevertheless transformed it from a simple murder mystery about a wealthy tennis pro (Ray Milland) blackmailing a hitman into killing his cheating wife into a tense psychological thriller by exploiting the claustrophobic (and very theatrical) setting. In his famous interview with Francois Truffaut, he says he did the best he could to never go outside of the Wendices’ apartment at all. Despite his dismissive attitude, it holds up beautifully as a taut and upsetting thriller, steered by the hand of one of the great masters of filmmaking.
Immediately after the screening, University of Tampa Associate Professor of Film, Animation and New Media Aaron Walker will lead a short discussion and audience Q&A. The session is included with film admission.
The Summer Classics Movie Series is presented by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by J.J. Taylor Distributing, Florida, Inc., New Belgium Brewing, and WEDU-PBS.