For, June 6, 2014

"Dial M For Murder" (1954) is the Alfred Hitchcock classic that was shot in 3D but never released that way until a 1980s revival. You can see it on the big screen at the SCERA Theater in Orem Friday (June 6) at 10 a.m.

And it holds up as a solid little thriller, with adept performances by the stars: Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, Robert Cummings, John Williams and Anthony Dawson. And though it is largely confined to a single set, Hitchcock manages to move things along so that it never feels cloistered.

The story, set in London, has wealthy Kelly trying to patch things up with her tennis-star husband (Milland) after having had an affair with an American writer (Cummings). But she's being blackmailed about the affair, so Cummings vows to help her. They are unaware, however, that Milland has discovered their tryst and is planning the "perfect murder."

Kelly is luminous, as she always was with Hitchcock, and Cummings and especially Milland have a field day with their witty roles. Veteran British character player Williams (no relation to the composer of the same name) is properly authoritative as the copper assigned to the case, and Anthony Dawson is appropriately nasty as a hired killer.


Anthony Dawson prepares to strangle Grace Kelly in 'Dial M for Murder'

There is sharp dialogue to spare, and the Hitchcock touch will involve you completely, despite the film being based on a rather static stage play. (Can you spot Hitch's traditional walk-on?)


Although it was filmed in 3D, there are only two real attempts to jolt the audience with the usual throw-something-at-the-camera effects — one during the attempted murder sequence, another when a latchkey is held out to the camera.