Grace Kelly Dial M for Murder 1954

Dial M for Murder is a 1954 American thriller film adapted from a successful stage play and directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released by Warner Bros. It stars Ray Milland as a retired tennis pro who wishes to have his wife killed, Grace Kelly as the wife, and Robert Cummings as her paramour. The supporting cast includes John Williams as the police detective who investigates the matter and Anthony Dawson as the man hired to do the killing.

The screenplay and the stage play on which it was based were both written by English playwright Frederick Knott (1916–2002), whose work tends to focus on women who innocently become the potential victims of sinister plots. The original play premiered in 1952 on BBC television, before being performed on the stage in the same year (West End in June, and then Broadway in October).

There is just one setting in the stage play: the living-room of the Wendices' flat in London (61A Charrington Gardens, Maida Vale). Hitchcock's film adds a second setting in a gentleman's club, a few views of the street outside and a stylized courtroom montage. Having seen the play on Broadway, Cary Grant was keen to play the role of Tony Wendice, but studio chiefs did not feel the public would accept him as a man who arranges to have his wife murdered.

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Dial M for Murder was ranked the ninth best film in the mystery genre in the list

Tony Wendice (Milland) is an ex-professional tennis player who lives in a London flat with his wealthy wife, Margot (Kelly). Tony retired after Margot complained about his busy schedule, and she began an affair, which he secretly discovered, with American crime-fiction writer Mark Halliday (Cummings). Motivated by resentment, jealousy, and greed, Tony has devised a plan to have Margot murdered.

When Mark visits England, Margot introduces him to Tony as a casual acquaintance. After sending the two lovers out for the evening, Tony makes an excuse to meet at the flat with petty criminal C.A. Swann (Dawson), an old acquaintance from Cambridge. Tony has been following Swann in order to blackmail him into committing the murder. Tony tells Swann of Margot's affair, including a love letter from Mark which she once kept in her handbag. Six months ago, Tony stole the handbag and anonymously blackmailed her. After tricking Swann into leaving his fingerprints on the letter, Tony offers to pay him £1,000 to kill Margot. If he refuses, Tony will turn him in to the police as the blackmailer.
Cummings, Kelly, and Milland

When Swann agrees, Tony explains his plan: He will take Mark to a party, leaving Margot at home and hiding her latchkey under the carpet on the staircase outside the front door of the flat. Swann is to sneak into the flat after Margot goes to bed and hide behind the curtains in front of the French doors leading to the garden. When Tony telephones from the party, Margot will go to the phone. Swann is to kill her from behind, open the French doors, and leave signs suggesting a burglary gone wrong, then exit through the front door, again hiding the key under the staircase carpet.

The plan works until Tony phones the flat. Swann tries to strangle Margot with a scarf, but she stabs and kills him with a pair of scissors, then picks up the telephone receiver and pleads for help. Realizing the plan has gone wrong, Tony tells her not to do anything. At home, he finds what he assumes is Margot's latchkey in Swann's pocket and puts it in her handbag, then calls the police, sends Margot to bed, plants Mark's letter on Swann, and replaces Swann's scarf with one of Margot's stockings. He also persuades Margot to hide the fact that he told her not to call the police. The next day, Chief Inspector Hubbard (Williams) questions the Wendices and Margot makes several conflicting statements. When Hubbard explains that Swann must have entered through the front door, Tony falsely claims to have seen Swann after Margot's handbag was stolen and suggests that Swann made a copy of her key. Hubbard arrests Margot after concluding that she killed Swann for blackmailing her with Mark's letter when he came to collect.

Margot is sentenced to death for murder. On the day before her scheduled execution, Mark tries to persuade Tony to save her by telling the police that he hired Swann to kill her, not realizing that this is what actually happened. Tony refuses, insisting the story is too unrealistic, just before Hubbard arrives. With Mark hiding in the bedroom, Hubbard asks Tony about money he has been spending lately, tricks him into revealing that his latchkey is in his raincoat, and asks him about an attaché case. Tony claims to have lost the case, but Mark notices it on the bed, full of cash. Realizing his story is true, Mark stops Hubbard from leaving and explains his theory. Hubbard claims to prefer Tony's story that Margot gathered the money to pay Swann before deciding to kill him, but after Mark leaves, Hubbard discreetly swaps his own raincoat with Tony's, and as soon as Tony has left, he uses Tony's key to re-enter the flat. He really does suspect Tony, having discovered that the key in Margot's handbag was Swann's.

Mark returns after seeing Tony leave. Meanwhile, on Hubbard's orders, police officers release Margot outside. She tries to unlock the door with the key in her purse, then enters through the garden, proving she is unaware of the hidden key. Hubbard has the handbag returned to the police station, where Tony retrieves it after discovering that he has no key. When he is unable to unlock the front door with the key from the bag, he finds Margot's key on the staircase and opens the door, proving his guilt. With his escape routes blocked by Hubbard and another policeman, Tony surrenders. Source

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