It’s Eavesdropping’s first anniversary and we celebrate with a film Mike’s been looking forward to seeing for almost a decade. Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder was released at the tail end of the short-lived Fifties 3D craze, and has rarely been seen in that format (even at the time). But it rolls around every so often and this week came to the Electric, so we jumped at the chance to see it.
A dialogue-heavy chamber piece, Dial M for Murder might not seem the obvious choice for the spectacle of 3D, but it’s for this reason that we find it interesting. José, who has seen it before in 3D, recalls his previous impressions of the importance of items – the keys, the handbag, the scissors – and how the stereoscopy relates to it. Mike, who wrote on 3D film at university and has defended it ever since, places Dial M for Murder in context, comparing it to both 3D of the time and today, suggesting how it was ahead of its time.
Away from the 3D, we find the film slight, a trifle, though enjoyable throughout and respectful of the audience – the film’s methodical nature is lovely. We find some of the performances disappointing, and one in particular delightful. We’re glad we saw it, even though José’s spectacles were broken.
José’s note on Dial M for Murder can be found here: https://notesonfilm1.com/2013/08/07/a-note-on-dial-m-for-murder/
With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and only after the event did I realised what a rare occurrence it is to be seen in public. I’m please for Michael he’s now able to strike it off his bucket list.
Would different actors have given better performances? I think we’d all agree that John Williams was perfect to give comedic element as contrast. I think Hitchcock wanted a certain style and this eye candy was required for the four other roles. One can picture Gig Young instead of Robert Cummings but would it add anything? The other three are thoroughly believable to me.
Of course the whole thing relies on the premise that everyone use the same type of latch key and keeps it separate to their other keys. This is stretching a point but doesn’t distract us from being totally immersed from the first minute.