Dial M for Murder

1954 film by Alfred Hitchcock

Dial M for Murder is a 1954 film about an ex-tennis pro who carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.

Grace Kelly as Margot Mary Wendice.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Frederick Knott, based on his play.
Kiss By Kiss...Supreme Suspense Unfurls!(taglines)

Tony Wendice edit

  • [to Mark] People don't commit murder on credit.

Chief Insp. Hubbard edit

  • They talk about flat-footed policemen. May the saints protect us from the gifted amateur.
  • Mind you, even I didn't guess that at once... extraordinary.

Other edit

  • Mark Halliday: [to Margot] Darling, I understand now, but that doesn't stop me from loving you.

Dialogue edit

Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?
Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime's the thing. And then you imagine you're going to steal something or murder somebody.
Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It's interesting.
Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal's shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?
Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?
Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.
Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?
Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don't... always. Hmm. I'm afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I'd make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.

Tony Wendice: It's funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn't seen something that changed my mind.
C.A. Swan: Well? What did you see?
Tony Wendice: I saw you.

Tony Wendice: I became curious to know you that I followed you. I followed you home that night And I've been following you ever since.
C.A. Swan: Why?
Tony Wendice: Well, I was hoping that sooner or later I might catch you at something and be able to, ah...
C.A. Swan: Blackmail me?
Tony Wendice: Influence you. After a few weeks, I got to know your routine. That that made it a lot easier.
C.A. Swan: Wasn't that dull work? Following me around in your spare time?
Tony Wendice: To begin with... yes. But you know how it is. It's like a hobby. Once you take up a hobby, the more interesting and fascinating it becomes. You became quite fascinating. They were time that I felt you almost belonged to me.
C.A. Swan: That must have been interesting.

C.A. Swan: Where's the nearest police station?
Tony Wendice: Opposite the church, two minutes walk.
C.A. Swan: Suppose I walk there now.
Tony Wendice: What would you tell them?
C.A. Swan: Everything.
Tony Wendice: Everything? All about "Mr. Adams" and "Mr. Wilson"?
C.A. Swan: I should simply tell them that you're trying to blackmail me into...
Tony Wendice: Into?
C.A. Swan: ...murdering your wife.
Tony Wendice: [laughs] I almost wish you would. When she heard that we'd have the biggest laugh of our lives.
C.A. Swan: Aren't you forgetting something?
Tony Wendice: Am I?
C.A. Swan: You've told me quite a lot tonight.
Tony Wendice: What of it?
C.A. Swan: Suppose I tell them how you followed her to that studio in Chelsea and watched them cooking spaghetti and all that rubbish. Wouldn't that ring a bell?
Tony Wendice: Oh, it certainly would. They'd assume you'd followed her there yourself.
C.A. Swan: Me? Why should I?
Tony Wendice: Why should you steal her handbag? Why should you write her all those blackmail notes? Can you prove you didn't? You certainly can't prove I did. It will be a straight case of your word against mine.
C.A. Swan: That'd puzzle them, wouldn't it? What could you say?
Tony Wendice: I should simply say that you came here tonight, half-drunk, and tried to borrow money on the strength that we were at college together. When I refused, you mentioned something about a letter belonging to my wife. As far as I could make out, you were trying to sell it to me. I gave you what money I had, and you gave me the letter. It has your fingerprints on it, remember? Then you said if I went to the police you'd tell some crazy story about my wanting you to murder my wife. Before you go any further, old boy, do consider the inconvenience. You see, I'm quite well known, and there'd be pictures of you as well. And sooner or later there'd be a deputation of landladies and lodgers who would step forward and testify as to your character. And someone is almost certain to have seen you with Miss Wallace. You were careful not to be seen around with her, I noticed. You usually met in out-of-the-way places where you wouldn't be recognized.

Tony Wendice: By the way does Mrs. Van Dorn know about "Mr. Adams" or "Mr. Wilson" and Miss Wallace? You were planning to marry Mrs. Van Dorn, weren't you?
C.A. Swan: Smart, aren't you?
Tony Wendice: No, not really. I've just had time to think things out. Put myself in your position. That's why I know you're going to agree.
C.A. Swan: What makes you think I'll agree?
Tony Wendice: For the same reason that a donkey with a stick behind him and a carrot in front always goes forwards and not backwards.
C.A. Swan: Tell me about the carrot.
Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.
C.A. Swan: For a murder?
Tony Wendice: For a few minutes work, that's all it is. And no risk, I guarantee. That ought to appeal to you. You've been skating on pretty thin ice.
C.A. Swan: I don't know what you're talking about.
Tony Wendice: You ought to know. It's in all the papers. Middle aged woman found dead due to an overdose of something. Apparently, she'd been taking the stuff for quite some time, and nobody knows where she got it. But we know, don't we? Poor Miss Wallace.
C.A. Swan: This thousand pounds. Where is it?
Tony Wendice: It's in a small attaché case in a check room.
C.A. Swan: Where?
Tony Wendice: Somewhere in London. Of course we don't meet again. As soon as you've delivered the goods, I shall mail you the checkroom ticket and the key to the case. You take this hundred pounds on account.

C.A. Swan: When would this take place?
Tony Wendice: Tomorrow night.
C.A. Swan: Tomorrow! Not a chance! I've got to think this over.
Tony Wendice: It has to be tomorrow. I've arranged things that way.
C.A. Swan: Where?
Tony Wendice: Approximately where you're standing now.

Chief Insp. Hubbard: Sooner or later, he'll come back here. As I've pinched his latch key, he'll try the one in the handbag. When that doesn't fit, he'll realize his mistake, put two and two together, and look under the stair carpet.
Mark Halliday: If he doesn't do that, all of this is pure guess work. We can't prove a thing.
Chief Insp. Hubbard: That's perfectly true. But once he opens that door, we shall know everything.

Margot Mary Wendice: Anyone would have realized he was dead. Just one look at those staring eyes...
Chief Insp. Hubbard: So you did see his face, after all.
Margot Mary Wendice: I saw his eyes! I can't remember his face!

Margot Mary Wendice: Why did you bring me here?
Chief Insp. Hubbard: Because you were the only other person who could possibly have left that key outside. I had to find out if you knew it was there.
Margot Mary Wendice: Suppose I had known?
Chief Insp. Hubbard: You didn't.

Mark Halliday: When did you find out, sir?
Chief Insp. Hubbard: Well, the first clue came quite by accident. [to Margot] We discovered that your husband had been spending a large number of pound notes all over the place - it ran into over three hundred pounds - and it appeared to have started at about the time you were arrested. Now, I had to find out where he got that money, and how. Then I remembered that after you were arrested we searched this flat, and I saw a copy of his bank statement in that desk. So yesterday afternoon, I went to the prison and asked to see your handbag. While I was doing this, I managed to lift your latchkey. Highly irregular, of course, but my blood was up. And then this morning when your husband was out, I came back here to look at his statement. I never saw it... because I never got through that door. You see, the key that I'd taken from your handbag didn't fit the lock!

[Hubbard has just explained Tony's plan]
Margot Mary Wendice: How long have you known this?
Chief Insp. Hubbard: Did you suspect it yourself?
Margot Mary Wendice: No, never. And yet... What's the matter with me, Mark? I don't seem able to feel anything.

[Tony has just been caught]
Tony Wendice: As you said Mark, it might work out on paper, but... Congratulations, Inspector. Oh, by the way... [makes himself a drink] How about you, Margot?
Margot Mary Wendice: Yes, I could do with something.
Tony Wendice: Mark?
Mark Halliday: So could I.
Tony Wendice: I suppose you're still on duty, Inspector.

Taglines edit

  • Kiss By Kiss...Supreme Suspense Unfurls!
  • If a woman answers...hang on for dear life!
  • It Holds You Spellbound with Suspense!
  • Is this the man she was waiting for... or the man who was waiting for her?
  • "...is that you, darling?"

Cast edit

External links edit

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