|'Hitchcock's genius shines in such confines. The latter third is trademark tense'|
'When you're tired, take a hit play and shoot it', Alfred Hitchcock is reported to have said to a Peter Bogdanovich, who contributes to the extras on Warner's new 3D Blu-ray of Dial M For Murder, a film in which the great director does exactly that.
It is an interesting time for Hitchcock high definition releases all of a sudden, with Universal pushing out a collection of fourteen films and this release coming in tandem with, or as part of, a three-film Blu-ray collection from Warner.
Though it appears to lose some of the colouration of 1950's 'Warnercolour' (although the reds still show up vividly), this is still a worthy purchase if you're after some HD Hitch without the lump-sum wallet-draining of the Universal offering. That it is presented as it was originally shot, in 3D, will be a bonus to some, although this review only considered the 2D offering.
But what an offering it is. Unfairly at times hidden behind Hitchcock's more grandiose Thrillers, Dial M For Murder is a compact Mystery, shot in one location, with hardly any action to speak of and a lot of two or three-way conversations to drag us through the narrative.
Yet Hitchcock's genius shines in such confines. The latter third is trademark tense, the characters one step ahead of the audience, the villain, Tony (Ray Milland), not yet caught, the damsel, Margot (Grace Kelly), still in a state of severe distress.
As the ingenious plot motors on, Hubbard (John Williams) is allowed to take centre stage - note how he gets the final shot, combing his moustache no less - and Dial M becomes a Sherlock Holmes piece, yet never losing its charm or compelling nature.
Sure it's stagy, and maybe Hitchcock could have produced this sort of thing in his sleep, but when the outcome is this incredible, does the effort put in matter too much? It's simplistic, yes, but that's part of the Director's genius, which this is a great example of.
Dial M For Murder was released on 3D Blu-ray on Monday 26th November 2012.