Dial M for Murder: 3D [Blu-Ray]
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
In the wonderful, and mostly pretentious, world of film theory, Alfred Hitchcock is the standard go-to for introductory auteur concept, having a very distinctive and easily interpreted career trajectory and storyboard vision. He's known for subverting the star system and having a preoccupation with voyeurism, in addition to possessing a knack for deliberate, storyboarded cinematography and propulsive, keenly observed shot composition. With Dial M for Murder, he maintained his vision and thematic compulsion, only limiting it to a single apartment locale, filming the source play by Frederick Knott as is, which Peter Bogdanovich indicates — in the sole Blu-Ray supplement, "Hitchcock and M" — was the only option for Hitchcock, based on his perception of adapting work from a different medium. Here, when ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) hires someone to murder his adulterous wife, Margot (Grace Kelly), the tension comes from both a tightly knit plot of careful planning gone awry due to a minor oversight, in addition to Hitchcock's adeptness at capturing the ire, awkwardness or vitality of any given shot. He's a natural for knowing where to put the camera at all times to keep invigorating something that could easily seem claustrophobic and drab. While the heightened sense of dimension and active involvement that 3D bring simultaneously give context and aesthetic intrigue to the film, it also exacerbates some of the visual limitations implicit in a high definition transfer of an older movie. Some of the grains and colours stand out with unintentional clashing, not having enough clarity or consistency to meet the current medium standards, which, incidentally, is something Hitchcock never would have conceived of, or intended for, his film: 3D home viewership. It's an interesting way to watch a familiar text of nefarious planning and moral preaching, but it's saddled with obvious technical limitations. The 20-minute "Hitchcock and M" supplement is mildly engaging, discussing the intentions of the director and his perspective on this work, in particular. It's just important to fast-forward every time M. Night Shyamalan comes on screen to throw out some inane, uninspired banter.
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