FILM 1604: DIAL M FOR MURDER
TRIVIA: Warner Brothers insisted on shooting the movie in 3-D although the craze was fading and Alfred Hitchcock was sure the movie would be released flat. The director wanted the first shot to be that of a close-up of a finger dialing the letter M on a rotary dial telephone, but the 3-D camera would not be able to focus such a close-up correctly. Hitchcock ordered a giant finger made from wood with a proportionally large dial built in order to achieve the effect.
During the attack scene according to the script, Grace Kelly was to get out of bed, put her robe on, and answer the phone when it rang. Grace Kelly contended that no woman, being at home, would put a robe on to answer the phone. Alfred Hitchcock agreed, and so the scene was shot with her in her nightgown.
Alfred Hitchcock wanted Cary Grant to star, but Warner Bros felt that he would be miscast as a villain.
Filmed in 3-D, which explains the prevalence of low-angle shots with lamps and other objects between the audience and the cast members. There was only a brief original release in 3-D, followed by a conventional, "flat" release; The New York Times review mentioned it opened with the "flat" release at the Paramount in New York. The 3-D version was re-issued in 1980.
At their first meeting, the untrustworthy Captain Swann is wearing a tie the colors of a Guards regimental tie. However this is not a genuine tie, as the diagonal stripes run in the American direction, opposite to British style. This is a contemporary detail, used by spivs.* The tie resembles the trustworthy Guards tie well enough to fool most, but gives an excuse if a genuine Guardsman queries one's service record. (*"Spiv" is a Britishism for "a man who lives by his wits without regular employment" [Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition].)
Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008.
Warner Brothers forced Alfred Hitchcock to make the movie to fulfill his contract - such was his disinterest that he claimed he could have phoned in his direction, and that the action wouldn't have been any less interesting if he'd staged it in a phone booth.
CAMEO: Alfred Hitchcock: about 13 minutes into the film, Hitchcock can be seen on the left side of the reunion photograph. As he is only seen in a photo, this is the final Hitchcock film in which he does not appear in person.