Cinema: The New Pictures, may 24, 1954

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Dial M for Murder (Warner) started out in 1952 as a British television drama, moved on to long, successful runs on the London stage and Broadway, and has now been made into a first-rate movie. Director Alfred Hitchcock, by shooting the film in three-dimensional WarnerColor, avoids the static quality common to many stage plays when transferred to the screen. The 3-D is used not so much for its shock value as to bring alive for moviegoers much of the theater's intimacy and depth of movement.

Dial M is starred with fine scenes and good performances. Though played as contemporary melodrama, it somehow manages to reflect the gaslight magic of turn-of-the-century London. Murder is the plot, but everyone is extremely gentlemanly about the crime, from the Holmesian police inspector (John Williams) down to the caddish assassin (Anthony Dawson). The crime is conceived by quick-witted Ray Milland, who, losing his wife's love, decides to murder her for her money rather than wait for her to leave him. A solicitous sort who doesn't want to hurt anyone unnecessarily, Milland arranges to spend the night of the murder on the town with his wife's lover (Robert Cummings) as his alibi. For his murder weapon, he selects an old college acquaintance who is amoral as an alley cat. The scene in which Milland bends Actor Dawson to his will is a theatrical delight.

As the intended victim, Grace Kelly is not required to do much more than look beautiful and vulnerable, and she accomplishes both with patrician distinction. The fun of Dial M lies in its duel of wits, and audiences may relish seeing Milland mowed down by superior intelligence rather than by a sawed-off shotgun.

At 25, blue-eyed Grace Kelly is known around Hollywood as a rich girl who made good. She was born in Philadelphia, where her father, John B. Kelly, turned a $7,000 loan in 1919 into a bustling $18 million construction business.* After she finished high school, Grace headed straight for New York, where she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She worked first as a photographer's model, then slowly began to get parts in television, summer stock and, finally, one or two Broadway shows.

A bit part in a movie (Fourteen Hours—TIME, March 12, 1951) got Grace her first big Hollywood role—Gary Cooper's wife in High Noon. After that success, M-G-M signed her to a seven-year contract.

Since her first Metro picture (Mogam-bo), Grace has been busier than a flock of starlets at a cocktail party. Warner Bros, borrowed her for Dial M, and Paramount for three more films, which have not yet been released. All are surefire hits, too: Country Girl (with William Holden and Bing Crosby), Rear Window (with James Stewart), Bridges at Toko-Ri (with Holden). She is now working on Green Fire (with Stewart Granger) for MGM; this summer she returns to Paramount for Catch a Thief (with Cary Grant), follows that with The Cobweb for MGM.

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