Dial M For Murder 3D

Featured In Issue 170, October 2012

3D Picture4.5
WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Not Indicated
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Alfred Hitchcock
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DTS HD Lossless 2.0
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Dial M For Murder, Alfred Hitchcock's suspense classic, was one of the first films that helped Warner Bros. introduce 3D in U.S. theatres in the early 1950s. Originally designed to lure audiences away from their TV sets, 3D utilized a "left-eye/right-eye" dual projection process and polarized glasses, the basis for what is seen today. However, with the advent of CinemaScope, "the miracle you can see without glasses" and the higher costs associated with 3D, the fad was fading by the time Dial M For Murder was released in theatres. As a result, most 1954 moviegoers only saw the film projected in 2D, and it wasn't until the early 1980s that a classic 3D film revival allowed the film to be briefly seen theatrically, albeit in a "faux 3D" 70 mm composite print. Ranked Number 9 on the America Film Institute's 2008 list of the 10 greatest films in the "Mystery" genre, the story chronicles American writer Mark Halliday (Cummings) as he engages in a relationship with the very married Margot Wendice (Kelly) in London. He unknowingly sets off a chain of blackmail and murder. After sensing Margot's affections for Halliday, her husband, Tony Wendice (Milland), fears divorce and disinheritance, and plots her death. Knowing former school chum Captain Lesgate aka Charles Swann (Anthony Dawson) is involved in illegal activities, Tony implicates her as being guilty of premeditated murder. Halliday must out-strategize Tony to save Margot's life. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurette Hitchcock And Dial M (HD 21:37) and the original 1954 theatrical trailer.

The 1.78:1 1080p MVC 3D picture is presented in black and white and not in the 1.85:1, the aspect ratio of the original theatrical release. Thanks to advanced Blu-ray technology and the efforts of Warner Bros.' Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) division, this authentic classic has been meticulously and painstakingly restored to its original 3D presentation. MPI's work included a 4K scan of the original camera negative, and a full restoration of the two "eyes," as well as convergence fixes to ensure perfect alignment. This 3D presentation illustrates just how natural 3D can be in terms of depicting dimensional space and depth. While the film is pretty much limited to an interior apartment, by the time of the end credits every angle and household item is fully explored. And impressively, everything appears in proper perspective and to scale. Technically, the color palette is fully saturated with generally natural fleshtones and warmly hued textural depiction. Contrast is well balanced with deep, though undefined and crushed blacks, and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is significantly softly focused, especially in medium and background shots, with detail limited to close-ups. As a result, the visual experience appears dated, though, remarkably impressive for a restoration of a film released theatrically 58 years ago. The 3D perspective is of the positive parallax direction of looking into the frame, conveying the sense of an invisible observer in the room with the actors. This is the magic of 3D and Dial M For Murder excels in conveying that visceral sense. (Gary Reber)

The original theatrical soundtrack was produced in monaural using the RCA Sound System. The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 2.0-channel soundtrack is dual monaural. While the fidelity sounds dated, the dialogue is impressively natural sounding and nicely integrated. The music score is the other prominent element that is virtually a constant. The music, however, is compressed and distorted, though, otherwise clean sounding without noise, hiss, or hum. Overall, this is an undistinguished monaural soundtrack that is indicative of the quality of the day. (Gary Reber)