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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No matter how clever, it's almost impossible to execute a "perfect crime."
Positive Role Models
An English police inspector passionately seeks justice and works hard trying to outwit a clever killer. Reflective of the time in which it was made (1954), the heroine is fragile, dependent, and hardly capable of making a decision for herself.
Violence & Scariness
There is one scene in which an intruder attempts to strangle a woman in her home; a fierce struggle ensues and someone is stabbed to death with a pair of scissors. Suspense is heightened because the audience knows beforehand that a murder has been ordered.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters are in a long-term extra-marital romance. They kiss in two scenes.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters consume alcoholic beverages in numerous social settings, and on one occasion a drink is offered to soothe the victim of a traumatic experience. There is no drunkenness. Smoking is frequent: cigarettes, a pipe, and a cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while the movie is a typical Alfred Hitchcock thriller which carefully builds suspense, the action itself is restricted to one violent struggle in which there is an attempted strangulation and the victim uses a pair of scissors to defend herself. The rest of the film takes place almost entirely in an apartment in which characters intricately plan, bargain, bluff, blackmail, spar, and attempt to outwit one another. Two leading characters are revealed to have been adulterous lovers for several years. Set in 1954, alcohol is offered at the beginning of almost every scene as a form of hospitality and friendship. Most people smoke: cigarettes, a cigar, a pipe. Other than young film buffs, there's not much that would appeal to kids here. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While not in the pantheon of Hitchcock's greatest achievements, DIAL M FOR MURDER is still considered a classic by many. Its intricate plotting, carefully built tension, and the scheming nature of its debonair would-be murderer keep the talky film moving despite its singular, interior setting.
This is the first Hitchcock-Kelly pairing and the film is credited with making her a star. Curiously, Warner Bros. insisted that the film be produced in 3D, though it was never widely released that way. The film will appeal mostly to Hitchcock fans and old-fashioned "drawing room" mystery lovers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.