The Forgiveness Of Blood (2011)

 ★★★★

 

The Forgiveness Of Blood (2011) is an Albania drama film directed by Joshua Marston. It is Marston’s second feature film, after his stunning debut, Maria Full Of Grace (2004). Although Joshua Marston has only made these two films, he has already established a reputation for his intense themes and magnificently constructed stories. He pours his heart andThe Forgiveness Of Blood soul into his films, and the result leaves a lasting impression on its viewers.

In a small town in Albania, a family becomes entangled in a blood feud when the father, Mark (Refet Abazi), becomes an accessory to a murder that escalated from a land dispute. Mark goes into hiding to avoid the police and retaliation from the victim’s family. Since Mark has not been punished for his crime, the victim’s family wants to fulfill their lost blood by killing either Mark or one of his sons. His oldest son, Nik (Tristan Halilaj), is about 16 years old, but his younger son is only about six years old. Both boys are forced to remain in their home as a sign of respect to the grieving The Forgiveness Of Bloodfamily, as well as for their own protection. If either are seen outside they will be killed. Nik’s slightly younger sister, Rudina (Sindi Lacej), is also forced to quit going to school and take over Mark’s job delivering bread.

Nik and his younger brother spend countless days upon weeks trapped in their small house, isolated from the outside world, with no end in sight. Although Nik is open to trying to bring in a mediator to help move things along, everyone else involved (including Mark) wants to wait and see what time will do to help the situation. Nik’s isolation quickly turns to frustration and anger because he sees the possibility of spending the rest of his life trapped in the once safe walls of his home, that have now become his own prison.

It is not very often that a movie introduces me to a world to which I have absolutely no comprehension. The story in TheThe Forgiveness Of Blood Forgiveness Of Blood was a completely original idea for me. Obviously I am aware that situations like this do happen today, but I have never before seen it on film. In an era where films all seem vaguely familiar, this one is fresh and deeply intriguing.

One of the most interesting parts of The Forgiveness Of Blood was watching the drastically different “trapped” situations that Nik and Rudina are in. They have both been taken from their youthful existence and forced into completely new and unsettling worlds. Rudina is forced to spend her days selling bread among the townspeople, who all stare at her with their knowing and judging eyes. She has no interest in being responsible for the family, but she does it anyway. Nik, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to be an active member of the family. The Forgiveness Of BloodFrom the very beginning, Nik wants to be involved and even be part of the negotiation process. His entire world has now become what he can see through windows, curtains and planks of wood he has set up around the rooftop gym he has built on his home. He has become completely cut off from everything he once loved.

Joshua Marston and Andamion Murataj have written an extremely emotional story filled with a depth that is invigorating. It is a magnificently shot film, showing the beauty of the country and giving the story a much needed authenticity. Without the location shooting, and unknown actors it would have been hard to embrace the story in the same way, but of course Marston understood this. His keen eye for detail and his desire to educate peopleThe Forgiveness Of Blood everywhere has left me eagerly awaiting his future projects.

The Forgiveness Of Blood is a recent addition to The Criterion Collection, and is available for purchase through their site or on Amazon.com. It is also available through Amazon’s Instant Streaming.

 

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New Blu-ray and DVD Releases For October 23, 2012


Here is a list of some of the premiere new releases to both DVD and Blu-ray for this Tuesday, October 23, 2012. There is a wide variety of choices this week that includes some much anticipated, hard to find films.
  • Magic Mike (2012): This summers hit comedy about the on the rise business of male stripping. From AcademyMagic Mike Award winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Oceans 11, 12 and 13), this film was a huge success this last summer and promises to continue its popularity due to positive reviews and Matthew McConaughey’s significant Oscar buzz for his supporting role in the film. This movie also stars Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Olivia Munn. You can read a full review at French Toast Sunday.
  • Fear And Desire (1953): Stanley Kubrick is one the most acclaimed filmmakers of all time. Fear And Desire is his first full-length feature and has never before been released on any home media. In fact, it is hard to find people who have even seen this film. The rumor was that Kubrick himself tried to destroy all the prints he could find, but luckily for us there were some prints in private collections and now, through Kino Lorber, we are able to see this hard to find war/adventure movie. Stanley Kubrick served as the films director, producer, editor and cinematographer.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012): Yes, this really is a movie. Despite negative reviews, this movie had a relatively decent showing at the box office, and with Halloween around the corner, could be something worth watching in the upcoming weeks. (Although I doubt it.)  I don’t think I need to explain the plot here because the title pretty much tells you all you need to know. This title will also be available in 3D.
  • Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012): A large asteroid is heading for Earth and all efforts to stop it have failed. With three weeks left before impact everyone is acting differently. Dodge (Steve Carell) wants to find his high school sweetheart and his neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), wants to return to England. Together they form a friendship that will last…well, as long as it can. This movie received mixed reviews and was a box office failure. Many critics said that the movie had several problems, but the comedic performances on the parts of Carell and Knightly were still enjoyable.
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971): This drama film from director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy) is the storyTinkerbell And The Secret Of The Wings of a bisexual artist (Murray Head), who is involved in a love triangle with a male Jewish doctor (Peter Finch) and a female consultant (Glenda Jackson). Although this film has been previous available on DVD, this edition, on both Blu-ray and DVD is being released through the Criterion Collection and will include their usual array of phenomenal special features. 
  • Tinkerbell And The Secret Of The Wings (2012): This is a direct to DVD and Blu-ray movie that is the fourth in the Tinkerbell series. Although I have no idea if this movie is any good, the previous three in the series have all been decent movies that have proven enjoyable to the young audiences for which they are made. One downside to this film is that Disney is also releasing it on Blu-ray 3D, and they have packaged them all together in a combo pack at a ridiculously high price. If you don’t need the Blu-ray, you can buy a single disc DVD edition at a more reasonable price.
  • Blade Runner (1982): I think there might be more editions of Blade Runner than any other movie in existence, however I must say that my curiosity has been peeked for this 30th anniversary Blu-ray set. Director Ridley Scott has re-cut the film (yet again) to include new scenes, as well as extended scenes. It is a five disc collection that also includes the 1982 “Theatrical Version”, the 1982 “International Version”, the 1992 “Director’s Cut”, the extremely different “Workprint Version” and hours upon hours of bonus features and documentaries. Right now Amazon.com has this collection for the low price of $23.99.
  • The Penalty (1920): In one of Lon Chaney’s breakout performances, he plays a man whose legs were mistakenly The Penaltyamputated as a child. His anger has grown over the years, and as an adult he has become a gangster determined to get revenge on the doctor who operated on him years before. This film is brought to us by Kino Lorber. You can purchase this film at their website (www.kinolorber.com) at the sale price of $23.46 on Blu-ray or $14.96 on DVD. 
  • Finally this week, there will be three more additions to the Bond Blu-ray collection, You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). All of these were of course included in the Bond Blu-ray collection released last month, but this is the first time you can buy these films on Blu-ray individually.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

 ★★★★★

 

Whenever there is an opportunity to talk about a Wes Anderson movie, you can rest assured that I will be there. With this week’s release of his latest film Moonrise Kingdom (2012) on DVD and Blu-ray, I can use this opportunity to complimentMoonrise Kingdom one of the most visionary and creative filmmakers working today. His films take us to other places that often resemble our own lives, but are uniquely different and far more colorful.

In 1965, Sam (Jared Gilman) is a 12-year-old runaway from his “Khaki Scout” troop’s campsite on the small New England island of New Penzance. Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) enlists the help of the local police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), who proceeds to knock door to door searching for the young boy.

Soon Sharp knocks on the door of Walt and Laura Bishop (Bill Murray & Frances McDormand). After Sharp leaves their home, Laura sneaks out the back and meets Sharp, with whom she is having an affair. All of this is watched through the Moonrise Kingdombinoculars of Laura and Walt’s 12-year-old daughter, Suzy (Kara Hayward).

Sam and Suzy met last summer on the island and have been pen pals ever since. After a year of writing to each other about their troubled lives, they have grown a close bond and have now planned to run away together. Sam is an orphan who constantly jumps between foster homes and Suzy is regarded as a “different” child by her parents, three younger brothers, teachers and friends. The only place they have ever felt comfortable is with each other.

Now Social Services (Tilda Swinton) is on her way to pick up Sam and take him to “juvenile refuge” (and possible shock Moonrise Kingdomtherapy), unless Sam and Suzy can get away in time.

There are so few romance movies with 12-year-olds for main characters. In many ways it’s a shame because these kids seem to understand so much more than the adults that inhabit the same island. Even with the issues that Sam and Suzy face in their personal lives, they are still by far the most mature people they know. Guided by the common bond of being labeled an outsider, and their passion for each other, Sam and Suzy are destined to be together. Whenever they are involved in a conversation with the plethora of other characters in this film, it is always these two that come out as the voice of reason. All the adults are far too concerned with Moonrise Kingdomwhat is “right” or “logical” to ever see the needs that these two amazingly profound and enlightened children have. Sam and Suzy beat all the odds to be together, and much in the same way as Harold And Maude (1971), they have obtained the status of being one of the great romantic couples in film history.

Wes Anderson has invented another world on this island, and because of his enormous attention to detail, he has taken this “fantasy” island and made it a part of our reality. It is like a place right out of a book; only because of the way Anderson (along with co-writer Roman Coppola) shows every detail of their world, New Penzance Island feels real and accessible in an uncanny way. I would love to go exploring across the old trails and forests, finally making my way to “Moonrise Moonrise KingdomKingdom” for a late afternoon swim. I just need a record player, and some Hank Williams to help set the mood.

Many of Wes Anderson’s movies are famous or popular because of his ability to have an abundance of great characters that top tier actors often seem to flock toward. His casts are always full of the biggest names in Hollywood, but for Moonrise Kingdom he has made a film where the two leading characters are completely unknown because of their age. (Although I am sure we will be seeing much more of them in the future.) These two “tweeners” carry the film on their shoulders, yet Anderson has also filled the Moonrise Kingdomrest of the roles with some of the most interesting and entertaining supporting characters of all of his films. Particularly Jason Schwartzman, who though he is only on the screen for less than ten minutes, fills each one of these minutes with non-stop laughs. The delivery of his lines is pure comic perfection, and he adds so much to this movie, even if it’s only for a brief time.

Moonrise Kingdom proves that even today a great script, wonderful characters with equally wonderful performances, and a director with a desire and ability to be a great storyteller are still enough to entertain audiences. It is a wonderfully touching film that can inspire all the “different” people in the world to be themselves and swim against the flow called normal.

Montgomery Clift 1920-1966

Montgomery Clift was without a doubt one of the greatest actors who ever lived. His performances garnered acclaim from everyone who ever saw them, and he completely put himself into each role in his career. Everyone respected his talents, and he made his already great co-stars look even better.Montgomery Clift in The Search

He was born, along with his twin sister Roberta, on October 17th 1920, in Omaha Nebraska. After spending his childhood years all over the world, he made his way onto his first Broadway stage at the age of 15, where his natural abilities soon took over. By 1945, he was headed for sunny California and a life destined for greatness.

There were no small roles waiting for Montgomery Clift in Hollywood. The first film he shot was Howard Hawks’ Red River (1948), alongside John Wayne and Walter Brennan. His performance was highly acclaimed and would be the last supporting role he would play for many years. The next movie he filmed (and Montgomery Cliftthe first to be released) was Fred Zinnemann’s The Search (1948). One of his below the radar masterpieces, The Search is the story of an American soldier in postwar Germany. He meets a young boy who was displaced during WWII and has now run away from the “Displaced Children’s Home”, and is presumed dead. He eventually meets Clift, who is an Army engineer, and the two develop a trust and love for one another. It is an extremely powerful film and one of the greatest performances of Montgomery Clift’s already outstanding career. He was nominated for his first Academy Award for Best Actor, but lost to Laurence Olivier in Hamlet (1948).

Known for being very picky when choosing his roles, Montgomery didn’t make a lot of movies. He chose each role carefullyMontgomery Clift and always gave everything he could to each one of them. After The Search he starred in the Best Picture nominee The Heiress (1949). It isn’t one of his best roles, but it does show his ability to play something different. He also struggled with the script and his costar Olivia de Havilland, and in the end the movie comes off as a great Olivia de Havilland movie, but a weaker Clift movie.

After the release of The Big Lift (1950) and turning down Sunset Boulevard (1950), Clift took what would later become one of his two greatest performances, in A Place In The Sun. It was the first of three films he would make with one of his best friends, Elizabeth Taylor, and it is certainly the best of their three. It is a romantic movie about a young man (Clift) who loves the girl of his dreams (Taylor) from afar. He dates another woman (Shelly Winters), but once he gets the attention of Taylor he tries to leave Winters behind. Unfortunately for him, Winters has become pregnant and wants them to be married. A Place In The Sun is an acting driven movie that completely rest on the shoulders of Clift as the star, and he carries in through from start to finish. The research and “method” acting that Clift put into this performance have been talked about for years, and propelled Clift to one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Director George Stevens tried to tell Clift how to play some scenes, Montgomery Cliftbut Clift eventually did it his own way and in the end Stevens agreed that Clift had been right. It is even said that when Clift was nominated for Best Actor for A Place In The Sun, Marlon Brando voted for Clift over himself in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Oddly enough, Clift had voted for Marlon Brando, who did eventually win.

Next Clift worked with Alfred Hitchcock on I Confess (1953) and with Vittorio De Sica on Indiscretion Of An American Wife. Neither film was a huge success, but it didn’t matter to Clift and his career because for his next film he reteamed with director Fred Zinnemann and made the highly acclaimed and profitable From Here To Eternity (1953). It is another outstanding performance that is filled with pain and suffering on the part of Clift. He is the main character, but with an all-star cast it is hard to give him credit for carrying this film. He was nominated for Best Actor for the third time in the last six years, but once again lost, this time to William Holden in Stalag 17 (1953). This was however the only one of his movies to ever win Best Picture.Montgomery Clift

During the filming of his next movie, Raintree County (1957), he was in a horrific car accident that changed his life for the worst. His image as an American sex symbol changed, and he became severely addicted to painkillers and alcohol. He continued to make films over the next nine years, including some high points in movies like Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), The Misfits (1961) and Judgment At Nuremberg (1961), for which he was again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, even though he was only in 12 minutes of the movie.

On July 22nd 1966, Montgomery Clift died in his townhouse in New York. Officially he died from a heart attack due to “occlusive coronary artery disease.” At the time he was 46 years old, and if he could have found a way to survive in this world, today would have been his 92nd birthday.

Frankenstein (1931)

 ★★★★★

&

My Hall Of Fame

 

Frankenstein (1931) is the most popular and one of the most critically acclaimed of the “Universal Horror Films”, and for good reason. It is a brilliantly crafted film from one of the most intense and terrifying novels of all time. Everyone knowsFrankenstein the story of the obsessed Doctor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his desperate attempts to create life, and yet it remains by many, a misunderstood story. Today when people think of Frankenstein they remember Boris Karloff as a murdering monster, created for the singular purpose of destruction. In fact many youngsters think that Frankenstein is the monster, instead of the doctor, and they picture him unintelligent and green. The “Monster” didn’t set out to be a killer and thanks in part to the numerous sequels (excluding Bride Of Frankenstein in 1935) and parodies, he is seen today as a murderous thug.

Director James Whale was not the first choice to make Frankenstein, but he was the right choice. Producer Carl Laemmie Jr. wanted to make Frankenstein with a German feel, similar to The Golem (1920) and The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920). FrankensteinAs with Whale’s other films, The Bride Of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man (1933), German expressionism is an obvious and heavy influence. The tower where Elizabeth (Mae Clarke) and John (John Boles) visit Dr. Frankenstein is the most uninviting place I have ever seen. It seems to be a leftover set from one of the German films in the early 1920’s. The staircase alone makes anyone feel uncomfortable and desperate for escape. Dr. Frankenstein’s father, Baron Frankenstein (Frederick Kerr), humorously comments on the tower as he climbs the staircase. German expressionism gives the feeling of despair, and therefore became the perfect influence for the horror films that Laemmie set out to create. Frankenstein is certainly a scarier movie because of this German influence.

As I watch Frankenstein I am blown away by the impressive make-up work by Jack Pierce. The Monster has this extremely foreboding look that is pure genius in its design and application. There has been much controversy over theFrankenstein years in regards to who is entitled to the “credit” for this design, but I am willing to give the credit to anyone (and everyone) associated with this picture. What they were able to create with Boris Karloff is monumental and should always be praised as one of the greatest make-up accomplishments in the history of film.

Something else that Frankenstein has that so many other horror films have been missing is the marvelous acting from the entire cast. Especially Colin Clive, who didn’t spend his career making horror films. His three collaborations with James Whale were the only three horror films he made, yet they are also the roles for which he is remembered today. His performance deserves more credit than it receives. He is often over shadowed by Karloff (both figuratively and literally), but in reality it is Clive that is forced to play Frankensteinthe insane doctor believably enough to fill the scenes that don’t have Karloff. The Monster never speaks, and is only in a little over half the film anyway. If Clive doesn’t sell his obsession, and then later his regret, this movie would become slow and uninteresting.

Every aspect of Frankenstein seems to have been given lengthy attention, and in the end Carl Laemmie Jr. and James Whale have created not only the perfect horror film, but also the perfect movie. As memorable and lasting as Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and the German set designs are, these are only a small sampling of the lasting images I have from this film. The climactic windmill scene is a beautiful shot, as is the chase scene leading up to the windmill. However, it is the long shot of the father of the drowned girl walking along the street during the wedding party that will always remain with me. The pain on the father’s face as he walks toward Frankenstein’s house, and then the faces and demeanor of the onlookers as he passes them with dead child in his arms, isFrankenstein an image that is not easy to get over.

Due to the changing times, several cuts were made from Frankenstein in 1934, with the induction of the Production Code. Many scenes and even a line of dialogue (“Now I know what it feels like to be God!”) were removed from Frankenstein completely. It wasn’t until 1999 that we were able to see this masterpiece in its original version once again.

When Mary Shelly began writing Frankenstein in 1816, I am certain she had no idea how popular and important her story would become to the world. She was spending a few months with some friends and Frankensteinhusband in Switzerland and they all started a friendly competition of writing ghost stories. Mary’s escalated into more than that, and with the encouragement of her husband, “Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus” became her first novel, at the age of 21. Her story has continued to inspire and scare people for almost 200 years. I would say she won the “ghost story” competition in the end.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

★★★★

 

In the elegantly crafted Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), director Wes Anderson has once again combined his unusual sense of humor with bright colors and an offbeat script to create a beautiful, stop-motion animation film. In addition, he hasFantastic Mr. Fox gathered an all-star cast of voices that includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Eric Chase Anderson, Owen Wilson and Willem Dafoe, who entertain the audience with their humorous delivery and wit. The result is one of the funniest animated movies of all time, that will leave you smiling and laughing long after the credits are over.

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) is a wild fox that makes his living stealing chickens. When his wife, Felicity (Meryl Streep), becomes pregnant Fantastic Mr. Foxshe asks Mr. Fox to give up his life as a thief for their family’s safety. Years later, Mr. Fox is tired of his mundane life and with his friend, Opossum (Wallace Wolodarsky), he steals everything he can from the local farmers: Boggis, Bunce and Bean (Robin Nurlstone, Hugo Guiness and Michael Gambon).  The farmers become enraged and begin the greatest foxhunt in history. The further the farmers’ dig into the ground, the deeper Mr. Fox has to take his family into the earth. In a desperate fight for survival, Mr. Fox (along with his family and friends) must take on the farmers in a battle between humans and wild animals.

Wes Anderson collaborated with director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) on the animated effects in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004). It was then that they began discussing the possibility of makingFantastic Mr. Fox Fantastic Mr. Fox into a movie, and Wes Anderson decided to undertake the challenge. Even though the rest of his career is filled with character driven live action movies, Anderson was able to use his natural talents as a storyteller to create a truly remarkable and funny movie for everyone to enjoy. This film may be a bit advanced for the youngest audiences, but I don’t even know that Anderson was gearing Fantastic Mr. Fox for children as much as he was making a film for those of us that grew up reading this story.

I have seen hundreds of animated movies in my life, and although many of them are enjoyable, I find Fantastic Mr. Fox to be a great combination of children’s storytelling and adult humor. Director Wes Anderson made this film based on his Fantastic Mr. Foxlifelong adoration of author Roald Dahl (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Matilda) and his many successful children’s books. With this excellent source material, Anderson uses his luminous ability to make normal characters appear quirky and aloof. Everyone in a Wes Anderson movie has personal problems; just like everyone in the real world. That is why his movies are very hit or miss with audiences. Usually we can find a piece of one of his characters that is similar  to someone we know (or perhaps ourselves) and  we are able to laugh because of the way they look through Anderson’s eyes. Some viewers don’t understand these seamlessly insane characters, and others can’t stop laughing at the resemblances we have discovered; even in an animated feature like Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Dial M For Murder (1954)

★★★★★

 

Dial M For Murder (1954) is a suspense drama film, directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock. It is based on the play written by Frederick Knott and became the 16th highest grossing film of the year. It was filmed in the 3D format, but most theatersDial M For Murder showed it in the standard 2D since the novelty of 3D had begun to ware off by the time it was released. Now in 2012, 3D films have become popular once again and Dial M For Murder has been released through Warner Brothers on Blu-ray 3D, which also includes the standard 2D version on the same disc.

Margot Wendice (Grace Kelly) is an unhappily married woman. Her husband, Tony (Ray Milland), has spent too much time and energy on his tennis career, and now Margot has wandered into the arms of a crime novel writer named Mark (Robert Cummings). What she doesn’t know is that her darling husband knows about her affair and has decided that in order to keep the luxurious lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed, he has to have her murdered and collect his Dial M For Murderinheritance.

For her murderer he has chosen an old classmate from college, Charles Swan (Anthony Dawson), whose past is filled with criminal activities. Tony has also decided to use Mark as his alibi the night of the murder. It’s all planned perfectly, if only everything would go according to plan.

Since Alfred Hitchcock made so many brilliant movies, it becomes hard to remember how wonderful each one is individually. In a since, Dial M For Murder has become one of Hitchcock’s most overlooked movies. It isn’t even considered his best movieDial M For Murder from 1954 because just two months after the release of Dial M For Murder, Hitchcock released Rear Window (1954). It also has the distinction of being the first collaboration with the marvelous Grace Kelly. They made three subsequent films together with Dial M For Murder, Rear Window and To Catch A Thief (1955), and I believe Hitchcock would have continued using Grace in every film he ever made if she was willing. (Just imagine Grace Kelly in The Birds (1963), Vertigo (1958), North By Northwest (1959), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) or even Psycho (1960)!) Their three movies Dial M For Murdertogether provide us with a glimpse of the power that a great director/actress relationship can have on films. Even when the divinely beautiful  Grace was matched up against some of Hollywood’s greatest leading men, Hitchcock found a way to make her characters beautiful, sympathetic, adventurous and charming all at the same time.

For all the much-deserved credit that Grace Kelly has received for this movie, Ray Milland seems to have been forgotten. In my opinion, Milland gives one of the most cold-blooded, frightening performances ever. He is completely organized and methodical in his plan, and doesn’t even seem very upset about murdering his wife. He has know about her affair for over a year and insteadDial M For Murder of confronting her, he has let his anger fester until he has died emotionally. All that remains is the fanatical killer who is more concerned about his lavish lifestyle than this woman with whom he still spends each day and night. He even wants to listen on the phone while she is being killed! It is a phenomenal performance, filled with moments that are supposedly surprising to him, but in reality he just sits there playing along with the police.

Over the years there have been hundreds of movies about husbands trying to kill their wives, but Dial M For Murder will always stand out for me because Hitchcock uses his natural abilities as a suspense expert to build each scene slowly. Nothing ever happens quickly in this film. Even the scenes that are set in the quiet living room with all Dial M For Murderthe characters talking about some unimportant subject like “cutting out clippings for a scrapbook”, Hitchcock fills their small apartment with enough suspense to consume a city. And then you can’t forget about the scenes that are supposed to have you on the edge of your seat. When Margot answers the phone and is waiting for someone to speak on the other end, Hitchcock has the camera slowly pan around to reveal Swan standing just inches away from her back. He has the scarf in his hands, ready for the moment she puts the phone down, but just for an extra bit of fun, Hitchcock has Grace start to put the phone down and then pull it back up to her ear one last time. It is in this terrifying moment that Swan gets as close as he possibly can without alerting her to his presence. It is one of the most suspenseful moments ever captured on film, and isDial M For Murder truly a miraculous piece of filmmaking.

It is a perfect suspense movie, filled with flawless performances and marvelous direction. Just because Alfred Hitchcock made ten films that are better than Dial M For Murder, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a wonderful movie; it’s just a credit to Hitchcock’s standing as one of the all time most prolific directors.