Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

The other night I was watching Dial M For Murder while doing various chores, and there's just something about Grace Kelly that makes you sit up straighter. I actually changed clothes from sweats into a nice nightgown because she made me feel sloppy! She's not my absolute favorite* but she was lovely and luminous and always dressed (or was dressed) like a lady. Dial M (her first experience being dressed by Edith Head) wasn't like To Catch a Thief where she gets to swan about in costume after costume; she only wears three or four outfits the entire movie.

Quite easily one of the most stunning dresses on film. What you can't see here is the lovely full skirt and matching satin pumps. Any other woman would look overdone in this head to toe red, but her icy blondeness cools it down.

The gorgeous nightgown from the pivotal attempted-murder scene. Note that it's not actually white, but very sheer white, blue, and pink. If only I could swan about the house in something like this.

This is actually my favorite outfit of the whole movie, because I with I had it. What you can't tell from a screencap is that it's fine tweed, with a swingy skirt with a million tiny knifepleats in it. It's got lovely movement and it looks simultaneously polished and comfortable.

I'd also forgotten how absolutely nervewracking this movie is! The moment when she's repeating "hello!" into the phone and Swann is waiting for his moment to strike is just insane. And repeat viewers can note Hitchcock's artistry in foreshadowing and camera angles.

Apparently, the red dress has a purpose: when she's wearing it, she and her lover are discussing their affair. It's a metaphorical scarlet letter. And as her innocence is questioned and she falls further into danger, the color is drained from her clothing and makeup.I just love touches like that!

This is where I would insert a screed about how people used to dress with care instead of sloppily, but there's a Sunday Night mixed drink calling my name.

What's your favorite old movie? Do you watch the clothes like I do?

 

(Special thanks to Glamamor, where I found the screencaps. )

 

*that honor goes to Lauren Bacall. Sexy, smart, and with a set of balls only Bogart could match? Yes please.

 

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