Adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel by Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde, this blackly comic thriller focuses on the unique relationship between harried tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger, Rope) and Bruno Antony (Robert Walker, My Son John), a spoiled socialite.
Guy and Bruno first meet on a train and begin discussing their respective personal difficulties - Guy has a vindictive wife (Kasey Rogers, A Place in the Sun) who won't grant him a divorce, while Bruno lives in the shadow of his domineering father (Jonathan Hale, Call Northside 777). As a solution, Bruno proposes that each man murder the person the other one wants dead, a notion that Guy waves off as a joke before leaving Bruno's company....except Bruno isn't kidding, and he's ready to do anything to make Guy uphold his side of the bargain.
Dial M for Murder:
This screen adaptation of Frederick Knott's popular stage drama stars Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) as Tony Wendice, a professional tennis player who conspires to kill his wife Margot (Grace Kelly, Rear Window) when he learns of her infidelity with another man (Robert Cummings, Saboteur).
After hiring a down-on-his-luck crook (Anthony Dawson, Dr. No) to carry out the murder, Wendice assumes his next step will be to collect his wife's sizable inheritance. However, his plans spiral out of control as Margot turns the tables on her would-be assailant, an action that forces Wendice to improvise in order to avoid the suspicions of his wife and a tenacious police inspector (John Williams, To Catch a Thief).
While the complete technical specifications are still unknown for Warner's Blu-rays, the studio offers Dial M for Murder in a Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray combo pack. Warner's press release notes that its "Motion Picture Imaging division...has meticulously and painstakingly restored the original 3D presentation...[at] a 4K scan of the original camera negative...[along with] convergence fixes to ensure perfect alignment."
The discs also contain the following bonus supplements:
Strangers on a Train:
Extended preview version of the film with adult content not present in the U.S. theatrical edition
Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson, Joe Alves, Peter Benchley, Tere Caruba, Whitfield Cook, Katie Fiala, Richard Franklin, Alfred Hitchcock, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, Kasey Rogers, Richard Schickel, and Mary Stone
Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic
Strangers on a Train: The Victim's P.O.V.
Strangers on a Train: An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan
Unless they use some kind of seamless branching, which I doubt, I'm afraid for the two versions of Strangers on a Train, one will be 1080p and the other 480p. All past DVDs have always put the two versions on two discs (or two sides). But I would be shocked they put them on two BDs. Btw, bad cover art.
I think the UK edition of Strangers on a Train will be in 1080p, and I don't see why ruling out seamless branching. Okay, it's not exactly common in WB titles, but you never know. Worst case scenario, it will be two separate encodes on the same disc - since the movie's not so long and the AR is 1,37:1, it wouldn't be so bad either.
Anyway, the cover arts are both horrible in my opinion, even if the one for Dial M for Murder is actually the worst.
It puzzles me that anyone would care about the art work... ? If you want posters, buy them. I am interested in the movie. This announcement is great news.. and I would gladly take the films in a brown paper sack.
I love how in the same place people can complain about cover art AND ask for a slipcover. lol. Most of my disks are in folders anyway, but it's perfectly fine to think the cover art is awful photoshop garbage. The days of competent poster art are mostly gone, in favor of inept children with cut/paste skills.
Still happy they're making the jump to BD. Strangers is one of my faves.
Of all the remaining Hitchcock films not now on, or announced for, BRD, only three--Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion, and The Wrong Man--could legitimately be called A-list titles. Oh, one might make a credible argument for Blackmail, Sabotage, and Young and Innocent, but beyond those, all that remains are forgettable efforts like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Paradine Case, I Confess, Stage Fright, and Under Capricorn. How wonderful it will be, come October, to have virtually all of The Master's greatest films in high-definition!
@zoodermin and shashu1984:
Also don't forget about the "Hitchcock 9", 9 silents of his that are being restored in time for the 2012 Olympics! Who knows when/if they'll get a blu-ray release but geez... this is turning into THE year for a Hitchcock renaissance! :O
Hitchcock shot Dial M for Murder knowingly at 3D was a passing fad, and the fad had all but passed by the time of release. He shot it fully expecting it to be presented in 2D. Not that it isn't cool that it'll be available in that format, but it's mostly a novelty. PS - The Dryden theater at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY has shown it in 3d in the past, and will be showing it again this summer. Worth seeing at least once!
@ 24framesasecond. I personally think I Confess is really terrific stuff. Great Montreal landscapes, terrific performance from Clift. So I'd like to see that make the move to Blu. But, yeah, Stage Fright is really pretty lame. :-)
It's nice that I'll be able to upgrade two of the films from my copy of Warner's Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection box set: Dial M for Murder and Strangers on a Train. And, it's certainly a nice touch that Dial M will be available in 3D.
I agree, though, that it should have come with digibook (like Warner's terrific North by Northwest from a couple years ago) or other special packaging. Also, it would've been nice if the studio had added a few more on-disc bonus features for both films that aren't already on the existing DVDs, especially Dial M, which I've always thought had fairly slim supplemental offerings for such an iconic film.
In the end, though, I'll likely upgrade both with a moderate price drop—although Universal's Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection upgrade will be a higher priority.
So, Warner has three more to go before the whole of the Signature Collection is available on Blu-ray. IF the Universal box turns out to be the success it should be, chances are someone at Warner might get the right idea about a Blu-ray release of that Signature box, don't you think?
I'll probably buy both disks. It would be nice if both the British and American versions of "Strangers..." were in 1080P. Interesting that Pat Hitchcock contributes to the commentary. She appeared in at least one other Hitchcock film (Psycho, bu very briefly). In Strangers she has a fairly significant role.
Donald Spoto, in "Dark Side of Genius" says that Hitchcock was forced by the studio to make "Dial M" in 3D and he disliked the process because the camera was so big and bulky that it "couldn't do this and couldn't do that". However I saw "Dial M" in 3D several years ago and totally enjoyed the experience. Hitchcock resisted the temptation to exaggerate the 3D effect by placing the left and right camera lenses farther apart than normal human eyes.
I like 3D but there have been very few 3D films ("Hugo", "Pina", "Titanic" and a couple of others) that I have any desire to see again - maybe "Dial M" will inspire me to buy a 3D TV. I'd like to see "Kiss me Kate" and "House of Wax" also released in 3D.
Absolutely great news! Two of the best Hitchcock films! Though I agree they could do much better on Strangers on a Train's cover art. It looks too modern for a black and white classic. It would be more appropriate for a Won Kar Wai film, like In The Mood for Love.
The reason the cover art for Strangers on a Train galls me is that it is so NOT what this film is about. One would think -- looking at this cover -- that Warner Brothers was scared of any indication it might give of the homoerotic tension that's readily apparent between the Granger/Walker characters. Really WB? In this day and age?