'Dial M for Murder' in 3D at Sag Harbor Cinema - 27 East

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‘Dial M for Murder’ in 3D at Sag Harbor Cinema

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A still from Alfred Hitchcock's film

A still from Alfred Hitchcock's film "Dial M for Murder" which will screen in 3D at Sag Harbor Cinema. COURTESY SAG HARBOR CINEMA

A still from Alfred Hitchcock's film

A still from Alfred Hitchcock's film "Dial M for Murder" which will screen in 3D at Sag Harbor Cinema. COURTESY SAG HARBOR CINEMA

On March 15, film historian and author Foster Hirsch will take part in a Q&A at Sag Harbor Cinema about Alfred Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder.” COURTESY SAG HARBOR CINEMA

On March 15, film historian and author Foster Hirsch will take part in a Q&A at Sag Harbor Cinema about Alfred Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder.” COURTESY SAG HARBOR CINEMA

authorStaff Writer on Mar 2, 2024

Following a successful run of Wim Wenders’s “Anselm” (2023), Sag Harbor Cinema will present Alfred Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder” (1954) in 3D on Friday, March 15, at 6 p.m. Film historian and author of “Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties” (2023) Foster Hirsch will join the cinema’s artistic director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan for a post-screening Q&A. Hirsh will also be at hand to sign copies of his acclaimed new book.

“Foster Hirsh provides a fascinating portrait of a complicated decade for the American film industry,” says D’Agnolo Vallan. “I could not imagine a better guest to contextualize Hollywood’s brief love affair with stereoscopic cinema, when the rise of television compelled the studios to look for new technologies that would dazzle the audience and keep them going to the theaters.”

Recently restored and made available digitally, “Dial M for Murder” was mostly projected in 2D when it was released in 1954. In François Truffaut’s 1966 book “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” the two filmmakers discuss “Dial M.” Truffaut laments the studio’s release of the film: “In France, unfortunately, we only saw the flat version because the theater managers were too lazy to make the necessary arrangements for the distribution of Polaroid spectacles to the audiences.”

Adapted from a Frederick Knott stage thriller, “Dial M for Murder” stars Grace Kelly as an unfaithful wife whose husband, played by Ray Milland, devises a plot to have her murdered after he discovers that she is having an affair.

“Someday, there will be three-dimensional video screens and ‘Dial M for Murder’ will come into its own. But at the time I was making the picture, I worried that 3D may be a fad and that ‘Dial M’ would go down as a ‘flattie,’” Hitchcock told his biographer, Charlotte Chandler in “It’s Only a Movie” (2005). “If someone is going to make a 3D movie, the most convenient medium to adapt is the stage. A play is seen in 3D normally and within the confines of the set it is much easier to control the added complication of shooting in 3D.”

In “Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties” (2023), Hirsh argues that Hitchock’s use of 3D forgoes gimmick by focusing on creating layers to enhance the experiential quality of 3D, rather than just using it for shock value.

“Hitchcock employs 3-D to transform a seemingly ordinary setting into a sinister environment,” he writes. “Foregrounded in 3-D, everyday objects — a lamp, chairs, a desk, a phone — acquire a life of their own, a heightened, glistening presence … ‘Dial M for Murder’ is a model exhibit of the kind of artful, subtle enhancements that 3-D can provide to the right story.”

Tickets for the film are available at sagharborcinema.org. Sag Harbor Cinema is at 90 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

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