Classic movie screenings don't happen all that often in the suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but when they do you know I'll be there with bells and whistles (and popcorn). Canada's chain of Cineplex movie theatres devises killer screening schedules devoted to classic film twice a year and for most of us, this is the only opportunity we'll have of watching our favourite "old movies" on the big screen in digital format.
This Sunday's screening was of Alfred Hitchcock's DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) starring the dashing - yet lethal - Ray Milland and the regal-looking Grace Kelly. Though I had never seen this film before, it had always been on my classically honed movie radar. I love a good Hitchcock thriller - especially if it's a murder mystery which takes place in London, England - but I've avoided Grace Kelly my entire life (don't ask - all you need to know is that I don't have the highest regard for her). Having said that, though, I'm super-duper glad I decided to drag myself out of bed, into my car, onto the highway, and into a cinema seat this afternoon for the special 3D screening! Side note: Hitchcock in 3D? Yes please!
Here's what you need to know about the film: Tony Wendice (Milland) hires an old college mate to murder his cheating wife Margot Wendice (Kelly). Tony devises an intricate plan that goes horribly wrong that leaves his mate, not his wife, dead. In order to avoid suspicion, Tony tries to divert police attention away from himself and onto his wife, essentially framing her for the murder of Charles Alexander Swann (played expertly by Anthony Dawson). The man that Margot is having an affair with, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), is a popular mystery writer who is committed to solving the riddle of the murder himself and, thus, clearing Margot of the crime and re-establishing her innocence.
DIAL M FOR MURDER is the kind of film that leaves the audience pretty much breathless by the time its end credits roll. For me, this is the feeling I live for, especially when watching a movie classic that's earned a reputation over the years for being a prestige piece that will most likely endure for many more decades to come. Classic films like these never fail to impress me and when I leave the cinema I find myself walking taller with an inevitable spring in my step, proud of my taste in film.
One thing I like to do before leaving the theatre is listen in on other people's hushed (and sometimes very enthusiastic) conversations regarding the movie, the story, the characters, and their overall movie-watching experience. Sometimes I join in (more like butt in) and sometimes I leave in a hurry if I see that people are displeased and incensed by the picture's quality, the cinema's blasting A/C, or the stale popcorn that we were all forced to fork over $6 CAD for (Cineplex, you need to work on that).
So, what's next? Cineplex is hosting a special Halloween-flavoured screening of THE MUMMY (1932) and THE WOLF MAN (1941) together on a double bill on Wednesday October 29th and Thursday October 30th. And, before anyone asks, yes I will most likely be there despite the fact I've never liked Halloween. If there is a chance to see Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. on the big screen, I wouldn't miss it for the world! If you'd like to check out the full Cineplex Classic Film Series schedule yourself, visit the Cineplex Events page [click here].