A Perfect Murder is based on Frederick Knott's play Dial M for Murder, filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. Married to commodities trader Stephen Taylor (Michael Douglas), Emily Bradford (Gwyneth Paltrow) is romantically involved with artist David Shaw (Viggo Mortensen). Aware of this affair, Stephen researches David's past, visits his loft studio, ...Read MoreA Perfect Murder is based on Frederick Knott's play Dial M for Murder, filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. Married to commodities trader Stephen Taylor (Michael Douglas), Emily Bradford (Gwyneth Paltrow) is romantically involved with artist David Shaw (Viggo Mortensen). Aware of this affair, Stephen researches David's past, visits his loft studio, and informs David that he knows about his aliases, jail sentences, and various cons and scams directed at rich women. Then Stephen offers David $500,000 to murder Emily, and David agrees. The plan is calculated to make the murder look like an accident, but events soon go on an unscheduled course. Enter Detective Mohamed Karaman (David Suchet). Knott's original play opened June 1952 in London, followed by a New York run that began October 1952. Several books and sources describe how Hitchcock's film was made in 3-D but neglect to mention that, despite trade screenings in 3-D, Dial M for Murder was originally released in 1954 with ordinary, flat 2-D prints. It was finally shown to audiences in 3-D during the mid-'80s. Bhob Stewart, RoviRead Less
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Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Douglas are superb here, each looking stunning, with Douglas' suave menace playing havoc with his rich wife's nerves. As the camera pans across the skylight of an old building, the accompanying music adding to the foreboding, you know you can count on some masterful direction. In this building an unkempt artist (Viggo Mortensen) is meeting with Emily (Paltrow) in a passionate, sexual affair. And her husband knows. Herein lies the plot, for this husband is no pussycat but a psychopath who, in a nasty twist, blackmails Mortensen to kill his wife.
Lush, rich venues, a moody, charismatic New York and a life to die for - literally - all add up to one of the most watchable movies of all time.
Douglas has really perfected the character who plays a double game and Paltrow is just right as the wife who is beginning to find out her husband is not all he seemed when they first married. But it is Andrew Davis' direction which makes this film into the perfect thriller - edge of seat stuff - which will be enjoyed again and again.