The Curious Case and Crime of Jane Leigh-Perrot

In 1799, Jane Leigh-Perrot went on trial for theft, a serious crime that could result in death. Stealing lace, believe it or not, was a capital crime that at worst-ended in hanging, and at best sent to Australia.

She managed to escape this fate, but really laid the defense on thick. Was she always innocent and won justice? Or a guilty woman using wealth as her golden ticket to freedom?

Hmm…

Why do we care about this woman?

I don’t know…

She is Jane Austen’s aunt.

Yes, so I’ve been reading the book Just Jane by Nancy Moser, and when it got to this part I was blown away and had to do more research.

So Jane’s first visit to Bath, an experience she later used in Northanger Abbey, was all because of her aunt of uncle. Like the characters in her novels, Jane had a wealthy family member that brought her along on a trip.

Jane visited in 1797 and while it was a fruitful trip, for us readers, she wasn’t too into it. Two years later the Austens received the news that the very aunt who took Jane on the trip, Aunt Jane Leigh-Perrot, was arrested, living in jail, and on trial for thievery.

So what caused a wealthy woman to ever be in a situation like this?

Huh?

Well, she had stopped at a shop to pick up a length of black lace. When she was leaving, she was asked by the shopkeeper to see her bag and inside was the black lace and a seam of white lace worth 20 shillings (£1)

What?

Jane Leigh-Perrot said it was a mistake by the shopkeeper, while the shopkeeper said it was shoplifting. Jane Leigh-Perrot was arrested the next day and had to be in jail for 8 months!

Wait a sec, let’s be real. Jane Leigh-Perrot was a wealthy woman, because of her husband and family influence she didn’t have to stay in the jail but stayed with the jailer’s family.

While that was better than the jail, it still wasn’t the standards she was used to. Not only did Jane Leigh-Perrot stay, but her husband stayed with her.

“Vulgarity, Dirt, Noise from morning till night…Cleanliness has ever been his greatest delight, and yet he sees the greasy toast laid by the dirty children on his knees, and feels the small Beer trickle down his Sleeves on its way across the table unmoved.”

When Mrs. Austen found out about her sister-in-law she wanted to send both her girls to comfort her.

Luckily, Mrs. Austen’s brother declined the offer and Jane didn’t have to spends months in “jail”. We might have had a much different novel if she did.

Catherine Morland in prison

The trial came and went, justice was served swiftly and Jane Leigh-Perrot was declared “not guilty” and the whole thing hushed up.

So did she do it?

Hmm…

Well let’s take a look. What goes against her ever being a thief? What is for the idea of her being a thief?

AGAINST: She’s a wealthy woman? Why would she bother stealing when she could afford as much ribbon as she wanted.

FOR: Being wealthy is no excuse. How many times have we read stories about wealthy people and stars doing things like this. Sometimes their ego gets in the way of their good choices.

AGAINST: Mr. Filby, the man who accused Jane Leigh-Perrot, later tried to blackmail the Leigh-Perrots. What honest man would resort to blackmail?

FOR: Mr. Filby and Miss Gregory (the shop owner) went several days in a row to the magistrates to try and have them arrest Jane Leigh-Perrot, with what seemed like no avail. Could it be they were tired of never getting justice and went after their own kind of justice?

AGAINST:The detail drawing of the shop that was used in the trial show that the places the lace was hanging there was no way the clerk could ever have “mistakenly” grabbed the wrong color. Did he purposely put it in?

FOR: The detail drawing of the shop that was used in the trial show that the places the lace was hanging there was no way the clerk could ever have “mistakenly” grabbed the wrong color. It was purposely taken. By Jane Leigh-Perrot?

AGAINST: The Leigh-Perrots were respectable citizens with philanthropic tendencies, while Mr. Filby and Miss Gregory were having an extra-marital affair.

FOR: The Leigh-Perrots hired four lawyers to defend them and paid £2000 for character witnesses. Why would they spend so much?

AGAINST; Others came forward and said that the same clerk, Mr. Filby, put things in their bags.

FOR: Another shopclerk said he saw Jane Leigh-Perrot take the lace.

So did she or didn’t she? We may never know.

Oh, well

To read more, click here.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen Eyes

For more Jane Austen on trial, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more posts, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

 

 

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Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

So it has been a while since I reviewed the first episode for Horrorfest V. I had meant to do it in December, but then wasn’t able to as I was so focused on the 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves.

I was planning to do it in January, but then I was trying to finish the 30 day challenge as I was behind.

Then February came with Romance is in the Air: Part V and the evacuation; and the next thing you know it is almost April, but here we go.

So I actually enjoyed the first episode, which surprised me as I did not care for the book. In the TV show it looks like they are playing up the supernatural aspect more and trying to make it more mysterious.

I didn’t care for their portrayal of Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam, but I enjoyed the way Darcy was played.

We last left off with Elizabeth discovering a letter burned by Colonel Fitzwilliam. Will we discover what it held?

Will Wickham be put on trial for the murder of Captain Dennys?

Will the Darcy-Bennet-Bingley family stay strong or be ripped apart?

Now will my views stay the same or change?

So we start off this episode with Darcy having a tender moment with his son ad I like that they included this in the TV show instead of just shutting the children off. I know that most parents in his position and wealth didn’t spend a lot of time with their children, having them occupied with governesses and the like; but I feel like both Darcy and Elizabeth would play a bigger role in their children’s lives. I mean look at the way he treats Georgiana.

Lydia is staying with them for the ordeal and Darcy meets with the doctor who had been looking in on her, and sends him on his way. Elizabeth tries to gather the servants to deal with the situation and calm everyone down. Sadly, Mrs. Bennet is going to cause issues with her dramatics-as always- but luckily the Doctor hadn’t left yet and can deal with her exclamations.

The servants are agog and shocked at when they find out the ball is canceled, but of course they can have no such thing with what Wickham is facing.

So Wickham is being such a

All he does is go on and on about what he wants.

 I mean he is in jail for murder and all he wants is for Darcy to go to his every whim and get him a better room.

But interestingly, Wickham seems to have something on the Colonel as whatever he asks for, Colonel Fitzwilliam supplies.

Hmm…

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Wickham, a secret deal?

One things this TV show does really well, is play around with the setting. They show the grand estate, the opulence, but also how empty it is- creating a beautiful contrast. We have the beauty and decorations, showing how they should be happy for Christmas and the ball but instead faced with such horror-and each filled with loneliness.

Darcy and Elizabeth are having miscommunication issues. Elizabeth keeps trying to talk to him, but Darcy has retreated into himself and is so cold toward her.

You need to communicate with your wife, man.

Seriously

Elizabeth is completely broken hearted about everything that has been going on and thinks back to one of her early days as Mrs. Darcy and how everyone talked about her and her family. Poor Elizabeth. She now wonders if Darcy regrets marrying her, as she has tied him to the very man he cannot stand and wanted to never see again.

Henry Alveston lends them his skills as a solicitor and prepares the family for what will happen and what they should do.

Georgiana also wants to help but Col Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy wants to send Georgina far away to distance herself from everything, but Georgiana doesn’t want to go. Poor girl, poor Georgiana. She has gone through so much and has faced such trauma but still remains strong.

Darcy is brooding, Colonel Fitzwilliam is brooding, Henry is brooding, etc. I know I have said I love brooding men, but we have too many.

Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, the one who is investigating as Darcy is related to Wickham, returns to interview everyone about what happened that night.  Nothing seems quite right, and Sir Selwyn is on the case to solve it. He questions Lydia but she isn’t helpful at all.

Ugh!

She is an empty flowerpot-her and her mother.

Elizabeth tries to speak to Darcy about the letter she found, but he won’t even discuss it and refuses to believe that his cousin could have done anything wrong. He is closer to him than any other, of course he would believe the best.

Unfortuantely, Elizabeth did not know that her dad was sitting in the library and he has overheard the whole fight.

So embarressed

He tells her that he called for Jane, and she and Bingley will be arriving soon to aid the family.

The two then go one to laugh at Lydia and her outrageous behavior. I loved this addition as I thought it was a cute image of her and her father’s relationship and shows how much she is his favorite.

Elizabeth questions the maids who saw the “ghost” the other day as she is trying to find out more about the woman. Could it be the same one that hissed at her? Elizabeth tells Sir Selwyn about the woman, hoping it might help bring Selwyn’s view on someone else, but no dice. Sir Selwyn is focused on only one man.

Colonel Fitzwilliam sees Georgiana with Henry and doesn’t like it at all. He wants to marry her and he doesn’t trust Henry at all, even though Henry is trying to help him.

I know, right?

Jane arrives and setss out to comfort all. She tries to support Lydia, but all Lydia does is go on and on about her needs and wants. Ugh, what a jerk. She and Wickham deserve each other. Jerks flock together.

Colonel Fitzwilliam finally tells everyone  where he was when he took off that night. He says that he had a meeting with a lady who needed help with her brother and he was trying to protect her reputation. Is he telling the truth?

Hmm…

I can’t help feeling for Darcy. Poor guy- this is tearing him apart.

When they attend church all  the people can talk about is Wickham’s arrest. Lydia totally loves the drama and plays up her role of the injured wife for all to see and feel sorry for.

Ugh.

Oh come on. I really want to punch her in the face-Sidney from Scream style.

I love the minister of their church. He is hilarious! He knows that the big turnout is because they all want to gossip about the murder and isn’t above getting the little digs and letting people know that he knows what they are up to.

Elizabeth tries to hold Darcy’s hand, and get support but he breaks the hold and instead goes off with their son.

Jane and Mr. Bennet team up to take care of Mrs. Bennet and Lydia to try and shield the Darcys.

Let me just say that I love this version of their father as he is so hilarious and animated.  This Mr. Bennet is much more active and how I believe Jane Austen wrote him.

Henry tries to propose to Georgiana and I have to say I really like him and want them together. In the book he was so bland, boring, and seemed to be a good choice for the villian. He’s much better in the TV show as James Norton was just fantastic.

Elizabeth and Jane decide to visit the butler’s cabin and check on his sick son William. Darcy drives them over but remains in the carriage. As the ladies are walking over to deliver the books for William, Elizabeth spies Louisa with her baby nephew George that she brought back from her sisters. But to Elizabeth’s shock she sees Louisa os nursing the baby!

You know what that means. The baby George is actually her child. But why the pretense? Why won’t the father help her take care of him? Who is the father?

The two cut their visit short as something not right-besides Louisa being the real mother-the air is thick with tension. As they leave, Will creepily stares at them through the window.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

When they get back to the carriage, it turns out that Darcy has now disappeared. Jane goes into the cariage while Elizabeth searches the woods. Where could he be? Maybe the grave of the crazy grandfather?

Hmm…

Yep, he’s there. Of course, he doesn’t tell Elizabeth anything and she has to find out the story from Georgiana. It turns out that their great-grandfather was a gambler and almost lost Pemberely. Darcy is afraid, has been afraid since a boy that he will be the Darcy to lose everything. His proposal makes a lot more sense now doesn’t it?

Elizabeth understands her husband more than ever and why duty is so important to him. And knowing this causes her heart to break even more. She reveals to Jane that she is afraid that Darcy regrets her, regrets everything, that they embarrass him. The cold way he acts, how he is shutting her out-it is killing her.

Stress, shame, scandal- it is all too overpowering.

Darcy goes to visit Wickham in his cell, and this is not fun or pleasant. Darcy thinks back to when he forced Wickham to marry Lydia, that was ot pleasant either. Wickham is so evil! He doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than himself. He didn’t care a twig about Lydia, he already has the price prepared to which he can be bought off. Sock him in the face please, someone.

We need a modern adaption where someone knocks him in the face pleaseProm and Prejudice has a good whack in it but I want more.

I have to say that when I first saw Matthew Goode, I didn’t think he could be Wickham. Prior to this I had only seen him in Chasing Liberty, as undercover British FBI agent that is protecting the President’s daughter. But he completely blew me away in his performance. He is probably the best Wickham I have ever seen as he is just so deplorable! I mean words cannot describe how horrible and hideous this character is.

I mean he is sitting in jail about to be determined whether or not he will be tried for murder and all he can think of is being famous!

Yes, he is trying to use his “experience” to make him money. And then he has the gall to try and get money from Darcy. Slap him please.

Seriously

Darcy agrees to help if Wickham is released. Wickham assures him he will be as he did not kill his friend. But if not him, then who?

Hmm…

Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are just awful to Darcy, so Jane takes them away, hoping that she will be able to isolate the damage they will make. Let me tell you, she and Wickham are a matched set as she created her own memoirs to “cash in” on his arrest.

Ugh.

Back at the Darcy’s Colonel Fitzwilliam asks for Georgiana’s hand. Darcy is a great big brother and wants her to decide, but is very pro-Colonel. Elizabeth is extremely against it, vehemently discouraging about the Colonel’s traits. It is really odd as six years earlier, Elizabeth was thinking about marrying the Colonel herself.

As I said before, I don’t like this version of Colonel Fitzwillam. They make him act like such a jerk and nothing at all like the jovial version in Pride and Prejudice.

Sir Selwyn calls Darcy to look at some carvings he found close to the murder site. Darcy knows nothing about it but Selwyn thinks he is the one who carved the tree, a big FD for Fitwawilliam Darcy.

Louisa comes to Elizabeth and tells her the truth about the baby. She feel in love with a handsome soldier, Freddie Delancy. When she discovered she was pregnant she hid it from her parents and brother, staying with her sister until her son was born. Freddie promised her that he would take care of her, marry her, and take her and their son away from her. However, Elizabeth knows that this probably will not happen. Most likely Mr. Delancy is a fake name and has taken off.

Henry has returned and asks for Georgiana’s hand, but she turns him down. When Elizabeth goes to talk to her, Georgiana admits that she loves Henry, but must do her duty to protect Pemberley and the Darcy name. She choses Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Noooo!

Darcy heads off to the inquest, what will be the outcome?

This TV show is so much more dramatic than that dry dust of a book. I feel like I don’t know what will happen next even though I have read the book! The emotions of the scenery and the actors just sends my pulse running and has completely captured me. Good job all.

Henry goes to Darcy and offers his help again, and all I can say is good thing they know a lawyer. Such a sweet guy even though his love and dreams have been crushed- a real man.

 The inquest such a lively affair, I have never seen anything like that in present times.

Elizabeth decides to head to the inquest to speak to Darcy and take thim lunch, having Louisa accompany her.

The witnesses go on the stand and tell their stories, and it does not look good for Wickham, not at all. When Wickham takes the stand, he claims  he is innocent, but the other quickly twist and destroy his testimony. It doesn’t help that Wickham is a cocky little jerk.

What a jerk

The question comes about why he is banned from Pemberley and Darcy has to take the stand. Darcy goes up there and is a total rock, telling them all that Wickham is an affable man and not violent.

Jury sent out to consider verdict-will he go on trial or be acquitted?

Elizabeth reveals to Elizabeth that she sent off letters trying to discover the regiment that Freddie Delancy is with, but they have no record of him. Freddie does not exist, he is a liar, is missing, and most likely will not come back into Louisa’s life. Louisa is heartbroken and sets out to deliver Darcy’s food when she sees Wickham and recognizes him. He is Freddie!

The episode ends with Wickham to go on trial; shouting by all; Louisa hystrerical; and a fade to black!

THAT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

It made me want to watch the next episode immediately!

So I’m still not happy with a couple of things (the way the actors portray Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam), but everything else in this TV series is just downright AMAZING! You definitely need to check it out.

For more on Death Comes to Pemberley, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Too Pretty

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

Dial M For Murder

Do you really believe in the perfect murder? Mmm, yes, absolutely.

So after years of his absence from my Horrorfest countdowns, I have finally included Alfred Hitchcock in not one, not two, but three posts.

Double double yay

Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite director. He was influential in creating new ways of filming psychological thrillers, he is often credited for creating the true horror genre/slasher film with Psycho (1960), and was just a pure cinematic genius. He is just amazing.

Awesome

Dial “M” For Murder is one of his highly known films (although not as known as Vertigo or Psycho). It has been referenced or parodied in countless films and TV shows. In the ’90s they even remade the film under the title A Perfect Murder. It starred Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortenson; but it wasn’t nearly as good.

MeanGirls I know right!

This film also started Hitchcock’s filming relationship with Grace Kelly. This film was crucial in her career as it made her stand out not only to Alfred Hitchcock but other directors as well, a huge step to becoming a permanent leading lady. After this film she starred in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Hitchcock was impressed with her ideas and thoughts on the script in how a woman would act (especially regarding clothing), that after this film he allowed her to make all her own wardrobe decisions. She, like Audrey Hepburn,  quickly became known for her style and class. But that wasn’t the only thing that Hitchcock found attractive, he really liked her and fell for her; but she wouldn’t give him the time of day, (romantically that is). (For more information on Hitchcock and his leading ladies, I strongly suggest the book Spellbound by Beauty by Donald Spoto. It’s an amazing read!) And sadly she had to retire from acting at an early age as she married the Prince of Monaco. However short a career, it was an amazing one.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This film also reunited Hitchcock and Robert Cummings, who had starred in an earlier film, Saboteur (1942).  In this film Cummings plays an important role, but a smaller one than his earlier collaboration.

This film is also the only Hitchcock film to ever be shot in 3-D. In the 1950s, 3-D was super popular, so popular that some people came up with the idea of Smell-O-Vision to beat it (I’m serious!). Hitchcock didn’t want to shoot in 3-D, but until the late 1960s, studios had a lot more pull and Warner Bros. wanted it. Hitchcock obliged, although it did cause a few issues for him as he had to rework his known style to incorporate what 3-D was able to accomplish at the time.

So the film is based on the play of the same name Frederick Knott, and he also helped write the screenplay. It is set in England and as  you can guess from the poster, the phone plays a huge role in this film as well. That really seems to be a theme this month. I swear that wasn’t planned.

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

DialM1954-WB-still

So before I start the film, let me give you the background on the characters. Now as you watch the film things are revealed to you, but it’s easier for me to give them at the start.

So we have a couple, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) and his wife Margot (Grace Kelly). Tony was a huge tennis star and met Margot when he was competing. She comes from a very wealthy family. The two were married and Margot convinced him to give up competing as she didn’t like him being away. He complied and now sells sports equipment. However, as he no longer is the dashing tennis star, she lost interest in him and had an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) an American Crime writer.

keanu Whoa

As the film starts out we have Margot and Mark in a very cozy embrace.

BMW Kiss

“Margot Mary Wendice: Let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I’ve been waiting for that.

Margot Mary Wendice: I haven’t told him anything about us.”

Margot tells Mark that she burned all his letters, except one. That one was stolen by a blackmailer who demanded payment, but he never picked up the money or returned the letter. She is worried that her husband will find out.

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

whoCares

He wants them to tell Tony all about the affair so that Margot can get a divorce and the two can marry. Margot doesn’t want to as “she feels bad” about hurting “Tony’s feelings”.

dial-m-for-murder-1954

Now I’m no expert, but if the person doesn’t want to break up the relationship, it seems to me that they want, to quote an old cliché, “have their cake and eat it too.” I think Margot likes the respectability of her marriage and doesn’t want the divorce scandel, but at the same time is heavily intrigued by Mark. And who can blame her? Robert Cummings is a looker.

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

That night Tony is introduced to Mark, him being Margot’s “friend”. The two discuss Mark’s profession.

Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?

Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime’s the thing. And then you imagine you’re going to steal something or murder somebody.

Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It’s interesting.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal’s shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?

Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

Mark Halliday: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.”

Tony invites Mark to join him for a tennis party, and Mark agrees. Its all men, so Margot will be staying home. After a bit more pleasantries Margot and Mark leave to go out “as friends” to a theatre show that Tony didn’t want to see, while Tony stays home to “work” on some stuff.

dial m for murder

After they leave, he calls up an old friend. Swann (going by the name Captain Lesgate) from his old Cambridge days. He brings him there under false pretenses of wanting to purchase a vehicle from him. He then tells Swann that he wants him to murder his wife.

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

Tony Wendice: For a few minutes work, that’s all it is. And no risk, I guarantee.”

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

dial-m-for-murder-1954-alfred-hitchcock-cummings-milland-plan-murder

Tony only married Margot for her money, and it really injures his pride to see her cheating on him and tossing him over like an old shoe. He followed her one day and discovered the affair.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

He wanted to kill Mark.

dialMforMurder Killer Hate

He then moved to the idea of murdering his wife. But things changed…

“Tony Wendice: It’s funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn’t seen something that changed my mind.

C.A. Swann: Well? What did you see?

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

Back in the day, Swann was always getting into trouble for all kinds of stuff, and it struck Tony that he could commit the perfect murder. He then began extensive planning. He has been collecting £1000 over the year, under the guise of racetrack betting, etc.; compiling the money for such a purpose.

He even went to great lengths to get one of the letters from Mark and pretended to blackmail her. With Mark back in town he has set up the whole scenario on how to murder her even planning to use Mark as an alibi, as being the husband he will be the first suspect. All he needs is someone to do it for him. He has a lot of information on Swann’s background (as he has been tracking him) and uses it to blackmail him into completing his murderous plot. And he has to do it tomorrow.

He reveals his perfect plan.

“Tony Wendice: At exactly three minutes to eleven, you’ll enter the house through the street door. You’ll find the key to this door under the stair carpet here.

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

Tony Wendice: That’s the one. Go straight to the window, and hide behind the curtains. At exactly eleven o’clock, I shall go to the telephone in the hotel to call my boss. I shall dial the wrong number. This number. That’s all I shall do.”

His wife will answer the phone, and then Swann can strangle her and leave through the french windows.

perfect plan

Swann agrees to the plot as he feels he has no other choice in the matter. Tony is estatic as everything seems to be going along perfectly.

thats-how-its-done

But then things start falling apart. Margot doesn’t want to stay home. She is thinking of going out to dinner and seeing a movie. Mark thinks it’s a great idea but Tony convinces her to stay home.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Don’t make me stay home. You know how I hate doing nothing.

Tony Wendice: Doing nothing? Why there are hundreds of things you can do. Have you written to Peggy, thanking her for the weekend? And what about those clippings? It’s an ideal opportunity.

Margot Mary Wendice: Well I like that. You two go gallivanting while I stay home and do those boring clippings.”

dial M for murder

Before Tony leaves, he stills Margot’s key from her bag and puts it in the marked hiding place. Keeping his key in his pocket, he and Mark leave for the party.

Back at the home, Margot has been working hard on her scrapbooking. She eventually goes to bed, putting everything away…at least almost everything. She actually forgets the scissors and leaves them by the phone.

That night everything starts being put into motion. Swann enters the place the same way that Tony planned it out. He leaves the key under the stair and hides behind the curtains waiting for the phone.

However, back at the party, things aren’t quite going as planned.

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

Tony’s watch stops and he has to ask for the time, finding out that it is actually past 11:00.

What!

He hurries to the pay phone and makes the call, hoping that everything else goes accordingly. Margot gets up to answer the phone. As she is talking, Swann reaches out to strangle her.

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

But instead of overpowering her like he’s supposed to, Margot ends up getting him. As the two are struggling, she reaches for something…anything to stop him. She ends up grabbing the scissors and stabbing him with them, completely killing him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Margot is a mess and is freakin’ out. I can’t blame her, someone is trying to murder you and you kill them.

I don't know what to do

Tony tells her to touch nothing and wait for him. He’s on his way over.

As he heads over Tony freaks out. His plans have failed. But then something comes to him. A new plan, a way to fix things.

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

He decides to make it look like Swann was blackmailing Margot and that she murdered him rather than self-defense. He calls the police and sends Margot to bed. He then plants Mark’s letter in Swann’s coat, takes the key and puts it back in Margot’s handbag, and burns the scarf that Swann was going to use, replacing it with Margot’s stocking. He then tells Margot to make sure she doesn’t tell the police that he told her not to call the police. He’s worried how it might make her look. However, Tony is plotting very well, and the police begin to strongly suspect her.

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

The police figure out that Swann did not come through the French Windows. He must have come through the hall, as it rained the night before. If he had come through the garden there would be muddy footprints. Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) strongly suspects Margot and believes her to be the killer. We cut to a scene showing Margot on trial amd sentenced to be hanged.

perfect plan

Except thing are not quite perfect.  There are quite a few things Tony didn’t plan. One of which was getting rid of the money. As Tony mentioned, he’s been drawing a lot of money out of his bank every week, pretending to spend it on racehorses. He had planned to give it to Swann, but now is at a loss. He can’t put it back in the bank as there would be too many questions. He can’t keep it, if the police find it, it’s all over for him.

I don't know what to do

So he tries to spend it all. Unbeknowest to him, the police are watching him very carefully. And they notice this.

Months later, on the night before Margot’s execution,  Mark comes to speak to Tony. He tells him that instead of letting Margot die, he should say that he tried to murder her. That he hired Swann. This will give him some jail time but save Margot’s life. Tony does not want to do that.

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

Inspector Hubbard comes back to the flat to question Tony some more about the money he’s been spending. Mark hears this and starts searching, finding the briefcase full of money.

What!

Tony thinks of a lie quickly and says that this was the money Margot had to give to Swann, but then changed her mind and killed him. The Inspector listens and takes his comment as fact…or does he?

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

Now, if Tony was really smart he would have made up a different lie. I would have said that I realized there was nothing between me and Margot and was planning on leaving her. However, I knew that I wouldn’t get much money in the divorce (he signed a prenup), so I’ve been taking some money out, bit by bit. When the murder happened, I knew it would come to light and was afraid that it might put me in a bad light or under suspicion. I mean its not the perfect excuse, but at least it shows he wasn’t going to kill her as why remove money when he was planning on getting it all. But he doesn’t think that way.

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

This makes the inspector highly suspicious of Tony and he steals the key from Margot’s purse, intent on sneaking in and investigating.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

Hold on, that is illegal. He doesn’t have a search warrant or permission to be searching the house. Anything he finds will be immaterial and thrown out of court. I looked it up and  this is what it said:

By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass.No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.

So technically, anything he finds can not be used in a court of law. That’s it, Tony is allowed to go free.

TheEnd_Title_2

But of course this is a movie, and things go differently. Inspector Hubble discovers that the key in the purse does not work on the front door. He instead finds it under the stair carpet. This gives him the great idea of creating a little trick to discover if Tony is the true killer.

John Williams (Chief Inspector Hubbard) Dial M for Murder (1954)

The Inspector visits Tony and steals his raincoat, leaving his own, therefore taking Tony’s key. He calls the station and asks them to release Margot. She immediately returns home, but finds out that her key won’t work. Hubbard watches her and discovers that she does not know the key is under the stairs. The Inspector let’s her in and gets a policeman to take the bag back to the station. They then begin to wait for Tony.

perfect plan

Tony comes home from his errands and finds that he can’t get inside. His coat belongs to Inspector Hubble and he has the wrong key. When Tony discovers his key doesn’t fit, he goes down to the station to get Margot’s bag. When that key doesn’t fit, he looks under under the stairs and finds the key, giving himself away.

dun-dun-duuuun

Tony enters and figures out they caught him. Being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t fight them. He knows when he has been defeated.

Tony Wendice: [pouring a drink] As you said Mark, it might work out on paper, but congratulations, Inspector. Oh, by the way… How about you, Margot?

Margot Mary Wendice: Yes, I could do with something.

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

Tony Wendice: I suppose you’re still on duty, Inspector.

TheEnd_Title_2

It;s a great movie, despite the small legality issue, but otherwise an amazing film. I definitely recommend it.

1954dialmformurder

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?

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For more on Dial “M” for Murder, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Past of a Man

For more on blackmail, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

For more films based on a play, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime