Today, in FMI231 (“Film & Moving Image History”), students watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, a 1954 film from the “Master of Suspense” that is the sole movie he released in 3D. A novelty (short-lived) at the time, 3D technology was one of Hollywood’s responses to the growing threat that television posed to the profits of the movie business. Other responses included more frequent use of color and and a variety of widescreen aspect ratios (both of these other gimmicks stuck around). Donning the same kinds of anaglyph glasses used in the 1950s, students in the class sat down to watch the film, which features very few actual trick shots used to emphasize the three-dimensionality of the image, although the scene, featured below, of Grace Kelly’s hand emerging from the screen as she is being strangled is one of those moments that do draw attention to the gimmick.

Still, it’s a great thriller, regardless, and now we can move on to the 1960s, with Cleo from 5 to 7 (French New Wave) and Lilies of the Field (for which Sidney Poitier won a Best Actor Oscar, the first African-American to do so).