One year before its sixtieth anniversary seems an odd time to reissue Hitch’s knotty, chatty murder mystery. But in a blockbuster-saturated summer, this sharp 3D restoration is a cool refresher for audiences weary of seeing the technology applied to mutants and doomsday scenarios. Hitchcock himself dismissed 3D as a ‘nine-day wonder’ (admitting he ‘came in on the ninth day’), but that didn’t stop him having some fun with it. For every shot that now seems quaintly gimmicky – count the foregrounded table lamps! – there’s another that inventively animates the spatial interplay between characters in a piece that otherwise makes little apology for its theatrical origins.
The London-set story, which finds Ray Milland’s suave former tennis pro first plotting the murder of his wife (Grace Kelly at her most fashionably fragile) before framing her for another, remains one of Hitch’s most absorbingly airtight: its trick is to generate considerable suspense while withholding nothing from the audience. Its pleasures are not profound ones, but there’s enough dimensionality up on the screen to compensate.