This is one of Hitchcock’s most fiendishly entertaining movies and one of his most brilliant exercises in cinematic craft.
The movie was based on a single-set play and Hitchcock made a canny choice not to “open it up” for the screen. Almost the whole film takes place in the living room of a London flat, with occasional glimpses of connecting rooms and a hallway outside. The few exteriors in the film are mostly created using back-screen projections, and not very convincing ones, so the apartment set becomes the most convincingly “real” location in the film.
One could probably write a book-length study about the dazzlingly complex ways Hitchcock lights and shoots this set, always with a view to heightening the nightmarish claustrophobia of the intricate thriller plot, the creeping dread that is domestic and contained, proceeding from the suffocating dysfunction of a bad marriage infected by infidelity, hatred and mistrust.
The film was shot in 3D, though it came in at the end of the 3D craze and played out mostly in 2D. There’s now a wonderful 3D Blu-ray edition of the film which allows you to see it as Hitchcock originally envisioned it. For the most part he uses 3D in a restrained way, saving the sensational effects for the few big moments of violence and terror, but even the restrained 3D images allow Hitchcock yet another avenue for exploring the interior set visually, varying the sensual experience of it, drawing you into it.
The acting in the film is uniformly excellent, especially by Ray Milland as a creepily charming villain — and Grace Kelly in 3D is a stunning special effect all by herself.
If you have a 3D capable TV set and a Blu-ray player, add this title to your collection immediately.