Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dial M For The Bad Guys

Meet Margot Mary Wendice, who is just about to kill a bad guy. She doesn't know it yet because she's a bit busy being choked by C.A. Swan (the guy she's about to murder). Being choked is sort of occupying her attention at the moment. Oh, I can joke about it now because little did the villain (played by Anthony Dawson) know at the time, but Margot (played by Grace Kelly) had a little trick up her sleeve... actually on the table in front of her. A pair of scissors that fit nicely into Swan's back. To make matters worse for the Swanmeister, he then proceeds to fall backwards, burying the scissors deeper and thus sealing his fate. Dead like a rat. Justice done. Gotta love it.

In the early fifties the image of a villain was well formed by Hollywood et al. It was simple. You could pick them out of a crowd with ease. Their eyes were beady, set close together and shifty. They always had dark hair that was slicked back and wore the ugliest of pencil thin mustaches over a mouth pursed like they just ate cat scat. Good guys never had mustaches (well, except for Valentino) and when they were cowboys they always wore the white hat. In those days cops had a much easier time of it. They could just walk into a room, round up anyone who looked like a bad guy and pop them in the clink. Tidy, tidy, tidy.

These days it's all totally screwed up. Some guys who look like they could rip people apart without blinking may turn out to actually be someone who has the biggest heart and would be the first to come to your help if you were in trouble. And some of those who you'd normally think you could trust with your mother's life can be the most screwed up psychopaths you could imagine. They're not all like that of course, there are good people who look like good guys and bad guys who look like bad guys and they are.

All of which to say it all does a number on my brain.

Maybe life has become so complicated now that we have more technology, we've invented more ways to be bad, but I don't think so. Maybe we're just getting better and more sophisticated at defining and routing out the bad seeds and that's probably a good thing. Still, I can't help but think it all seemed pretty obvious when I was a kid because I was taught that how a person looked could tell you whether they were someone you could trust or someone to avoid... or ridicule, or even hate.

Used to be, you could judge people by how they looked. Now, it appears, you can't.

I propose a dress code.


Hitchcock's masterpiece of suspense, Dial M for Murder, was written by English playwright Frederick Knott who was well known for his plots that involved women who innocently become the potential victims of sinister plots.


  1. It does a number on my brain too. Can't we just tattoo a big red X on the bad guys' foreheads?

    1. Oh no! Goodness! Then we'd be victimizing them! (pc reference guide # 382b)