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Leona Stevenson is sick and confined to her bed. One night, whilst waiting for her husband to return home, she picks up the phone and accidentally overhears a conversation between two men planning a murder. She becomes increasingly desperate as she tries to work out who the victim is so the crime can be prevented. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Agnes Moorehead, who created the role of Mrs. Stevenson on the radio, was offered a small role in the film. Insulted, she turned it down. See more »
After Leona calls the police, she reaches to her bed table for medicine and water. The table extending over her bed immediately at her right hand, and the phone is on the bed at her left. In the next shot, the phone has moved, and the bed table is far away from her, under the window to her left. See more »
Operator! Operator! Operator!
Voice of Operator:
Your call please?
Operator, I've been ringing Murray Hill 35097 for the last half hour and the line is always busy. Will you ring it for me, please?
See more »
Lucille Fletcher wrote the original version for the radio. It only lasted 22 minutes, which then grew to one hour and then to 89 minutes of playing time in the film version. Since the original work had everything it needed to create the suspense and paranoia that Leona Stevenson felt, other situations were added to fit into a motion picture release.
Anatole Litvak brought the film into the screen, letting Ms. Fletcher write the screen adaptation. The film relies on the use of flashbacks in order to tell the story, otherwise it would have been impossible to have the original premise play so long on the screen. Supposedly the crime was going to be committed at 11.15PM as the subway train went across the Queensboro bridge.
Barbara Stanwyck, an actress who did great work on films of this genre, was perhaps the wrong choice for Leona Stevenson. As the hysterical woman who discovers an assassination plot when she hears a conversation on the telephone, Ms. Stanwyck was not as effective as in other roles. The pairing of Burt Lancaster with her shows no chemistry between them, even when one realizes why his Henry Stevenson marries Leona. Mr. Lancaster seems awkward in most of his scenes.
The film asks a lot of the viewers in making them believe how Ms. Stanwyck, who was in her forties, is seen as a young college student, always looking like she does as her older self as when we first meet her as the film opens, and she is supposedly, a woman of a certain age!
The film is a "must see" for fans of Ms. Stanwyck, who could have been better, perhaps directed by another director.
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