Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Barbara Stanwyck shot her part over an intense twelve-day period. Since her character was mostly confined to her bed with only the company of a telephone, it presented a challenge for the actress. Anatole Litvak, whom Stanwyck liked and trusted, asked her how she would prefer to shoot her scenes. Stanwyck chose to shoot them in chronological order. Doing this, she believed, would help her build the terror of her character most effectively. "Almost from the word go," said Stanwyck, "she is way up there emotionally, and stays there day after day...I decided I'd prefer to jump in, bam, go, stay there, up, try to sustain it all the way and shoot the works." 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 »
Anatole Litvak directs the movie version of Lucille Fletcher's radio war-horse Sorry, Wrong Number was gusto and drive. The photograpy is deceptively simple at first blush, but soon evolves, giving each scene an individuality and clarity not unlike deep-focus. There's an overall feeling of gloom in this largely nocturnal movie, which is stylistically a sort of vest-pocket film noir Citizen Kane. Some of the touches border on the surreal, such as Lancaster's (among others) repeated references to his home town of Grassville, which happened at least thirty-six times and grows alternately funnier and more disturbing with each passing mention. The feel of New York in summer has seldom been so well captured in a studio-bound film, as scene upon scene appears to be enveloped in fog or cigarette smoke, and the horns of boats moving down-river or out to sea are often audible, at times suggesting, not wholly inapprpriately, the world of Eugene O'Neill and his theme of universal frustration. For all this, there is little actual movement in the film, which reflects the heroine's bed-ridden state, as scenes are acted out semi-theatrically, with characters talking to one another continuously, and whether wicked or benign seldom communicating clearly, as each little chat leaves someone more in the dark than before. The story moves, one might say, from one misinterpretation to another, until the climax, when all becomes clear, as tragedy trumps melodrama, giving the viewer a much needed jolt of reality.
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