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Dial 1119 (1950)

Passed  -  Film-Noir | Thriller  -  3 November 1950 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 501 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 9 critic

A former mental patient murders a bus driver, then takes refuge in a bar, where he holds the patrons hostage.

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(story), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Dial 1119 (1950)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gunther Wyckoff
Virginia Field ...
Freddy
...
Helen
Sam Levene ...
Dr. John D. Faron
...
Earl
Keefe Brasselle ...
Skip
Richard Rober ...
Police Capt. Henry Keiver
James Bell ...
Harrison D. Barnes
...
Chuckles - Bartender
Dick Simmons ...
Television Announcer
Hal Baylor ...
Police Lt. 'Whitey' Tallman (as Hal Fieberling)
Edit

Storyline

A young mentally-ill killer, Gunther Wyckoff, escapes from a mental institution, murder a bus driver and, then, takes six hostages in a bar. The gun in Wyckoff's hand kills without emotion or pity wielded by a man bare of emotion. Begins as a moral question whether an insane killer should or should not be sent to the electric, but goes elsewhere before it ends. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hostage | bar | killer | bus driver | murder | See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 November 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les Ames nues  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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User Reviews

 
Call 911
24 July 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

This seldom seen, nearly forgotten gem stands out as a precursor to many movie motifs now taken for granted. A deranged young man, Gunther Wyckoff (whacko with a gun, played menacingly by Marshall Thompson in perhaps his best performance), shoots a city bus driver with the driver's own pistol, then holds up in a local bar using the patrons as hostages. In those long ago days when such occurrences were rare, there were no professional police negotiators. Ironically, Wyckoff does his own negotiating with the law, demanding to see the psychiatrist that is in charge of treating him.

What a crew of hostages: A barfly willing to bed anyone who buys her a drink, an old married fool making arrangements for a weekend tryst with a sweet young thing, a young man whose wife is in delivery at the hospital, a zealous reporter whose newspaper editor thinks he's a joke, and Chuckles, the bartender, played by the dour William Conrad of radio's "Gunsmoke" and later TV's "Cannon" fame. Maybe he got his moniker for being the opposite of chuckles, such as calling a big guy, Tiny. The interaction of this motley crew with each other and with the criminally insane killer makes up the biggest part of the flick. An alternate title was "The Violent Hour," which basically describes the plot of the film, approximately an hour's standoff between the psycho and the police who work to free the hostages unharmed. A young André Previn provides the appropriate atmospheric music.

What a splendid cast. Even workhorse Charles Lane, who is today 101 and says he is still available to do a show, is seen briefly on the tube in a man-on-the-street interview. And don't blink and miss June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) in a walk on part.

Items you don't see around anymore: A cigarette machine, a weight scale on the sidewalk, a pay telephone that costs a nickle to dial 1119 (no push buttons). Items that were curiosities at the time but are now part of everyday life: A flat-panel big screen TV, TV news hype, and, alas, crazies that for no reason shoot patrons who are total strangers.

The chosen title, "Dial 1119," which today reminds the viewer of "Call 911," is a fitting one. Labeling the location Terminal City, however, is a bit much.


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