While waiting on a delayed flight, David Trask, who has left his unfaithful wife, meets three of his fellow passengers. When the aircraft crashes, he is one of few survivors, and sets out to resolve their unfinished business.
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On a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles via Iowa, lawyer David Trask gets to know three of his fellow passengers as one technical issue after another leads to delays and unscheduled stops along the way. Those three are physician Dr. Robert Fortness, struggling actress with the stage name Binky Gay, and loud salesman Eddie Hoke, who is both quick with a joke and quick to show off a photograph of his beautiful wife, Marie Hoke. Below the surface, the three have deeper stories, which are bringing them back to Los Angeles and which Dr. Fortness and Binky divulge to David. Dr. Fortness, an alcoholic, is returning to own up to his drunken part in the death of a friend, and his wife Claire's complicity in the matter. Binky, after being away in New York for a year, is returning to her husband, Mike Carr, hoping to take him away from his overbearing mother, former vaudeville star Sally Carr, who still basks in her former but no longer shining glory, and who is the cause of any marital problem ... Written by
The film was the third on-screen pairing of Gary Merrill and Bette Davis. See more »
Behind the opening credits, the taxi that's taking Trask to the airport passes two movie theaters at least three times, as if the rear projection of stock footage was on a continuous loop. The movies playing at these theaters are "Homestretch" and "The Two Mrs. Carrolls," both released five years before this film. See more »
"Phone Call from a Stranger" tells the tale of four passengers (Merrill, Rennie, Wynn, and Winters) on a cross-country airplane trip. The four become friends and share personal thoughts before the plane crashes, killing all except Merrill, who sets out to contact the relatives of his dead friends. He finds that each family has a very different story to tell, and each has its own issues arising from the deaths of their relatives.
Extremely well-acted, directed and scripted film also has harrowing airplane footage and a very good ending. Merrill is top form, as is Winters and especially Rennie, who is haunted by an accident in which a colleague was killed years earlier. Unlike many modern movies, this one really leaves you with a profound message--the void that is left behind when someone suddenly dies.
Try to see it if you can, my AMC tape is several years old and I've enjoyed this film many times. Just be warned--people scared of flying may cringe at the nighttime approach to the Vega airport.
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