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The Slender Thread (1965)

 -  Drama  -  28 March 1966 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 899 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 13 critic

A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.


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Title: The Slender Thread (1965)

The Slender Thread (1965) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Newell
Inga Dyson
Dr. Joe Coburn
Mark Dyson
Det. Judd Ridley
Indus Arthur ...
Paul Newlan ...
Sgt. Harry Ward
Doctor Morris (as H.N. Wynant)
Robert F. Hoy ...
Patrolman Steve Peters (as Robert Hoy)
Greg Jarvis ...
Chris Dyson
Jason Wingreen ...
Medical Technician
Marjorie Nelson ...
Mrs. Thomas
Arthur Foss
Thomas Hill ...
Liquor Salesman


Alan is a Seattle college student volunteering at a crisis center. One night when at the clinic alone, a woman calls up the number and tells Alan that she needs to talk to someone. She informs Alan she took a load of pills, and he secretly tries to get help. During this time, he learns more about the woman, her family life, and why she wants to die. Can Alan get the cavalry to save her in time before it's too late? Written by Pat McCurry <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

28 March 1966 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Slender Thread  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally titled "Cross My Heart And Hope To Die" and slated to star Elizabeth Ashley (who was forced to drop out over contract dispute) See more »


During the opening titles, in the opening scene where the camera zooms from an aerial shot onto Anne Bancroft, The fountain in the film is played backwards. The water flows up from the bottom of the fountain up to the top and back down into where the water spout appears from. After the aerial shot scene change, the water then runs in the correct direction. See more »


Mark Dyson: [to Inga] Do you think that getting caught in a lie is the same as telling the truth?
See more »


Referenced in Coffee House Rendezvous (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

mid-60s time capsule of Seattle
28 February 2005 | by (Minneapolis, USA) – See all my reviews

I remember seeing this film a few years ago and it stuck with me for some reason. looking at it again, i know why. The whole thing has a mid-1960s melancholy to it, almost with a tinge of the horror films that would emerge in the late 1960s, like rosemary's baby, or, roman polanski's first horror film 'repulsion' which was made in the same year as slender thread. one of the most amazing things about this film is the opening sequence which uses all kinds of staples of film shooting styles and techniques of the mid-late 60s, which themselves add a melancholic tone to the film. There is the space needle, which looks positively cold-war futuristic with the car going up the side of it; the world's fair architecture with its modernist water fountains--which foreground the first shot a desperate-looking Anne Bancroft, and of course, the locks, dams and highways of the Seattle waterfront. You can't help but get nostalgic seeing the Seattle of this time. Not to mention that Anne Bancroft's husband is a fisherman. I've never been to Seattle but i'm pretty sure most of this stuff is gone. (wasn't there some attempt to save the old docks in a big standoff in 1964?). If you want to see another view of Seattle in the early 70s, I recommend seeing "Cinderella Liberty" with James Caan. Then there are even more visual and aural elements which help create the mood: the shots of the 'backroom' of the telephone company--with its immense network of phone lines--actual physical lines!--and the women operators unplugging and plugging cables to connect one line to another. These are bygone days! You wonder if Sydney Pollack wasn't subtly, or not so subtly, making a comment on the postwar bureaucratized society itself. Another treat is the 'Hyatt hotel' sign towards the end of the film. Total 1960s visual. And of course, Quincy Jones' soundtrack with some great Sam and Dave-style jazzy organ music.

Visuals aside, this is a great film. Again, dealing with some rather dark issues. The scene where Anne Bancroft comes home and sees her husband in the living room looking don't know if he's having a psychotic episode, has lost his job or is on LSD. Anne Bancroft, overall, is a disturbing character. Perhaps more disturbing is that she would play another tragic character two years later - Mrs. Robinson, in The Graduate. Sidney Poitier is in usual form - the studious, morally-superior black in a predominantly white setting. I like what someone else here said - that the film very subtly has a subtext on race (how could a 1960s film showing blacks and whites in the same frame not? How could we as Americans not read race into the film?) while never dealing with race explicitly. This is actually one reason I think Sidney Poitier's characters and films are an important, and yet lost, representation of race relations. For all the flack that he got in the racially charged mood of the 1960s as an assimilationist good black who whites could accept, especially as he was the first black protagonist in films (it didn't help that he was West Indian, having grown up in the Bahamas). to me I still see some kind of Caribbean AND Black persona in his characters which I think he 'sneaks in' in subtle ways. His classic move is some breaking point at which he can't take any more -- whether its racial bigotry, disrespect for authority, or something else -- and he delivers some great speech of moral indignation. He does it in 'pressure point', in 'to sir with love', 'in the heat of the night', and maybe a few others. It may be pretentious at times, but this 'style' disappeared after the late 60s as blaxploitation with its overly masculinized and violent characters became the dominant representation in film.

Anyway, all the political and social analysis aside, this is really a great film.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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