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Dear Phone (1976)

 -  Short  -  1976 (UK)
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A narrator relates a variety of peculiar stories involving characters with the initials HC and their dealings with telephones. These are interspersed with artistic shots of telephone boxes ... See full summary »



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A narrator relates a variety of peculiar stories involving characters with the initials HC and their dealings with telephones. These are interspersed with artistic shots of telephone boxes in a variety of locations. Written by D.Giddings <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

art | independent film | See All (2) »







Release Date:

1976 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Caro telefono  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The red telephone box was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the same architect who designed Battersea Power Station and Bankside Power Station (which has now been converted into the Tate Modern art gallery). See more »


References To the Devil a Daughter (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

A nice little experiment from director Peter Greenaway
30 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Dear Phone (1977) in one of the more iconic early experiments from director Peter Greenaway, one that could now be seen as a pre-production exercise for the similar-themed though ultimately more worthwhile Borgesian mock-documentary, The Falls (1980). With this film, we find the director playing with the same kind of narrative devices and idiosyncratic preoccupations that would feature so heavily in that particular work to follow. So, we have the ideas of formalism and numerology; with fourteen phone calls made by fourteen different men, each with the initials H.C. and each to a woman named Zelda. The text is presented in a matter-of-fact approach, both illegibly written and simultaneously narrated - in order to give a sense of character to this disconnected formal event - and often juxtaposed against the repeated use of iconography to create a somewhat ironic sense of humour.

However, unlike later productions, this is a very simple film that plays on the British tradition of an almost realistic approach to surrealism; with much of the narration delivered with a typically English, stiff-upper-lipped type series of announcements familiar from post war broadcasting. We also find many of the director's future trademarks beginning to take shape; however, with none of the bold storytelling devices or opulent cinematography and production design that would underline such films as The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover (1989), The Baby of Mâcon (1993) and the Pillow Book (1996) as such singular works of cinema.

This is a simply an experiment for the director, and thus, not really worth the effort of an audience unfamiliar with the broader aspects of Greenaway's career, instead being something that long-term fans might decide to seek out in order to give a great context to his later, aforementioned film, The Falls. It is still a film that you can have a great deal of fun with though; taking in the ridiculously pitched scenarios and arcane game playing alongside the continual appearances of the now largely defunct red-telephone boxes. As a side note, I saw this picture on a compilation tape that also featured Water Wrackets (1975) and A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist (1978) and this was the most outlandish and fun.

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