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Dear Phone (1976)

 -  Short  -  1976 (UK)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 460 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 6 critic

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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Title: Dear Phone (1976)

Dear Phone (1976) on IMDb 6.1/10

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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 <darren.giddings@newcastle.ac.uk>

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art | independent film

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Short

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1976 (UK)  »

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Dear Phone  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Vertical Features Remake (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting and occasionally witty short that is worth seeing once
10 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As a celebration of the British institution that is the red phone box, this film looks at many of them around the country as we are read stories off badly written pieces of paper that are barely legible and contain many amendments. Each story involves a character with the initials H.C. and their tale involves telephone calls in some way shape or form.

Not being the biggest Peter Greenaway fan in the world, I didn't rush to give this a watch but I generally will try any short film so it was on my list to watch. The film takes a semi-documentary look at stories that have involved phone calls while also filming various red boxes around the UK. The two aspects of the film don't totally match up but they are both interesting enough for different reasons. The red telephone boxes are mostly dead now and even public phones seem to be slowly disappearing as mobile phone use becomes more and more popular, so it is interesting to see so many of them shot back in 1976. Hardly worth watching the short for in their own right but it is interesting and some of them are reasonably well picked.

However the guts of the film is the story section. Narrated by Greenaway off notes that I assume we are meant to think were written by him (hence the amendments) or maybe were written by him, the stories are individually quite meaningless but also interesting as each has different qualities. They all seem so normal and detailed that they could easily be from real people; the writing of each story helps this feel of course and they are delivered with the type of wit that can often only come from real situations. These stories don't qualify as narrative but that's not the point – they are interesting and flow quickly with the film – the idea of showing the paper makes them more interesting as we are not distracted by images other than the words.

Overall this is not the type of short film I would generally go for but it is different enough to be interesting. For pedants there are shots of old red phone boxes while for those looking for something else, the stories read off scrawled notes are interesting and occasionally witty to the point that they are worth hearing even if they are fleeting and won't stick in your mind for very long.


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