6.2/10
6
3 user 1 critic

Wrong Number (1959)

| Crime, Drama
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Cast

Credited cast:
Peter Reynolds ...
Angelo
...
Maria
Peter Elliott ...
Dr. Pole
Olive Sloane ...
Miss Crystal
Paul Whitsun-Jones ...
Cyril
Barry Keegan ...
Max
...
Supt. Blake
Harold Goodwin ...
Bates
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Catherina Ferraz ...
Mrs. Landi
John Grima ...
Albin
Arthur Lovegrove ...
Saunders
Christopher Trace
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based on play | See All (1) »

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Crime | Drama

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Falsche Verbindung  »

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Well crafted British crime thriller of the fifties
17 November 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a B picture which works very well and has an ingenious plot. It also contains a brilliant supporting performance by the elderly actress Olive Sloane, who out-performs all the other actors and frankly steals the film. The story concerns a gang of robbers who are unmasked because of Olive Sloane dialling a wrong number. This was in the days of the old Strowger switches when telephone exchanges had names. One dialled the first three letters of that name (all telephone dials then had both letters and numbers on them sharing the same spaces), followed by four numbers. Olive Sloane plays an elderly spinster, who had been a suffragette when young. She lives alone with her Pekinese dog called Belcher. Belcher becomes a bit ill, so she decides to phone the vet. But she is distracted by Belcher tangling up her yarn after dialling MIL, intending to dial MIL 1124. She then returns to the phone which she has continued to hold in her hand and starts with MIL again, which because she has already dialled MIL goes through as its three corresponding numbers, namely 645. She dials 1124 after that, only the 1 registering. So that means she has really dialled MIL 6451 without realizing it. This turns out to be the house where the robbers are counting their stolen £80,000. One of them is called Angelo, and his girl friend answers Olive Sloane's call and says: 'Angelo, is that you? How did it go?' before the elderly lady interrupts and asks for the vet. By this means the name of one of the robbers becomes known to the police. Olive Sloane's monologues and subsequent interactions with the police inspector are absolutely priceless, and for those interested in excellent performances, the film is worth seeing for them alone. The robbery aspects are more or less run of the mill stuff, but Vernon Sewell directs very well, and this 58 minute B picture manages to rise above its station, like a member of the working class refusing to doff his cap but putting on a bowler instead. Lisa Gastoni is very good, sultry and sensuous, as the girl friend of Angelo. She is an under-rated actress. I note from IMDb that she appeared in the spectacularly brilliant film SACRED HEART (2005) by Ferzan Ozpetek (see my review), by which time she was 70 years old, though I cannot retrospectively recall her character of Eleonora, as it is eight years now since I saw that film. However, Gastoni has made 79 films, including one to be released next year, and has achieved much greater recognition in Italy than in the English-speaking world. Although IMDb says that this film is based on a play by Norman Edwards, the film credits themselves say it was based on a short story by him. I do note from IMDb that this story was filmed first in German as FALSCH VERBUNDEN in 1955. This odd sequence of filming events remains unexplained, and I see from the internet that he published a detective novel called DILEMMA in 1936. He cannot be the same Norman Edwards of our own days who writes books about flower arrangements. I have a feeling that there is an interesting story behind our Norman Edwards, perhaps worthy of a private investigator's attention. Something tells me there is more to him than meets the eye, or ever will meet anyone's eye now, after so many decades have gone by. Aren't unanswered questions fun? This film is well worth seeing, for those interested in puzzling plots with new angles.


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