7.5/10
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99 user 43 critic

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Lucille Fletcher (radio play), Lucille Fletcher (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Leona Stevenson
Burt Lancaster ... Henry J. Stevenson
Ann Richards ... Sally Hunt Lord
Wendell Corey ... Dr. Philip Alexander
Harold Vermilyea ... Waldo Evans
Ed Begley ... James 'J.B.' Cotterell
Leif Erickson ... Fred Lord
William Conrad ... Morano
John Bromfield ... Joe - Detective
Jimmy Hunt ... Peter Lord
Dorothy Neumann ... Elizabeth Jennings
Paul Fierro Paul Fierro ... Harpootlian
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Storyline

Leona Stevenson is sick and confined to her bed. One night, whilst waiting for her husband to return home, she picks up the phone and accidentally overhears a conversation between two men planning a murder. She becomes increasingly desperate as she tries to work out who the victim is so the crime can be prevented. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The prize-winning radio suspense drama that thrilled 40,000,000 people ... now electrifies the screen! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Du lebst noch 105 Minuten See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Wallis Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a quick three-month shoot with director Anatole Litvak focused on delivering the film on time. See more »

Goofs

Twice Barbara Stanwyck turns on a radio and they instantly begin to play music. Radios of the film's era would have required some time to warm up. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Leona Stevenson: Operator! Operator! Operator!
Voice of Operator: Your call please?
Leona Stevenson: Operator, I've been ringing Murray Hill 35097 for the last half hour and the line is always busy. Will you ring it for me, please?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Tangerine
(1941) (uncredited)
Music by Victor Schertzinger
Played on the car radio
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Complex noir plot builds and builds...and builds, until...!!!!
13 May 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

You can tell this thriller was once a radio play--it is mostly talk, and often over the telephone. But what drama can be built on a string of conversations around the office, in cars in the rain, out on a lonely beach on Staten Island, and on the telephone, often filled with mystery and doom.\

Not that it's not a visual movie, either. There is a big gloomy house, and lots of dark city streets. Shadows and moving camera and close-ups of faces and telephones, all keep you glued and increasingly worried. By the end, the really jarring, memorable end, you are ready for what you can never be ready for.

Beware, the plot is confusing. Even seeing it twice I had to pay attention to who was who, and what turn of events had just taken place. Part of the reason is there is a bewildering use of flashbacks, even flashbacks within flashbacks, told by all kinds of different characters. The plot is laid out methodically, but take notes as you go, or at least take note. The initial overheard phone call is key to it all, and it gets reinforced later somewhat, but pay heed there.

And the person on the phone? A sharp, bitter, convincing Barbara Stanwyck, who really knows how to be steely and vulnerable at the same time. Burt Lancaster is more solid and stolid, and maybe less persuasive overall, but he carries a more practical part of the story. It keeps coming back to Stanwyck in bed, and the telephone which is her contact with the facts, as they swirl and finally descend.

Director Anatole Litvak has some less known but thrilling dark dramas to look for, including Snake Pit. But this is his most sensational winner, partly for Stanwyck, and partly for the last five minutes, which is as good as drama gets.


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