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 <email@example.com>
Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies. See more »
Another observer states that, early in the film, Waldo Evans has Henry Stevenson drop him off, on a rainy night, at a number 54 address but that, toward the end of the story, Waldo phones from an apartment with number 26 as the address. That observer considers this to be "an error of geography" but he or she fails to note that the early scene took place in Cicero, Illinois whereas the later scene took place after the thieving operation had moved to Bayonne, New Jersey and that Waldo was stating that he would be "at the Manhattan address." So there is no "error of geography." See more »
Operator! Operator! Operator!
Voice of Operator:
Your call please?
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?
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An expanded radio play and subsequent TV drama, this film builds terrific tension around a bedridden heiress and her telephone.
Sympathy builds for this unlikeable woman, Leona, played by Barbara Stanwyck. She is a spoiled heiress used to getting her own way, but as we come to see, very much created by her father (played by Ed Begley) who bows to all her wishes.
Her husband, Henry, played by Burt Lancaster, whom she chases and captures from her best friend, initially goes along with being an employee in her father's corporation but eventually starts chafing at the restraints imposed on him.
The movie just about plays in real time with the addition of many flashbacks, one of which secures the knowledge that there is nothing wrong with Leona, it is all psychosomatic based on her mother's fatal illness.
From the moment Leona accidentally overhears a plotted murder for later on that evening, the viewer is taken on a ride that builds suspense and tension to a terrifying conclusion and the movie's title.
Not to be missed. The cinematography is superb, a lot of play in light and shade. Barbara deserved an Oscar but lost. 8 out of 10.
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