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Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 24 September 1948 (USA)
While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it.

Director:

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Leona Stevenson
... Henry J. Stevenson
... Sally Hunt Lord
... Dr. Philip Alexander
... Waldo Evans
... James 'J.B.' Cotterell
... Fred Lord
... Morano
... Joe - Detective
... Peter Lord
... Elizabeth Jennings
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:

Helpless ... alone ... she heard her own murder being planned on the telephone! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Du lebst noch 105 Minuten  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Plays in real time. See more »

Goofs

When Sally meets Henry for lunch at the fancy restaurant, she asks him if he is still married to Leona. However only a few weeks before this she is in the kitchen when her husband is reading the newspaper article about Henry & Leona being in New York and he quotes "Mr & Mrs Henry Stevenson" 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

Referenced in Behave Yourself! (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Complex noir plot builds and builds...and builds, until...!!!!
13 May 2010 | by See 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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