7.0/10
1,972
45 user 7 critic

Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)

While waiting on a delayed flight, David Trask, who has left his unfaithful wife, meets three of his fellow passengers. When the aircraft crashes, he is one of few survivors, and sets out to resolve their unfinished business.

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (screenplay), I.A.R. Wylie (story)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Shelley Winters ... Binky Gay aka Mrs. Michael Carr
Gary Merrill ... David L. Trask
Michael Rennie ... Dr. Robert Fortness
Keenan Wynn ... Eddie Hoke
Evelyn Varden ... Sally Carr
Warren Stevens ... Marty Nelson
Beatrice Straight ... Claire Fortness
Ted Donaldson ... Jerry Fortness
Craig Stevens ... Mike Carr
Helen Westcott ... Jane Trask
Bette Davis ... Marie Hoke
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Storyline

On a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles via Iowa, lawyer David Trask gets to know three of his fellow passengers as one technical issue after another leads to delays and unscheduled stops along the way. Those three are physician Dr. Robert Fortness, struggling actress with the stage name Binky Gay, and loud salesman Eddie Hoke, who is both quick with a joke and quick to show off a photograph of his beautiful wife, Marie Hoke. Below the surface, the three have deeper stories, which are bringing them back to Los Angeles and which Dr. Fortness and Binky divulge to David. Dr. Fortness, an alcoholic, is returning to own up to his drunken part in the death of a friend, and his wife Claire's complicity in the matter. Binky, after being away in New York for a year, is returning to her husband, Mike Carr, hoping to take him away from his overbearing mother, former vaudeville star Sally Carr, who still basks in her former but no longer shining glory, and who is the cause of any marital problem ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Five great stars in a masterpiece of bold and intimate emotions !

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Appel d'un inconnu See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Fox Movie Channel edition)

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 the third and final on-screen pairing of real life husband and wife Gary Merrill and Bette Davis. The other two pictures are All About Eve (1950) and Another Man's Poison (1951). See more »

Goofs

Behind the opening credits, the taxi that's taking Trask to the airport passes two movie theaters at least three times, as if the rear projection of stock footage was on a continuous loop. The movies playing at these theaters are "Homestretch" and "The Two Mrs. Carrolls," (at the McVickers), both released five years before this film. The McVickers was a well known Chicago theatrical site, but the taxi arrives at the MIDLAND CITY, IOWA airport, and a flight FROM Chicago is among those listed on the arrival schedule. See more »

Quotes

Binky Gay: Yeah, well, let's not clown about this one till we get there.
Eddie Hoke: Oh we'll get there. Pilot's a personal friend of mine. This guy hates his wife so much, he's not gonna take that airplane two feet off the ground if he thinks there's any chance of her collecting his insurance.
See more »

Connections

Version of The 20th Century-Fox Hour: Crack-Up (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Again
(uncredited)
Music by Lionel Newman
Lyrics by Dorcas Cochran
Performed by Craig Stevens at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One Phone Call You'd Never Want to Receive ***1/2
18 May 2006 | by edwagreenSee all my reviews

Surviving a plane crash and then going on to meet the families of those who did not. What an intriguing idea! How morbid, to say the least; but yet this is a well-done film mostly because of a fine ensemble cast.

Shelley Winters is one of the passengers who did not make it. Following a difficult life and breakup, she is one of the passengers who interacted with the survivor.

What do you say to the families at a time like this? How does one feel? Why did they survive the crash and the others did not? We face serious questions of ethics and moral values in this film.

Surprisingly, Bette Davis took a supporting role in this film. She is quite effective as the bedridden wife of one of the victims. No matter how large or small the part, Miss Davis always could figure it out!


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