7.2/10
1,949
44 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)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Deception (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Mary Donnell, a young legal secretary with a past, elopes with a client's son, but his father has the marriage annulled without knowing she's pregnant.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Anita Louise
The Star (1952)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A washed-up movie queen finds romance, but still desires a comeback.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood
A Stolen Life (1946)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a woman's twin sister is drowned, she assumes her identity in order to be close to the man she feels her sister took from her years before.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In an isolated house, mystery writer Janet Frobisher is involved in potentially murderous relationships.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Emlyn Williams
The Great Lie (1941)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Mary Astor
Storm Center (1956)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the 1950s, a small-town librarian is shunned by the locals after she refuses the City Council's request to remove a book on Communism from the library's shelves.

Director: Daniel Taradash
Stars: Bette Davis, Brian Keith, Kim Hunter
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The lifestyles of Arlene and Valkyr Bradford, half-sisters from a respected San Francisco family, diverge markedly as Arlene takes up with criminals.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Bette Davis, Donald Woods, Margaret Lindsay
Madame Sin (1972)
Adventure | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A CIA agent is used as a pawn in an insane woman's plan to steal a Polaris submarine.

Director: David Greene
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Wagner, Denholm Elliott
The Scapegoat (1959)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An English schoolteacher meets his lookalike, a French count; and unwillingly swaps identities with him.

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: Alec Guinness, Bette Davis, Nicole Maurey
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Resentful of her small-town life, a married woman schemes to run off with a rich businessman.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, David Brian
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Racketeers flood the market with counterfeit cosmetics and drugs, causing some tragedies.

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Charles Farrell, Bette Davis, Ricardo Cortez
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on Janaury 5, 1953 with Shelley Winters and Gary Merrill reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film when David goes to call his wife at the airport. He inserts the coin to make the call, dials his house, BUT, when it starts to ring his coin is returned. 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

References The Homestretch (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze
(uncredited)
Music by Gaston Lyle
Lyrics by George Leybourne
Sung by the passengers on the airplane
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Flashbacks get heavy duty in Phone Call from a Stranger...
9 January 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Fairly interesting story of stranded passengers on an airliner recalling incidents from their past as they await connection to another plane. Nicely directed by Jean Negulesco, it's only problem is the uneven pace of the stories which are blended together rather smoothly.

Foremost among the passengers are MICHAEL RENNIE, GARY MERRILL, SHELLEY WINTERS and KEENYN WYNN (in one of his most obnoxious roles). Rennie recalls his unhappy marriage involving an auto accident he was responsible for while drinking--in which he lied about not having been behind the wheel. Wynn is a clownish fool who shows everyone a photo of his attractive wife in a bathing suit pose (BETTE DAVIS, whose later appearance in the film is after an accident has made her a cripple). Merrill is a seasoned traveler who calms the frazzled nerves of stripper Winters when the plane goes through storm turbulence.

Shelley gives her usual breezy and brash performance; Merrill is low-key and charming as a lawyer who doesn't drink too much; and Rennie is interesting in a key role.

The story gains interest after the plane crash when Merrill takes it upon himself to visit the victims' families, the most poignant part of the story involving his confrontation with BETTE DAVIS who is no longer the image of the glamor photo Wynn showed to the other passengers.

Told in typical '40s style with flashbacks serving as background filler, it holds the interest thanks to the excellent performances of a fine cast. BETTE DAVIS makes the most of small but interesting character role and BEATRICE STRAIGHT is touching as Michael Rennie's loyal wife. The EVELYN VARDEN/CRAIG STEVENS flashback with Varden painting herself as a saintly mother-in-law of Shelley Winters is a howl.

Major fault: the story seems too contrived and Merrill's motivations for seeing and getting involved with the families is a bit hard to swallow.


20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 44 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed