7.2/10
1,846
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)
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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

"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

The seaport or docking bay that Trask pays young Jerry a visit, to speak with the boy about his late father, is obviously a sound stage. Outside voices do not echo or sound slightly canned unless inside a cavern or a cave. See more »

Quotes

David Trask: It's the memory of someone else always between us, and I don't believe I'd ever be able to support it.
See more »

Connections

References The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

The Old Grey Mare
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the band at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quirky and effective....
7 June 2007 | by MarieGabrielleSee all my reviews

Well-written "what-if" type story which consists of several varying vignettes and families that are affected by a plane crash.

Gary Merrill is excellent as usual. Soul-searching and perplexed, he learns the life stories of a few passengers and ultimately is the only survivor.

Michael Rennie was the cheating spouse. His wife is well-portrayed by Beatrice Straight. Then Keenan Wynn as the obnoxious passenger, hoping for redemption. A standout scene involves Evelyn Varden (the plump Mrs. Breedlove from "The Bad Seed"). A truly superb character actress who runs Carr nightclub, and regards Merrill with disdain and contempt as she felt her daughter in law (Shelley Winters) was after the Carr name. The sequence is amusing as it portrays the callousness, innate in some people. There are some truly memorable nightclub scenes.

The final vignette involves Ms. Bette Davis herself, and the story connected to her loss. She steals the finale.

I believe a remake was with Jeff Bridges and Rosie Perez, entitled "Survivor". This older version is superior and real in so many aspects. Do not miss. 9/10.


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