Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Sorry, Wrong Number
Tangled Wires... Whispering of Murder! Tangled Lives... Fighting to Escape!
Leona Stevenson is confined to bed and uses her telephone to keep in contact with the outside world. One day she overhears a murder plot on the telephone and is desperate to find out who is the intended victim.
Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster star in this suspense thriller. Stanwyck overhears a phone conversation about a possible murder at 11:15 that night. Story is told in flashback as we see the romance, marriage and struggles between Stanwyck and Lancaster. Story gets very confusing but is still interesting. Not as good as Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder....but decent. The 18th Lancaster movie I have watched...and ranked 14th on my Lancaster Cogerson Movie Score Table. cogersonmoviescore.com/burt-lancaster-movies-best-worst-box-office-gross.html
Adapted by Lucille Fletcher, one of the leading female playwrights of her time from her 1943 radio play of the same name, Sorry, Wrong Number stays very true to its audio and stagey roots in Anatole Litvak's cinematic adaptation. It's been described as a classic example of film noir but there are strong doses of Alfred Hitchcock's penchant for dynamic leading ladies, henpecked males and shadowy twisty-turny plots in the mix here too, only without quite the same flair or expression. Litvak casts enough gloomy shadows to lend a sinister tone to proceedings but his direction often allows for some irritatingly overwrought performances, chiefly from Barbara Stanwyck, who nonetheless was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Leona…
A phenomenally successful radio play becomes a radio play with pictures, as whiny, well-off invalid Barbara Stanwyck overhears a murder plot after getting the wrong number, then tries to unravel the mystery, across phone calls, recollections and flashbacks-within-flashbacks. It's unremittingly nasty, and far too derivative of its source, but pretty entertaining in the end, and though Stanwyck is at her most irritating, she does flash into brilliant life during the final scene.
Based on a radio play of the same name, Sorry, Wrong Number tells the story of Leona Stevenson (Barbara Stanwyck), the bedridden daughter of a millionaire who, whilst waiting for her husband Henry (Burt Lancaster) to return home one night, overhears a conversation on the telephone in which she believes that someone is plotting to kill him. Frantically, and attempting to keep her Cardiac Neurosis at bay, she makes a number of telephone calls to try and decipher what is going on and find out whether her husband is safe or not. As the mystery builds and the clues stack up, Leona begins to realise that all isn’t as it seems as she finds herself plunged into a World…
This was a pleasant surprise.
One of those films where the more you know, the more desperate the situation becomes. As the truth slowly comes out, mostly through flashbacks, the tension ratchets up to almost unbearable levels before hitting you with a gut punch of an ending.
This is a film with many stand out scenes, many of which are conveyed verbally, but my personal highlight was the chilling revelation of the location of a phone number.
Barbara Stanwyck is on fine form, and you really begin to care about her plight as it builds to its inevitable conclusion.
Franz Waxman's score is a peach, as well.
Adapted by Lucille Fletcher from her own 1943 radio play of the same name, Sorry, Wrong Number maintains the theatrical melodrama of its source material but fails to embrace film as the visual medium that it is. Despite flashbacks serving as the narrative's vehicle, Sorry, Wrong Number does very little showing and far too much telling. I could have listened to the film in the background without missing very much of anything. There's a lot of showing clocks at 6:30 as the narration reads, "It was 6:30 ...", and so on.
Still, the manic insistence of the cast does sporadically warrant a glance back at the screen and it's readily apparent why the original radio play was so successful. It's a tale of deceit, betrayal and belated repentance as winding and curving as Barbara Stanwyck's hair and the pivotal lines of dialogue accompanied by bombastic scores never gets old. I wouldn't call this film adaptation unnecessary so much as unfulfilled.
I wanted to like this film so much 'cause it stars Burt Lancaster, but this is the third movie I've seen with Barbara Stanwyck that I haven't liked! (The only one I've ever seen that I have liked is, of course, Double Indemnity, and I'm not convinced it's 'cause of the wig.) A little slow-moving, convoluted, and... yeah, that about sums it up.
It baffles me that this was released in the same year as Hitchcock's Rope, a masterpiece in suspense, something Sorry, Wrong Number utterly lacks.
There's only one place
This can go. I forgive lots
For Ms. Stanwyck, though.
Great story idea with plenty of tension to build around but is ultimately derailed every time a character goes into a long flashback which is pretty consistent through the 88 min run time. Includes some great noir imagery for those who love those creeping shadows in the city.
This suspense noir was a great set piece for Stanwyck, who received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a bedridden, shrewish hypochondriac whose telephone is her lifeline. While calling around to locate her henpecked husband (Lancaster), she accidentally overhears a party line murder plot, and then has trouble getting anyone to believe her. Adapted from a superior 22-minute radio play; flashbacks added for the screen version drag down the brisk, real time pacing.
This was a surprisingly awesome phone-noir! I was expecting a B-rate thriller, but was instantly impressed by the intricacy of the camera work and editing tricks that really elevated this movie to something spectacular. Some of the best tension-building I've ever seen in a movie.
Great premise about an invalid who hears about a murder plot over crossed telephone wires and then spends the next ninety paranoid minutes alone in a cavernous house. However, the story's execution is somewhat flawed. The film consists of a series of phone calls that act as voiceover-flashbacks to fill in the blanks, which make the whole thing schematic and frequently inert. It's adapted from a smash radio play which makes total sense. This would have gone off like gangbusters on the old RCA.
But Barbara Stanwyck's in it and she gives it her all. It's nice to see that her character isn't just a sympathy surrogate, she's actually a pretty rotten person. Also, the ending is great. It's terrifying, brutal, and is the only time this really feels like a movie.
Doesn't quite attain the film noir heights of Stanwyck's role in Double Indemnity but her performance is still staggering considering the complete role reversal from Wilder's masterpiece. Lancaster is rather dull as the opposing male lead and Litvak's choice to flesh out the story through flashbacks gets heavy-handed despite the mounding tension it does inevitably create. Ultimately, there's much to enjoy here with some laugh-out-loud moments and a general distrust of telephone technology; something that in 2015 is humorous to watch in hindsight.
Dial it down, please.
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…
I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…