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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

I probably wouldn't have watched this if it hadn't had Barbara Stanwyck in, simply for the fact that suspense-filled film noirs aren't really my thing at the moment. However, I can honestly say I am very glad that I did!

Barbara was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Leona Stevenson, a paranoid, bedridden millionaire's daughter who, as the above poster says, "dialed...D-E-A-T-H!". I am shocked that she didn't win the award for her performance. The whole film was pivotal on Barbara's performance - if she didn't deliver, it would have been a total flop. But, being Barbara, she did.

A basic outline of the plot is that Leona Stevenson is trying to find her husband Henry (Burt Lancaster), who is [as men always seem to be in these genre of films...] late home from the office. She's been left alone for a long time and is becoming anxious, paranoid and scared. However, whilst waiting to be connected to her husband's office, the wires become crossed and Leona overhears two men plotting the murder of a woman that is set to take place later that night. Leona becomes extremely anxious and panicked, and makes a series of calls - first to the operator, then the police, and then to others. She eventually begins to piece together the puzzle, unearthing shocking information about her husband and eventually discovering whom the intended victim is.

The only fault I have with the film is the dizzying amount of flashbacks that were used. I didn't find them particularly confusing, but I felt that if they had to use so many flashbacks, they could have chosen more relative ones. Other than that, I think it's magnificent.

I am absolutely rubbish at dealing with films like this, they fill me with terror - even though there's no blood or guts! I'm fine with gore, but anything that's more psychological completely petrifies me. I was almost frozen with fear the last 10 minutes of the film. (Oh, that's another thing, if there was an award for "The Best Ten Minutes of Film", Barbara should have won it!)

I haven't really spoken much about the other actors/actresses because really, Barbara is the only one I was taking much notice of. Burt did a solid, competent job as usual, and Ann Richards (whom I don't remember ever seeing before) also gave a good performance. However, Barbara outdid them all. She was excellent, and I imagine it wasn't the easiest role to play. She had no one to hide behind, it was her, and her alone, all the time. I salute her! (:

Well, that's my review of Sorry, Wrong Number. I highly recommend it, and I give it 4.5 stars, but I'll be generous and round it up to 5! (:

A presto!

(Flashback No.1 - Prowling, wealthy and alluring Leona sets her sights on Henry...)


  1. I've never seen this movie but I really want to. I found it really amusing that you get scared even without blood and gore because I'm the same way! There's even a comedy show from the 60s that has a spoof on the Twilight Zone and I can never watch that episode when I'm alone at night. It terrifies me! So a bunch of friends and I get together once a week to watch movies and I think next week this should be our pick! Thanks for the review.
    PS. My Mom directed the play "Sorry, Wrong Number" when she was in high school, which I think is just cool. But it probably wasn't as good as this.

  2. One last thought. I never told you but I love the pictures of your grandparents. And I was wondering if you would mind very much if I copied you and posted pictures of my own grandparents?

  3. Haha, we seem to have a lot in common! (: I really hope you enjoy it - tell me what you think of it!

    Oh, that's really cool! Apparently the play was originally aired on the radio as a one woman show, starring Agnes Moorehead. I bet she was wonderful as Mrs. Stevenson!

    Thank you! (: Of course - Grandparents are amazing! They deserve a space on our blogs! (:

  4. Oh yes it was a good film but as you say precisely because there was the Stanwyck.
    Grandparents have faces really kind miaooooooooo a kiss


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