Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948)

Adapted for the screen by Lucille Fletcher from her own radio play, SORRY, WRONG NUMBER is the mildly interesting story of an obnoxiously pampered woman (Stanwyck) who is bedridden and home alone in her gigantic NYC mansion.  When the film opens, Stanwyck is desperately tying to get her husband (Lancaster) on the phone.  While talking to the operator she gets a crossed connection and overhears two seedy sounding guys planning a murder for that very night at 11:15, when a passing train would hide any screams.  Startled by this conversation she calls the police but does a terrible job of convincing them of anything.  After that we're shown numerous flashbacks, even flashbacks within a flashbacks of how she met her husband.

Stanwyck is the spoiled putrid daughter of a wealthy businessman.  Burt was a dirt poor drug store employee.  But she didn't care.  She wanted him and she always got what she wanted.  Almost forced into marriage, Burt is now extremely bitter and full of secrets.  Could some of these secrets be connected to the mysterious conversation Barbara heard earlier?  Mayhaps!

I wasn't expecting SORRY, WRONG NUMBER to be a film noir, but I'm pretty sure it is.  Lots of deep shadows, low lighting, sinister-feeling camera angles, corrupt characters, doomed situations, etc.  The story is very dated now, but it's still entertaining.  Also I felt very little sympathy for Barbara's character (she created this entire situation with her selfish cruelty).  Maybe that was the writer's intention?  As it is though, SWN is a good film.  And I'm always happy to see Stanwyck and Lancaster, although I do wish they had more scenes together.

Recommended for classic movie fans.
Joyce Compton in a uncredited appearance.