Don't hang up!
Alfred Hitchcock himself praised this movie that was for him one of
Barbara Stanwyck's most extraordinary parts.Besides,he did include
Lucille Fletcher's short novel in his anthology "stories not for the
The story of this woman in her bed,who has heard on the phone someone
is in danger,and who little by little discovers the horrible truth,is a
first-class screen play which requires the viewer's attention,,or else
he may lose the vital lead.The first people who enjoyed it had no
pictures,since it was originally a radio broadcast,so they had to show
a lot of imagination.The movie remains talky but the numerous
flashbacks give it substance.The phone,is along with Stanwyck ,the star
of Litvak's work;Burt Lancaster,a great actor though,only serves as a
foil to both of them.50% of the dialogue consists of phone calls,that's
what makes this thriller unique.
A strong connection with Hitchcock's work is the father's part(Ed
Bigley).He is some equivalent of the Mother in many movies of his.The
stuffed animals in his desirable mansion are a symbol of his daughter's
lifelessness.(Coincidence?There will be such hunting trophies (and
more) in his "psycho" twelve years later,and the topic is present in
"the man who knew too much"(2nd version))
If you are fond of suspense,this is an unqualified must!.
***Spoilers*** Ever since seeing this film in the fall of 2008, I've
been obsessed with Barbara Stanwyck Lol :-P. Normally the old black and
white classics don't hold my attention (I will say, most of these
surpass the quality of films released today). But for a movie where the
main character spends about 75% of her time in her bedroom, this was
damned good :-D. Stanwyck's character is severely ill and is
bed-ridden. Burt Lancaster was quite good in this also.
I will say though that I was upset to see her actually get killed. But
hey, that was a twist of an ending (especially back in the day). And I
really enjoyed the portrayal of Stanwyck & Lancaster's courtship and
marriage through the years. At first, Lancaster's character is taken
with her. Then he kind of gets trapped under her and her father's
thumb. Naturally, this creates some kind of disdain. So he puts a hit
on her. For her insurance money, no less. He was overlaid with greed
and anger. Towards the end in his confession, all of his love for her
comes back. They're just a little too late.
It's really an amazing movie. It drags a little and it has a few flaws.
But for this little film with a bed-ridden main character, it certainly
did its job. Wonderful acting, pretty good script, and old-fashioned
suspense make this a classic gem..