Thursday, September 23, 2010
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948). Director: Anatole Litvak.
"Henry! There's someone at the top of the stairs!"
Barbara Stanwyck gives an outstanding, Oscar-nominated performance as the highly neurotic Leona Stevenson, who overhears a murder plot on a crossed telephone wire and tries to save the victim's life -- only to discover the life she's trying to save is her own. Long before the end of the movie you may want to strangle the self-absorbed Leona with her air of entitlement yourself, but Stanwyck also manages to work up some sympathy for the character. Burt Lancaster is also on the money as Leona's husband, Henry. A lot of suspense is worked up in trying to figure out what kind of dark business Henry has got himself cooked up in. While some may feel there's way too many flashbacks and telephone conversations in the picture, Sorry, Wrong Number is quite absorbing and has a terrific, scary finale. Screenwriter Lucille Fletcher opened up her radio play in convoluted but entertaining fashion. Top-notch photography by Sol Polito; fine score by Franz Waxman; well-directed by Litvak. Ed Begley (as Leona's father), Harold Vermilyea, Ann Richards and others offer solid supporting portrayals.
Verdict: Stanwyck in top form! ***1/2.