Sorry, Wrong Number [1948]

Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster star in Sorry, Wrong Number, an odd telephonic thriller that starts off with a bang. Stanwyck, playing a shrill invalid, is at home alone and phoning around to find her husband. Thanks to a crossed wire, she overhears a murder plot, but she can barely get anyone to pay attention to her, let alone believe her. The rest of the film is played out in telephone conversations and flashbacks as our increasingly frightened heroine tries to find her husband and unravel the murder. Stanwyck, as always, gives a terrific performance, managing to make her character both unlikeable and compelling at the same time. Lancaster, as her kept husband, is handsome, virile, and trapped all at once. The plot, expanded to a film from a tight, dark little radio play, wanders at times but gathers itself back together for a corker of an ending. --Ali Davis

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