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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)



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Agnes Moorehead played the role on radio, on stage, and on an LP, but when it came time to make Sorry, Wrong Number into a film, the studio heads wanted a bigger name. They got Barbara Stanwyck, and while we'll never know how well Moorehead might have done, Stanwyck was a good choice. This "tough gal" role seems to have been made for her, even though it wasn't, and it earned her an Academy Award nomination.

The film is well-crafted, artfully shot, and paced to near perfection. It starts when Stanwyck, a bedridden invalid trying to locate her missing husband, overhears a murder plot on the phone. From there, she calls up whomever she can and pieces the mystery together. There are many plot twists, and each is more terrifying than the one before, until the movie culminates in an unforgettable finale.

One of this film's great assets is that it leaves the viewer with questions to think about. The characters are so well drawn -- and not as stock as they may first appear -- that one may consider their actions and entertain theories about their motivation long after the movie is over. Thrillers for thinking people are not so common, but this is one of them.

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