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"Phone Call from a Stranger" 1952 Video Movie Review - Fasten Your Seat belts!


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This movie will definitely get your heart beating fast! Bette Davis has a small role in "Phone Call from a Stranger," but her performance was, of course, one to remember. It is certainly a movie that will have you thinking about "forgiveness." Nunnally Johnson was truly a great writer!


 


Enjoy the review and be sure to leave a like or comment on the video! I reply to everyone!


 


Little correction...in the review I say it came out in 1953, but it was actually 1952 :3


 



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You're getting better with the spoilers...LOL

 

Some things to add here--

 

Davis & Merrill had done another film in between EVE and PHONE CALL...it was a British noir called ANOTHER MAN'S POISON, which TCM airs from time to time, and it's not bad. One thing I read is that Davis' career was floundering again after EVE, and she realized her leading lady days (in the conventional sense) were now behind her. When Merrill brought the script home for PHONE CALL, she read it and decided she could have fun (and draw good notices) playing the character role of Marie. Personally, I think it's her best performance, better than Jezebel and Margo Channing and Baby Jane.

 

Other items: this film seems to be one of those productions that pushes the boundaries of the production code. The crash of the aircraft is quite violent. In previous films like FIVE CAME BACK or DIVE BOMBER, the crashes may be fatal but they are not as explicit and most of the deadly impact takes place off screen...but in PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER, we're shown a very harrowing collision. I do like the fact that it does not occur immediately. We get to see Merrill bonding with the casualties for some length of screen time before they're killed off. 

 

The one thing that I don't like about this film is that every person has a somewhat overdramatic set of problems they are dealing with...it would have been a refreshing change of pace if one of them was struggling with a more mundane existence, like not living up to his or her potential, which would not be too flashy or extreme, but still realistic. Not every person we are seated next to on a plane has a ton of drama in his or her life. 

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[spoilers in this comment and TopBilled's comment]

You must really not be a big Bette Davis fan if you rate this as her best performance!  LOL I think it is difficult to say her best performance because they are all so fantastic. Yea...the crash scenes and the build ups to the crashes were ones to always remember. 

 

I liked the fact that Wynn's character was the annoying one but at the same time, he was the most forgiving...it was lovely how he forgave Bette and how she told Merrill that only the "strongest" of men can forgive their wife for something like an affair. 

 

 

p.s. Do you like how I put "Spoilers" above? lol I really don't want people who haven't seen these movies to have their experience ruined by my posts. 

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[spoilers in this comment and TopBilled's comment]

You must really not be a big Bette Davis fan if you rate this as her best performance!  LOL I think it is difficult to say her best performance because they are all so fantastic. Yea...the crash scenes and the build ups to the crashes were ones to always remember. 

 

I liked the fact that Wynn's character was the annoying one but at the same time, he was the most forgiving...it was lovely how he forgave Bette and how she told Merrill that only the "strongest" of men can forgive their wife for something like an affair. 

 

 

p.s. Do you like how I put "Spoilers" above? lol I really don't want people who haven't seen these movies to have their experience ruined by my posts. 

I think anyone who's read this far has probably seen the film, or watched your video commentary. At least I hope so!

 

It's interesting that you see forgiveness as the main theme in the film. I agree it's there, but it wasn't the main point for me. To me, the theme was more about a guy who plays the good Samaritan, trying to bring closure to the lives of the people who died, and their loved ones. 

 

Yes, I have 'issues' with some of Bette's film work (that's why she is not in my top 20 list of actresses). I feel that she pours too much of her ego into her performances, and what we get is Bette Davis as the character. But in PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER, I think her ego is absent. This time we get the character that the scriptwriter intended us to see. I feel it's one of her most humble performances.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think anyone who's read this far has probably seen the film, or watched your video commentary. At least I hope so!

 

It's interesting that you see forgiveness as the main theme in the film. I agree it's there, but it wasn't the main point for me. To me, the theme was more about a guy who plays the good Samaritan, trying to bring closure to the lives of the people who died, and their loved ones. 

 

Yes, I have 'issues' with some of Bette's film work (that's why she is not in my top 20 list of actresses). I feel that she pours too much of her ego into her performances, and what we get is Bette Davis as the character. But in PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER, I think her ego is absent. This time we get the character that the scriptwriter intended us to see. I feel it's one of her most humble performances.

A great and sensitive film.  Bette's performance was consistently wonderful - with an added touch of humility.  Like you were saying there was no ego portrayed here and that enhanced the film.  I liked Gary Merrill's performance very much as the kindly stranger who wants to help others while enduring personal troubles of his own.

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A great and sensitive film.  Bette's performance was consistently wonderful - with an added touch of humility.  Like you were saying there was no ego portrayed here and that enhanced the film.  I liked Gary Merrill's performance very much as the kindly stranger who wants to help others while enduring personal troubles of his own.

I think that's a perfect way to describe Gary's character in the film. TCM should air PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER. I bet there are many people who've never even heard of this fine motion picture.

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I think that's a perfect way to describe Gary's character in the film. TCM should air PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER. I bet there are many people who've never even heard of this fine motion picture.

It's a great suspense movie and there is an excellent quality version of it on YouTube for anyone that is struggling to find it!

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