Combustible Celluloid
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With: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, Harold Vermilyea, Ed Begley, Leif Erickson, William Conrad, John Bromfield, Jimmy Hunt, Dorothy Neumann, Paul Fierro
Written by: Lucille Fletcher, based on her radio play
Directed by: Anatole Litvak
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 89
Date: 09/01/1948

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Hanging Up

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Barbara Stanwyck may have been the sound era's greatest screen actress, and she usually managed to play leading roles while the man played second banana to her. She also chose an astonishingly wide range of roles and stuck close to the top of her game for three decades (and conquered the small screen for two more). Unfortunately, this 1948 thriller based on a popular radio play is one of her worst -- and inexplicably -- one of her most popular films. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as a scheming hypochondriac who becomes convinced that she'll be the target of murder. Not that you can blame her husband, the trapped-like-a-rat Burt Lancaster. Stanwyck was too strong to play this simpering role, and Anatole Litvak's limp, paceless direction only emphasizes the movie's hysterics, rather than its suspense.

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