Sorry Wrong Number

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Template:Infobox Movie (2) Sorry, Wrong Number is a 1948 film which tells the story of a woman who overhears a plot for murder. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, Ed Begley, Leif Erickson and William Conrad.

Stanwyck plays Leona Stevenson, a bedridden millionaire's daughter. She's a shut-in whose telephone is her sole connection with the outside world. Unlike her noir performance in Double Indemnity and other films, Stanwyck's Leona is the victim. While listening to what appears to be a crossed phone connection, she hears two men planning a murder of a woman. Leona calls the phone company and police, only to be ignored. Adding to Leona's dilemma is the fact that her husband Henry (Lancaster) is missing.

After a number of phone calls, the invalid Leona, terrorized by a number of phone calls, begins to piece together the mystery. Her uneducated husband, working for her rich father, turns out to be not all he seems. This is a perfect example of a classic noir plot in which a member of the resentful working class schemes to sabotage the plans of the rich.

Both Lancaster and Stanwyck, playing the bitter poor man and the spoiled rich woman, are each unlikable and manipulative. The audience's sympathy, however, goes to Leona because of Stanwyck's performance. Though an arrogant rich girl, she experiences mounting fear throughout the night, and ultimately becomes a pitiable figure.

1940s paperback novelization edition

The movie is shot in real time, with many flashbacks to flesh out the story.

Stanwyck's bedroom window overlooks the night skyline of Manhattan. The film is shot very dark with looming shadows and circling camera shots to maintain a high level of suspense.

The film was adapted by Lucille Fletcher from her radio play (which originally aired with Agnes Moorehead in the lead role—in fact the only role, as the work was originally a one-character play). It was directed by Anatole Litvak.


It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Barbara Stanwyck's performance.

Other adaptions

Sorry, Wrong Number was made into a television play in 1946 starring Mildred Natwick and G. Swayne Gordon. It was remade into another television version in 1989, starring Loni Anderson, Patrick Macnee and Hal Holbrook. It was directed by Tony Wharmby and adapted by Ann Louise Bardach.

External links